Raith Rovers: Penalty shootout win after scoreless draw with Sons in League Cup

Dumbarton 0, Raith Rovers 0(Raith Rovers won 3-2 on penalties)

By Ralph Mellon
Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 10:11 pm
Ethan Ross of Raith Rovers eludes Dumbarton's Finlay Gray (photo by Dave Johnston/Alba Pictures)
Ethan Ross of Raith Rovers eludes Dumbarton's Finlay Gray (photo by Dave Johnston/Alba Pictures)

Raith Rovers found themselves at the favourable end of a League Cup penalty shoot-out on Tuesday after their second spot-kick decider in four days.

However, despite plenty of effort and a good few chances, they once again failed to defeat a team from a lower division in 90 regulation minutes.

Stevie Farrell’s Dumbarton side weren’t ruffled by their full-time opponents and had a few opportunities of their own to spring a shock.

Goalkeepers Harry Brown and Jamie MacDonald – Raith’s captain for the night – displayed their value in the spot kick settler, with Brown foiling Jamie Gullan and Liam Dick, while ‘Jamma’ got the better of Gregor Buchanan and, decisively, Stuart Carswell.

Raith gaffer Ian Murray – a former Dumbarton manager – fielded the same starting XI which crashed on Saturday against Stirling Albion.

The Kirkcaldy men created a couple of early quick openings – first, a long-range effort from Scott Brown, after excellent lead-up work involving Sam Stanton and Ethan Ross, sailed narrowly over the target after four minutes.

Then, an impressive sixth-minute break from deep in his own half saw Dylan Easton send Aidan Connolly clear but Sons stopper Brown made a very good save.

MacDonald saved a 16th-minute shot from Callum Wilson, who collected a cross from the right by Kalvin Orsi in Sons' first proper opportunity of the game.

Liam Dick delivered a slick cross into Sons box after 21 minutes and the ball bobbled about before Dario Zanatta tried to release a shot but it was flicked away by home captain Buchanan.

Brown displayed good handling skills in the air again on 28 minutes to grasp a header by Christophe Berra, from Easton's corner.

Calum Wilson had another opportunity on target after 38 minutes during a burst of Sons possession but MacDonald saved.

Dumbarton almost snatched the lead with the last move of the first half as a free downward header from Buchanan, following a stoppage-time Wilson corner, bounced through a forest of bodies and snaked past the upright.

Kieran Mitchell replaced Ross at half time for Rovers and shot over the bar in 49 minutes as Rovers made a menacing start to the second half.

Early signs of pressure continued from the visitors and Brown beat away a shot by Zanatta in the 63rd minute, following a good through ball by Connolly.

Substitute Quinn Coulson squared a 73rd minute ball to set Rovers up but it was crucially cleared by Martin McNiff.

Brown eventually managed to gather the ball safely following a spell of pinball when Easton's corner kick came into the box on 81 minutes.

Shortly afterwards, Ryan Blair sent sub Declan Byrne through for the hosts but the Sons man slipped at the crucial moment.

Scorers for Rovers in the penalty decider were Berra, Ross Millen and Easton, while Byrne fired one wide for Dumbarton, in addition to the blockages by MacDonald.

Joe McKee and Ally Love found the target for the home side.

Rovers’ focus switches now to Sunday, when they will be the team from the lower division, taking on Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Dumbarton: Brown, Lynas, Buchanan, Carswell, McNiff, Blair, Gray (D. Wilson), Orsi (McKee 64), C. Wilson (Wylde 64), Love, Wallace (Byrne 72). Sub (not used) – Long (GK).

Raith Rovers: MacDonald, Dick, Millen, Berra, Connolly, Gullan, Zanatta (Coulson 69), Stanton, Brown, Ross (Mitchell 45), Easton. Subs (not used) – Thomson (GK), Mahady, Arnott, Young, Masson.

Referee: Graham Grainger.