Inconsistency illness strikes again for Raith

0
Have your say

MANAGER Grant Murray blamed the performance on a sickness bug.

However, perhaps it was just the same old inconsistency illness that has plagued Raith Rovers’ season that struck again at New Douglas Park on Saturday.

SSFF 1713011 hamilton raith 'David McGurn, unsighted by Simon Mensing sees Stephen May's shot too late - Hamilton Accies against Raith Rovers at New Douglas Park, Hamilton

SSFF 1713011 hamilton raith 'David McGurn, unsighted by Simon Mensing sees Stephen May's shot too late - Hamilton Accies against Raith Rovers at New Douglas Park, Hamilton

Just four days after a commendable draw at the home of the league champions, Rovers produced a lifeless display in Hamilton that effectively ended their hopes of finishing in the top half of the table.

In fairness, Murray was not looking for excuses. A virus did indeed floor a number of first team players in the build-up to the match.

But the result and performance was nonetheless another example of why Rovers find themselves where they are in the league table.

Staying focused from one game to the next has been the problem all season.

Against Partick there was a steely determination to prevent the hosts rubbing a title win in their faces, but on Saturday too many players seemed happy to let the game pass them by.

A meaningless end of season game, perhaps, but not for the fans who travelled through, and not for Hamilton who showed the fire and hunger of a team wanting to finish the season on a high.

Rovers didn’t muster a single shot on target against a strong wind in the first half, although a wildly off-target effort from Brian Graham did find the net on the seven-a-side pitch behind the goals, to the ironic cheers of the crowd.

Hamilton dominated first half possession, but were limited mainly to long range attempts, the best of which saw Ali Crawford’s swerving 30-yard effort strike the outside of the post.

Accies’ willingness to have a go from distance, combined with Rovers’ failure to close them down, led to the opening goal seven minutes into the second half.

Stevie May, one of the division’s top marksmen, found space 22 yards out and his right-foot shot left David McGurn with no chance.

McGurn got the better of the striker a few minutes later, getting a hand to May’s close range flick to deny him a second goal. Rovers had virtually no attacking threat until Grant Anderson replaced Joe Hamill with 25 minutes left.

They mustered a couple of late chances but Ross Callachan blasted over from 16 yards, then Brian Graham sliced a volley wide at the back post.

The home side sealed a deserved win in injury time as Laurie Ellis’ slip let May run into the box, and he laid the ball off for Andy Ryan to side-foot a low finish past McGurn.

MATTHEW ELDER

Twitter: @mattelder_ffp