Raith Rovers 1 Cowdenbeath 2
Raith Rovers kept up their poor recent run against Cowdenbeath with another substandard derby display in their final home match of the season.
The performance was in keeping with Rovers woeful league form since Christmas, and continued manager Grant Murray’s wretched record in this fixture, which now stands at just one win from eight attempts.
The defeat means the Kirkcaldy side are still not mathematically safe from the relegation play-offs going into the final game next week, but with an 11 goal advantage over their Fife rivals, they are unlikely to be caught.
However, Cowdenbeath have given themselves a fighting chance of staying in the division, knowing that a win at home to Queen of the South next week, combined with Alloa dropping points away to Falkirk, will keep them in the Championship next season.
Rovers fell behind in the 17th minute when full back Rory McKeown broke through a large gap in the defence to chip a delicate finish beyond Lee Robinson.
Raith dictated possession but they struggled to break down a resolute Cowdenbeath defence, and Lewis Milne doubled the visitors advantage with nine minutes left, chipping the ball over Reece Donaldson before volleying past Robinson.
Substitute Greig Spence pulled one back for the hosts two minutes from time, running through to tuck a Calum Elliot knock-down through the legs of Thomas Flynn from close range.
However, it was too little, too late for Raith, and a disappointing way to sign off at Stark’s Park after a season of highs and lows.
It was also an uncomfortable afternoon for manager Murray, with a section of home supporters appearing to turn against the Ramsdens Cup winning boss as he made a hasty retreat up the tunnel at full-time.
“It’s frustrating losing any game of football, but to lose a derby is very frustrating,” Murray said. “Although we went behind I thought we had a lot of the ball in the first half.
“We were getting at Cowdenbeath and creating chances, albeit we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough, but we were still well in the game.
“When you lose the second goal it’s always going to be difficult.
“It was the last home game and we wanted to send the fans away with a win, but it wasn’t to be. We need to pick ourselves up and go for three points against Livingston next week.”
The win leaves Cowdenbeath boss Jimmy Nicholl dreaming of completing a great escape that looked unlikely a few weeks ago.
“It’s a massive three points for us and it keeps the whole situation alive going into next week,” he said.
“I was concerned after our heavy defeated to Falkirk and Dundee but we’ve picked things up and gave ourselves a fighting chance.”
Raith Rovers: Robinson, Mullen, Booth, Fox, Watson, Donaldson, Callachan, Cardle, (Spence 76), Elliot, Baird, Smith (Anderson 67). Subs not used: Ellis, Laidlaw, Vaughan, Matthews, Bates.
Cowdenbeath: Flynn, Brett (Gold 92), McKeown, Wedderburn, Armstrong, O’Brien (Miller 85), Milne, Brownlie, Hemmings, Stewart, Kane (Robertson 25). Subs not used: Adamson,
Referee: Brian Colvin