Raith Rovers: Kirkcaldy side felled by killer blows at Aberdeen

Aberdeen 3, Raith Rovers 0

By Ralph Mellon
Sunday, 24th July 2022, 5:47 pm
Christophe Berra aims to challenge Jayden Richardson as Liam Dick looks on in Raith Rovers' Premier Sports Cup tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie (picture by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Christophe Berra aims to challenge Jayden Richardson as Liam Dick looks on in Raith Rovers' Premier Sports Cup tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie (picture by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The cruel side of football enveloped Raith Rovers on Sunday as they were sent careering out of the Premier Sports League Cup at Aberdeen.

The Lang Toun men fell behind to a seventh-minute penalty in the concluding group A match but recovered well to put the Dons under pressure for most of the rest of the first half.

However, Ross McCrorie pulled out some sheer magic four minutes from the break with a scorching run and shot from around 25 yards which went in off the crossbar.

Then, barely a minute into the second half, Jonny Hayes ran on to collect a ball from the offside Bojan Miovski and shoot clinically past Robbie Thomson to make it 3-0.

The scoreline was a bit harsh on Ian Murray’s men but, after that, both sides dropped the pace, as Rovers appeared to look towards damage containment and Aberdeen sensed the game was probably safe.

First blood was drawn after seven minutes by Jim Goodwin’s side when Miovski went down in the penalty box under a challenge from Sam Stanton and referee David Munro pointed to the spot.

The North Macedonian took the kick himself and gave Thomson no opportunity whatsoever by blasting into the top corner.

The Premier League side, however, failed to build on that advantage after a spell of control and Rovers – modelling their brand-new pink away kit – created a sequence of good chances. Jamie Gullan flicked just wide on 14 minutes after good work by Stanton, from a corner, and Gullan again narrowly missed his connection with a superb cross by Liam Dick after 20 minutes.

Kelle Roos tipped away another Gullan effort five minutes later after fine lead-up work from Aidan Connolly and Aaron Arnott, while a Dario Zanatta shot after 33 minutes was deflected inches wide.

Veteran centre back Christophe Berra cleared a Hayes attempt off the line at the other end and Vicente Besuijen shot narrowly over after 38 minutes but the Pittodrie side were still struggling to cope with their Championship rivals.

That all changed, however, with McCrorie’s exquisite effort, and Rovers found themselves quite undeservedly 2-0 down.

Thomson produced a brilliant reaction save from a Liam Scales header before the break but the game looked over as a contest after 46 minutes, when the Rovers rearguard hesitated in anticipation of an offside decision against Miovski and Hayes gathered the ball to gallop on unchallenged and shoot home.

Besuijen almost stretched the lead even further seconds later when through but Thomson made another great block from 12 yards.

The entertainment quotient rather drained away later in the second half as the scenario was assessed by both teams.

Sub Christian Ramirez volleyed over from just six yards after admittedly hard-to-reach cross from fellow sup ‘Duk’ Lopes, while Thomson tipped over well from another effort by the American in 79 minutes.

Raith replacement Quinn Coulson was yellow-carded just moments after coming on after a bad-tempered tangle with Jayden Richardson, with Dick also cautioned for his part.

Ramirez humiliatingly blew a brilliant chance to make it four for Aberdeen in stoppage time after snapping up a slack pass back but utterly failing to capitalise.

Aberdeen: Roos, McCrorie, Scales, Stewart, Miovski (Lopes 58), Besuijen (Watkins 72), Ramadani, Hayes (Duncan 67), Richardson, Hancock (Ramirez 58), Kennedy (Polvara 73). Subs (not used) Kewis (GK), McLennan, Bates, Milne.

Raith Rovers: Thomson, Dick, Millen, Berra, Connolly (Coulson 81), Gullan (Mitchell 67), Zanatta (Mahady 81), Stanton, Brown, Ross, Arnott (Easton 55). Subs (not used) McNeil (GK), Young, Masson.

Referee: David Munro.

Attendance: 8785.