Raith Rovers into knock out stage after Premier Sports penalty win over Alloa

Raith Rovers progressed to the next round of the Premier Sports Cup after topping the group following a bonus point penalty shoot out over Alloa.

By Paul McCabe
Saturday, 24th July 2021, 6:22 pm
Lewis Vaughan scores the final penalty to secure Raith's bonus point (Pics: Fife Photo Agency)
Lewis Vaughan scores the final penalty to secure Raith's bonus point (Pics: Fife Photo Agency)

The match finished 0-0 - Raith’s second in a row - but the extra point saw them finish a point clear of second placed Livingston in Group D.

Rovers’ boss John McGlynn made one change to the team that drew with Livingston in midweek.

Matej Poplatnik started with Blaise Riley-Snow dropping to the bench alongside James Keatings who was back in the squad after missing the trip to Livi through injury.

Blaise Riley-Snow salutes the Raith support after the penalty win.

New signing Tom Lang was also available for the first time, listed among the subs.

Raith dominated the opening spell against the visitors - who signed former Raith defender Fernandy Mendy on the morning of the match - but were unable to create any clear cut chances until the 20th minute when the ball fell to Dario Zanatta in the box but his volley was too high.

On 28 minutes a shot from Aidan Connolly was well saved by Wasps’ keeper David Hutton and just 60 seconds later the same player tried his luck again with a header but the stopper was well positioned to save.

On 34 minutes it was Connolly who tried once more, this time with a low, angled drive from the right which narrowly missed the target.

On 36 minutes Alloa’s Steven Boyd hit an effort wide before defender Christophe Berra went close from a Connolly corner at the other end but his attempt, after his initial header had been blocked, was smothered by Hutton.

Half time duly arrived with all in the noisy home support wondering quite how Raith hadn’t managed to score after being on top for virtually the whole of the first half.

A minute after the restart Rovers went close again. This time Connolly tried a curling shot from the edge of the box which grazed the top of the crossbar.

However, Raith weren’t having much joy as the half progressed and seemed to run out of attacking ideas, with the Alloa rearguard holding firm.

And on 66 minutes it was the visitors who went close with a Boyd shot which went narrowly wide with Raith keeper Jamie MacDonald scrambling.

A minute later Rovers made a change up front with Matej Poplatnik and Zanatta replaced by James Keatings and Ethon Varian.

With 76 minutes gone it was Alloa who were next to try when MacDonald pushed aside a rasper of a shot from Connor Sammon before Connolly tried with a looping header at the other end.

On 82 minutes sub Varian missed a glorious opportunity when a Lewis Vaughan corner came to him in the six yard box but he couldn’t control the ball and it seemed to hit off him as it went over the bar.

Raith had one last effort in the 86th minute when Connolly had an effort saved from a Reghan Tumilty cross.

The match went to penalties and Rovers won the bonus point which saw them top the group.

The Kirkcaldy side scored all five of their penalties with MacDonald saving Alloa’s first attempt from Sammon.