REPORT: Locke looks to add to squad following Brechin victory

Darren Dods and Lee Bailey.
Darren Dods and Lee Bailey.

Goals from Chris Johnston and Lewis Vaughan gave Raith Rovers their first victory of pre-season.

The Rovers defeated Brechin City 2-0 in a lively friendly at Glebe Park on Saturday in what manager Gary Locke described as an “important workout” for the depleted squad.

Locke said: “It was another good workout, as I said the other night after the Forfar game. It’s just important that they get fitness and minutes on the pitch.

“Obviously it’s nice to get the couple of goals as well but the most important thing was that the players got through the game unscathed with another good fitness exercise.”

Rovers were in when Lewis Vaughan collected a slack pass by trailist Elliot Ford, the forward flying past Dougie Hill before sending a rushed lob well wide of Jordan Bell’s goal.

Rovers’ midfield were dominant at times and Brechin were almost punished for a brief lapse in concentration when old favourite Bobby Barr picked the ball up 30 yards out, but he fired well over the crossbar.

City could have went ahead on 25 minutes when Paul McLean headed Ally Love’s free kick across goal, but Alan Trouten was unable to make contact on what would have been a simple tap-in.

The visitors were soon ahead when Johnston held off his defender to fire home on the turn from inside the box - a cracking finish.

Trouten found himself in another good position minutes later when the ball fell to him inside the box, but he turned inside and outside one too many times and was crowded out before he got a shot away.

Andy Jackson came on at half-time and was an instant nuisance for the Raith defence, using his power to force a number of openings, but no clear chances.

The hosts ramped up the pressure and Jackson fired just wide with a searing effort, seconds after Trouten had the sub goalie Aaron Lennox at full stretch with a lobbed strike.

Vaughan could have made it 2-0 after the hour mark but his low shot was well save by Bell.

Kyle Benedictus made a stunning block to stop Jackson’s cross finding Ross Caldwell before Vaughan saw his volley go an inch over the bar.

Vaughan was due a goal though and got one in fortunate circumstances, putting Ross Matthew’s cross in with the back of his head with City sub goalie Ben Toogh all at sea.

McLean went down late on with a nasty knee injury though he was able to finish the game.

The gaffer will hope to add a few new faces to his injury-plagued squad very soon, saying that Tuesday night’s clash with Partick Thistle may be too soon for any acquisitions to feature.

Locke added: “We’re well aware the squad isn’t strong enough and we’re looking to strengthen.

“We’ll be working hard over the weekend, we’ve got another game on Tuesday against Partick which might be a bit soon for one or two we’re trying to get.

“Hopefully by the time we play Arbroath we’ll have a couple of additions to the squad.”