Clean sheet and a point well earned

Greig Spence in action at Dens Park on Tuesday. Pic: Eddie Doig
Greig Spence in action at Dens Park on Tuesday. Pic: Eddie Doig
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Dundee 0 Raith Rovers 0

After Saturday’s victory, Raith showed further signs that they are slowly turning a corner with this well earned point away to table toppers Dundee on Tuesday night.

It was a game of two halves as Raith dominated the opening 45 minutes - and were unfortunate not to take the lead - while the hosts piled on the pressure after the break.

However, both halves were pleasing from a Rovers stand point, for different reasons, as the good football and control of the first half was matched by the standard of defending throughout a tough second 45.

The clean sheet was also Rovers first since their last 0-0 draw away to Morton on January 11, and the first for goalkeeper Lee Robinson in his seventh match between the sticks.

However, the result came at a cost as Paul Watson and Kevin Moon both limped off with injuries, with particular concern for Watson who was playing in only his second match since returning from a broken foot.

Grant Murray made one change to the side that started against Morton, and it was no surprise to see Saturday’s super sub Greig Spence up front. The confidence gained from getting their first win in 10 was evident as Rovers settled quickly into the game, and for the majority of the first half, they had Dundee on the back foot.

The first effort on goal arrived in the 26th minute as Spence cut inside from the left to let fly from 20 yards, forcing Kyle Letheren into a diving save as John Baird almost got a nick on the ball.

Three minutes later Letheren made the save of the match, managing to somehow block Grant Anderson’s kneed effort from six yards out after Joe Cardle had whipped a left foot cross to the back post.

Rovers kept pressing and when Cardle’s corner fell to the feet of Baird 10 yards out, his goal bound volley was blocked near the line by a defender. Baird forced Letheren into another diving save before half-time with a shot on the turn, but in the last minute of the half, Watson was helped off the pitch after a landing awkwardly on his previously broken foot.

Reece Donaldson replaced him for the start of the second half, while right back Fraser Mullen was thrown on in central midfield five minutes after the re-start as Moon hobbled off.

It took Rovers a while to adjust to the enforced changes and Robinson had to get down quickly to save Martin Boyle’s 18-yard drive.

Rovers were 7-0 ahead on corners at half-time but midway through the second half the count was 7-7. That was an indiciation of how the game had changed.

Raith were now the ones under constant pressure but the defence coped well, and Robinson was assured when called upon.

The hosts best chance to win arrived in the 79th minute when Willie Dyer floated a cross to the back post where Ryan Conroy should have scored but he sent his header well wide.

Rovers managed to relieve the pressure in the 90th minute when they broke forward and won a corner, which they chose to play short to run down the clock. Understandable in the circumstances, but still a little disappointing considering it was a chance to go for the win.

Nonetheless, this was an excellent point against a team who are most people’s favourites to win the league. Confidence, it seems, is returning ...

Dundee: Letheren, Irvine, Dyer, Rae, Benedictus, Gallagher, Boyle (Riley 70), Davidson, Doris (Conroy 61), MacDonald, McAlister. Subs not used: Lockwood, Reid, Twardzik, Cummins, Wighton.

Raith: Robinson, Thomson, Booth, Moon (Mullen 50), Watson (Donaldson 45), Hill, Anderson, Fox, Baird, Spence (Smith 86), Cardle. Not used: Ellis, Vaughan, Matthews, Laidlaw.

Referee: Stephen Finnie

Attendace: 4561