East Fife 2-3 Raith Rovers

East Fife's players were clearly gutted as they left the park following this derby day defeat to Raith Rovers.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, 7:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, 8:11 pm
Scott Linton (18) watches on as his free-kick beats Graeme Smith. Pic by Walter Neilson.

The players had put so much into the 90 minutes, twice coming from behind to pull level, only to take nothing from the game.

Again, though, the side will feel a couple of Raith's goals were preventable which only adds to the frustration.

As boss Darren Young pointed out, his team has now impressed in consecutive games against Arbroath and Raith Rovers but have only a solitary point to show for their efforts.

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Raith hammered the Fifers the last time the two sides met at Bayview, the 5-0 scoreline not flattering Barry Smith's side in the slightest.

After a bright opening spell some within the ground may have been fearing a similar scoreline when Raith raced into the lead on eight minutes.

Scott Robertson managed to find space for himself just outside the Fife box and raced clear on Ryan Goodfellow's goal.

Goodfellow got off his line quickly to block the shot but could only watch on in agony as the spin caused the ball to loop up over him and into the net.

But there would be no collapse like the September game and East Fife dusted themselves down and went off in search of the equaliser.

It wasn't long in arriving, Scott Linton's delivery finding Kyle Wilkie unmarked six yards out.

The Fife winger got enough power on his header to beat Graeme Smith.

The goal was no more than East Fife deserved but frustratingly they couldn't build on it and found themselves behind once again barely five minutes later.

There's no doubting it was a poor goal to lose, Lewis Vaughan's corner kick bundled home by Liam Buchanan.

Buchanan's goal gave the visitors a narrow lead to take in with them at the break, but given how the hosts had played in the opening 45, you could sense there was still something in the game for them.

Again the side showed great battling qualities, and hauled themselves level.

Chris Duggan was bundled over on the edge of the Raith box giving ref Gavin Ross a simple decision to make in awarding a free-kick.

Scott Linton and Mark Docherty stood perched over the ball, but it was former Clyde man Linton who stepped up and sent an unstoppable effort high beyond Smith.

The goal gave the home side a shot in the arm and they went on to enjoy their best spell of the game with Mark Lamont and Kyle Wilkie breaking forward at every opportunity, complimented by the more defensive minded Kieran Millar behind them.

The game looked to be heading for a draw until Raith managed to snatch a third with 10 minutes to go when Dario Zanatta was in the right place at the right time to net from six yards.

It was hard on Young's side but still they refused to give up.

The gaffer brought on Nathan Flanagan from the bench and within moments he went close the equalising, only to see Smith get the tips of his fingers to his shot and nudge the ball onto the post.

Young said: “Everyone is absolutely gutted.

“We played well at Arbroath and played well against Raith Rovers but only have the one point to show for it.

“It’s disappointing.”

East Fife - Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty (Mutch 84), Kane, Page, Lamont (Flanagan 88), Duggan, Wilkie, G Hurst (Smith 46), Millar, Linton.

Subs - M Hurst, Reilly, Slattery.

Booked - Linton, Kane.

Raith Rovers - Smith, Thomson, Murray, Spence, Robertson, Buchanan (Court 72), Vaughan, Matthews, Davidson, McKay, Zanatta.

Booked - Vaughan, Zanatta.

Subs - Lennox, Opoku-Bershie, Hendry, Watson, Berry, Bell.

Att: 1795.