Raith Rovers complete perfect preseason with derby win over Cowdenbeath

Lewis Allan struck his first goal for Raith in the preseason friendly against Cowdenbeath. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Lewis Allan struck his first goal for Raith in the preseason friendly against Cowdenbeath. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers 2 Cowdenbeath 1

Raith Rovers will take positive momentum into the Betfred Cup after completing preseason with a derby victory over Cowdenbeath at Stark's Park last night.

All the goals came in the first half as the Kirkcaldy side came from behind to claim a 2-1 win thanks to strikes from Lewis Allan and Grant Anderson cancelling out a David Cox opener for the visitors.

For a Rovers side looking to blend 10 new signings into the squad, and keen to bounce back from the disappointment of last season, the warm-up games have provided cause for optimism, with good football played in all four games, and most, if not all of the new signings showing up well.

To come through the four games with a 100 per cent record, and no further injuries on top of the three already out, then it has been as close to the perfect preseason as John McGlynn could have hoped for.

Now the proof will be in the pudding on Saturday as Rovers, who will be the underdogs, look to get off to a flier in the Betfred Cup at home to a Dundee side now under the new management of rookie James McPake having just been relegated from the Premiership last season.

It will be the first true test of this new-look Raith side, but all the indications are that McGlynn has his team well prepared for the competitive opener.

Rovers welcomed Brad Spencer back into the squad after the midfielder missed the win over Spartans on Saturday with a hip problem, while there was also a place on the bench for two further trialists, a striker and a left back, both said to be of French origin.

McGlynn confirmed afterwards that the pair were brought into the squad simply to allow players to be rested, making it clear that the budget is gone, there will be no further signings and that he is content with his squad of 21 players.

He also declared himself happy with the way preseason has gone.

"We've played four games in 12 days, won four, and that can only breed confidence and belief," he said.

"There were moments in the game tonight where I thought, we're nearly there.

"Just that one little ball here or there went astray, and stopped a great move.

"The second goal we scored was a great counter-attacking move, which is what we've been working on as well, so that was pleasing.

"There was a lot to be pleased about, now we evaluate everyone's performances over the four games and pick a team to go against Dundee."

Rovers were a bit slow out of the traps and were caught sleeping at a corner kick as Cowdenbeath took a fourth minute lead.

Teenager Kieron Bowie, so impressive in attack throughout preseason, showed he still has defensive attributes to learn as his attempted lay-off in his own penalty box allowed Robbie Buchanan to nip in and shoot, with Ross Munro making a good save, only for Cox to slam home the rebound.

That came after an impressive run and shot from Joao Victoria in the opening minute, with a curling 16-yard effort rebounding off the inside of the post, in the type of direct, positive play that Rovers will be hoping the Portuguese winger can produce this season.

The loss of the opener didn't put Rovers off their passing game and the equaliser arrived in the 16th minute as Lewis Allan expertly back-heeled Regan Hendry's shot past Kevin Dabrowski following a short corner routine.

Dabrowksi then made a couple of camera-friendly saves, diving full stretch to stop a powerful Bowie drive and an Anderson header, but Rovers didn't have it all their own way and Munro was required to gather a Jordan Allan strike at the second attempt.

Rovers took the lead on 41 minutes with Kieran MacDonald galloping down the left and his low cross was touched on at the near post by Allan, with Anderson timing his run perfectly to slam the ball home from close range.

The first 45 had been an enjoyable watch, but the second half was a more typical preseason affair with both sides making a number of substitutes, breaking the flow.

Munro was called upon to make a save at his near post from Cowdeneath's trialist no.8 after a careless giveaway from Mendy, while at the other end, young sub Jack Smith ran clear onto to lose his composure and blaze over the bar.

Aside from that there was very little meaningful action as Rovers made nine changes in total, with only Anderson and Munro completing the 90, in a bid to preserve energy for Saturday.

"I don't want us leaving our legs on the training ground or on the pitch because it's more important for Saturday now," McGlynn explained.

"We take the gas right off the pedal, tick the boxes with regards to some tactical work on Thursday and Friday, and that's us ready for Dundee as best as we can be at this stage in the season."

Raith Rovers: Munro, Miller (Watson 60), MacDonald (Trialist C), Davidson (Benedictus 45), McKay (Mendy 45), Hendry (Matthews 45), Allan (Trialist B 45), Anderson, Victoria (Trailist A 45), Spencer (Tait 60), Bowie (Smith 60). Not used: McGurn.

Referee: Steven Kirkland

Attendance: 643