Raith Rovers concede late double as Stranraer inflict first league defeat

Ross Matthews tangles with Jamie Hamill.
Ross Matthews tangles with Jamie Hamill.

Stranraer 3 Raith Rovers 2

Rovers made the long trip to Stranraer trying to extend a useful run of early season form at what has on occasions proven to be a difficult venue and proved to be so once again.

Within a minute the home side had threatened.

David Dangana getting on the end of a Scott Robertson cross and his header flew inches wide of Davie McGurn’s right hand post.

From a corner a Jamie Hamill overhead kick went even closer to giving Stranraer an early lead but the Rovers goal once again survived.

Rovers finally worked a chance in response to this but Brad Spencer could only shoot high and wide.

Grant Anderson then had a great chance as the ball fell to him and his drive was blocked by Hamill.

This proved costly as Stranraer scored on the next attack. Tenacious running by Cameron Elliott on the Blues left saw him cut inside and find Connor McManus who from 25

yards smashed an unstoppable shot past McGurn.

Regan Hendry unlocked the home defence with a superb ball that sent Kieran MacDonald free on the left but his driven cross was too close to home 'keeper Dale Burgess and Lewis Allan had a goal bound shot blocked as Rovers probed closer to the Blues goal.

Allan was denied again moments later as he turned and shot but a great defensive block from Lee Hamilton cleared the danger.

Stranraer continued to be dangerous and when Leon Murphy played through to Dangana he was only inches away from connecting and the home side retained their advantage into the break.

Rovers quickly restored partly upon the restart. Four minutes into the second period they forced a corner after a promising break from Allan and the resulting flag kick was bulleted home from close range by Michael Miller with an unstoppable header.

llan was proving a real handful for the Stranraer defence and another good turn in the box gave him another chance but he couldn’t find the target.

Fit-again Kieron Bowie got in the action and, as Rovers counter-attacked, he let fly from long range but couldn’t keep his shot down.

At the other end McGurn came to the rescue to thwart Elliott who had turned Iain Davidson to get in on the goalkeeper but couldn’t beat the veteran stopper and Elliott fired narrowly wide minutes later from the edge of the box and latching on to Robertson’s through ball.

With 20 minutes remaining Rovers completed the turnaround.

Brad Spencer gathered the ball wide on the left before driving inside and smashing a low drive beyond Burgess into the bottom corner.

Stranraer though should have been level straight away. Murphy delivered a corner into the middle and Adam Cummins headed wide when he should have done much better.

The hosts, however, refused to lie down and fought their way back to level terms with eight minutes remaining.

A fine flowing move reached Robertson on the right. He drilled the ball back across goal, Ian Smith had an attempt before David Dangana smashed the ball past McGurn with his own second attempt after some valiant defending kept him out.

Then suddenly Stranraer had momentum and scored again within three minutes. Smith was involved again and hit a tremendous effort from distance that McGurn somehow managed to reach and save but he couldn’t prevent Cameron Elliott picking up the loose ball and tapping home from point blank range to inflict Rovers' first league defeat of the season.