Raith Rovers hit back to grab late equaliser

Neutral onlookers might have assumed Raith Rovers were mightily relieved at having grabbed an equaliser with less than five minutes remaining against Dundee at Dens Park.
Frankie Musonda rescued a point for Raith Rovers with an excellent header from a corner.Frankie Musonda rescued a point for Raith Rovers with an excellent header from a corner.
Frankie Musonda rescued a point for Raith Rovers with an excellent header from a corner.

But assistant manager Paul Smith and his players reckoned the point was fully deserved in a match where Rovers had been on the receiving end of most of the attacking but were the stronger team at the end.

The first half hour or so was very flat and unentertaining – not what might have been expected from two teams looking to continue winning form in the Championship.

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Dundee gradually built more of an attacking fluency as the first half progressed and Raith offered little response, The Dark Blues were just about worthy of their interval lead, although to say the game was one-sided would have been slightly flattering to them.

Rovers, however, showed a steady improvement after the break and certainly looked more likely to score, although it seemed the Taysiders had done just enough.

That was until the 86th minute, when substitute Frankie Musonda rose to head a corner kick past Calum Ferrie and bring a point back to Kirkcaldy.

Dundee manager James McPake was quietly livid after the game at his side conceding from a set piece so late on after being in a good position.

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Rovers assistant boss Paul Smith said his side had not played their usual passing game in the first half and Dundee had made life difficult for them.

He felt the hosts would score, as they were always on top, so changed the shape of the squad at half time, eventually forming a ‘diamond’ in the middle of the field.

“We got control of the game after that and we deserved that point at the end of the day,” he said, adding Rovers were delighted to leave Dens Park with something.

"This is always a difficult place to come,” continued Smith. “To come to come away with a point and still be unbeaten in the league is fantastic for us.

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"We have been playing with confidence and that's why were were disappointed with our first-half performance today. It was not like us at all.

"We came out in the second half and, after about 10 minutes, started to get the ball and pass it about a lot better, and started to cause Dundee some problems.”

Dundee had gradually moved into an attacking groove as the opening half progressed and a 40th-minute goal by the vastly experienced Charlie Adam proved a reward for their endeavours.

It was just about merited, given their forward-thinking tactics.

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Adam collected a loose ball after the latest of several advances appeared to have broken down but cut forward from the right and unleashed a low shot from the edge of the box,which arrowed in under the diving Jamie McDonald’s left hand side.

It was a good time to score and Dundee carried their slender superiority into the second half, with the desire to attack still evident in their play.

Rovers had a hugely fortunate escape on 57 minutes, almost being forced into an own goal.

Again, Adam was the architect. His advance allowed Jordan Marshall to cross from the left and Raith’s Regan Hendry smashed the intended clearance against his own crossbar.

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Rovers knew they had to create something and gradually began to force their own way forward, having also defended in broad numbers when Dundee advanced.

The Rovers threat grew steadily more potent, although onlookers again might have been forgiven for thinking Dundee looked safe.

Raith’s new loan signing from Livingston, Lars Lokotsch, was unlucky in the 70th minute, making a very neat turn in the Dundee box, but control just deserted him at the crucial moment and his powerless shot limped wide.

Then, with four minutes remaining, Dan Armstrong swung over a corner kick and Frankie Musonda, who had come on in the first half in place of Kieran MacDonald, powered a fine downward header into the net - to the yelling, whooping delight of the entire Raith Rovers entourage.

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Dundee – Calum Ferrie, Cammy Kerr, Jordan McGhee, Graham Dorrans, Shaun Byrne, Danny Mullen (Christie Elliott), Declan McDaid (Max Anderson 84), Lee Ashcroft, Jonathan Afolabi, Jordan Marshall, Charlie Adam (Paul McGowan 75). Subs not used – Jack Hamilton, Finlay Robertson, Luke Strachan, Cammy Blacklock.

Raith Rovers – Jamie McDonald, Reghan Tumilty, Kieran McDonald (Frankie Musonda), Ian Davidson (Fernandy Mendy 81), Kyle Benedictus, Dan Armstrong, Regan Hendry, Lars Lokotsch, Ross Matthews, Dylan Tait, Ethan Ross (Brad Spencer 72). Subs not used - Robbie Thomson, Aaron Arnott, Luke Mahady, Quinn Coulson.

Referee – Alan Newlands.