Dominant Raith score four against Brechin
Raith Rovers 4, Brechin City 0
Raith Rovers could conceivably have been well past double figures as they faced Brechin last night in the Premier Sports League Cup Group D fixture at Stark’s Park.
Only robust defending from the Highland League side and a bit of wayward finishing stopped Rovers from being well out of sight by half time, as they flooded forward relentlessly.
The near-impenetrable wall of red was finally pierced shortly before half time when Lewis Vaughan capitalised on a goalkeeping error.
Andy Kirk’s side showed some good moves in the second half, having soaked up such a barrage in the first, and were beginning to apply some pressure on their hosts – before Raith struck with two goals in four minutes to make the game pretty much safe.
Brechin’s young ‘keeper Jack Wills saw plenty of the ball in the opening half and blocked well from a Dylan Tait volley.
Jamie Bain was back to clear a cross-cum-shot from Reghan Tumilty off the line, while Wills may have been feeling the pressure as he handled a pass back from Luc Bollan carelessly but rescued the ball as it drifted towards his empty goal.
City were mostly only able to get the ball near Raith's box from set pieces but they defended very resolutely as the Kirkcaldy side poured forwards, with Zanatta, Spencer, Poplatnik, Connolly, Vaughan and Benedictus running the show.
Brechin eventually managed a shot at goal on the half hour when Jack Milne squared a pass to Kieran Inglis, whose right-foot effort was just a few feet wide.
Wills dealt impressively with a dangerous curling shot from Vaughn and also easily handled one of his free kicks - but the Raith striker got the better of him on 42 minutes.
Zanatta swung a high ball into the box which Wills leapt towards and tried to grab, but the ball slipped from his grasp into Vaughan's path and the Raith man volleyed home impressively.
Brechin replaced Gregor Jordan with Marc Scott at half time and the sub forced Jamie MacDonald to make his first save of the game with a tricky left foot shot.
City then made Rovers do some defending, with a free kick and a corner – but the hosts struck with a second goal on 61 minutes. A good midfield move involving Benedictus and Poplatnik saw Connolly cross from the right and Brad Spencer rose among a group of players to loop a header over the 'keeper.
Raith pretty much made certain of victory four minutes later when Vaughan skilfully transferred the ball to Zanatta, who cut in neatly from the left to make space for his shot, which took a cynical deflection off a Brechin body on its way in.
Raith had rediscovered their flowing style of the first half but James Keatings was denied a goal by a superb one-handed push away by Wills, after Vaughan and Connolly had neatly set up the Raith sub.
Rovers hit a fourth goal on 83 minutes as Zanatta threaded the ball through to Arnott on the right. His cross was bulleted home with relative ease by Spencer for his second goal of the night.
Four minutes from time, Keatings struck the bar with a rasping, long-range shot.
Raith Rovers: MacDonald, Tumilty, Dick, Berra, Benedictus, Connolly (Mitchell 78), Vaughan (Arnott 72), Zanatta, Spencer, Tait, Poplatnik (Keatings 65). Subs (not used) Thomson (GK), McKay, Coulson, Young.
Brechin City: Wills, Bain, Bollan, Cox (Galasso 77), Milne, Docherty, Inglis, Jordan (Scott 45), McIntosh, Paton, Wood.
Referee: Scott Lambie.