Raith Rovers 1-1 Falkirk

Steven MacLean fires home Raith's opening goal. Picture by FPA.Steven MacLean fires home Raith's opening goal. Picture by FPA.
Steven MacLean fires home Raith's opening goal. Picture by FPA. | freelance
No quarter was asked or given as the two league leaders went head to head at Stark's.

If both cancelled each other out in a scrappy first half, then they also matched each other in the second for attacking intent.

It was a game which saw the two sides defend well when they needed to and have a cutting edge in attack when the chance came.

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It all added to a point apiece which left Rovers still sitting top of League One.

A midweek crowd of over 3000 turned up for the game, an indication of just how important the encounter was.

Little separates the two in the league and they both headed into the game on the back of Saturday afternoon defeats.

Their trajectories are mirroring each other's and that showed in the opening stages when the gap between them was paper thin.

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Raith were patient on the ball at the back as they stroked it from defence through to midfield, waiting for Falkirk to advance on them.

They were confident and composed but lacking a creative spark when they got further up the park

Falkirk failed to pose a threat, Iain Davidson and Kyle Benedictus coping with the physical presence of Declan McManus.

After 30 minutes of the game played neither side had registered a shot either on or off target.

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The first attempt eventually arrived but Morgaro Gomis shot high over the crossbar.

It was a game there for the taking, and Raith went out and grabbed it by the scruff of the neck in the second half.

An excellent move up the park minutes after the re-start saw the hosts work the ball out to Steven MacLean deep inside the Falkirk box.

The striker showed terrific composure to get a decent strike away and find the roof of the net.

It was a goal which blew the game wide open.

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Play swung from end to end with both sides having decent chances.

Kieron Bowie had a sight of goal only to lash high and wide before Daniel Armstrong pulled a decent save out of Robbie Mutch.

Raith were managing to get themselves on top when they were struck by a blow, 'keeper Robbie Thomson pulling up injured and being replaced by Ross Munro.

Falkirk looked to put pressure on the sub goalie and were given the chance to do that when Raith conceded a free-kick on the edge of their box.

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Aidan Connolly swung it in under the bar and encouraged the visiting strikers to pile in and challenge.

Raith couldn't clear and Munro couldn't gather, allowing McManus the chance to finish from close range.

It was a suckerpunch but Raith dusted themselves down.

They went as close as you could get to pulling ahead again when MacLean hit the post and, from the rebound, Kyle Benedictus's effort came back off the bar.

The Bairns had late chances to win it themselves, the best falling to Lee Miller who fired wide from eight yards out.