Raith go eight games unbeaten with home win over Ayr

Raith Rovers closed the gap on second placed Inverness with a 2-1 win over Ayr United at Stark’s Park.

Saturday, 30th October 2021, 7:34 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 11:30 am
Dario Zanatta celebrates scoring Raith's second goal (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

It was a game of two halves with Rovers dominating in the first 45 and the visitors doing the same in the second.

John McGlynn fielded an unchanged line-up from Tuesday night’s derby draw with Dunfermline, with striker Ethon Varain returning from injury to take a place on the bench.

Rovers started the game well and got an early goal after having the bulk of possession the opening 10 minutes.

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Dylan Tait played an excellent cross field pass wide to Aidan Connolly whose cross into the box was met by Ethan Ross who cleverly flicked a header past Aidan McAdams for his first goal since his return to Kirkcaldy.

Nine minutes later a thunderous shot from Zanatta was deflected just over the Ayr crossbar, with the visitors’ claims for handball in the Raith box waved aside by referee Greg Aitken 60 seconds later.

On 26 minutes Raith doubled their lead when Zanatta chipped in with THAT trademark goal of his - cutting in from the left and brilliantly curling the ball into the net.

There was a warning for the home side a minute later though that Ayr weren’t ready to surrender just yet, when James Maxwell found room in the box and flicked the ball into the side netting at Jamie MacDonald’s near post.

However it was Raith who would next threaten and almost added a third just before half time when a dipping shot from right back Reghan Tumilty crashed off the Ayr bar.

For all Rovers’ dominance in the first 45 it was Ayr who took the initiative at the start of the second half, a double substitution making all the difference with Mark McKenzie and Jonathan Afolabi coming on.

The visitors began to threaten, seeing plenty of the ball and creating a couple of half chances into the bargain.

The home side had keeper MacDonald to thank when he pulled off a superb save from a Joe Chalmers shot on 65 minutes, but it was only a temporary respite as the Honest Men got the goal back their second half play deserved.

James Maxwell broke free on the Raith right and his low ball was turned in by Jack Baird to bring Ayr firmly back into the match..

MacDonald was Raith’s saviour once more on 82 minutes, diving full length to turn aside a header from McKenzie as the visitors pressed for an equaliser with the home side hanging on by their fingernails.

In injury time Ayr Afolabi almost made it all square with a low shot which went narrowly wide but Rovers held on for the win.