Raith denied a point by the last kick

John's Baird double was not enough for Raith at Hamilton on Tuesday. Pic: Walter Neilson

John's Baird double was not enough for Raith at Hamilton on Tuesday. Pic: Walter Neilson

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Hamilton Accies 3 Raith Rovers 2

Raith Rovers are facing the prospect of being dragged into a relegation play-off battle after a devastating defeat at New Douglas Park on Tuesday.

John Baird’s double appeared to have earned Rovers a crucial point at the home of the title challengers, but with the last kick of the game, Hamilton substitute Jason Scotland sent a stunning strike past Lee Robinson to break Rovers hearts.

It was a cruel ending for the Kirkcaldy men, who had put a lot of effort into the game, but they paid the price for failing to keep their composure during injury-time as they desperately tried to hold onto a 2-2 draw.

There were some positives for Raith, but after just one win in 14 league outings, they are beyond that now. They simply need results, and this just goes down as another game where they failed to get one.

The opening exchanges were low on quality, and goalmouth action, until Accies fashioned the game’s first clear opening in the 26th minute.

Poor defending from Callum Booth, who sold himself in a challenge he never looked like winning, allowed Louis Longridge a free run into the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Robinson came to Rovers rescue in the 32nd minute as Mikael Antoine-Curier broke the offside trap, but as the striker delayed his shot, the Raith ‘keeper stayed big to make a good block.

Accies came close again four minutes later as Darrian Mackinnon got into the box too easily to cut the ball back to Anthony Andreu whose effort skiffed the side-netting.

Rovers looked organised but had rarely threatened until a slip from defender Mikey Devlin let John Baird through in the 41st minute but the striker was off target with a left-foot effort.

Baird had better luck with his next chance on the stroke of half-time as Robinson’s kick-out was flicked towards the box by Grant Anderson and the striker peeled away from his marker to drill a low effort past Kevin Cuthbert.

With a title at stake, it was no surprise to see Hamilton on the front foot at the start of the second half, but there was a hint of good fortunate about their equaliser in the 65th minute.

Andreu was quickly closed down by Watson as he shaped to shoot from the edge of the box, but his effort took a wicked deflection off the Raith defender to leave Robinson with no chance.

Poor defending then allowed Hamilton to take the lead three minutes later as Rovers lost possession in the left back area, and from the resultant cross, James Keatings was left unmarked to head the hosts 2-1 ahead.

Rovers hit back within 60 seconds as Elliot dinked the ball through to Baird, who rounded Cuthbert, and found the net from a tight angle.

However, Rovers failure to cross the halfway line for most of the remaining time would eventually cost them, as with 94 minutes on the clock, Scotland received the ball 20 yards out, turned, and hit a thumping drive in off the post.

As the home side celebrated, Rovers players sunk to their knees. There is no worse way to lose a game.

Hamilton: Cuthbert, Gordon, Gillespie, MacKinnon, Canning, Devlin, Andreu (Routledge 81), Crawford (Scotland 62), Antoine-Curier, Keatings (George 79), Longridge. Not used: Currie, Tena, Ryan, Kilday.

Raith Rovers: Robinson, Thomson, Booth, Hill, Watson, Fox, Anderson (Callachan 73), Mullen, Baird (Spence 86), Elliot (Smith 83), Cardle. Not used: Donaldson, Ellis, Vaughan, Laidlaw.

Referee: George Salmond

Attendance: 954