Raith Rovers share points in Arbroath cracker

Raith boss John McGlynn. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Raith boss John McGlynn. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith boss John McGlynn. (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers and Arbroath played out a pulsating 3-3 draw at Gayfield.

Manager John McGlynn, serving a one-match ban, was forced to make six changes to his side, ravaged by injury and suspension; out went Jamie MacDonald, Frankie Musonda - on international duty - Christophe Berra, Kyle Benedictus and Ben Williamson with Ethan Ross dropping to the bench.

Also among the subs was emergency seven-day loan signing, goalkeeper Lewis Budinaukas.

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In came Robbie Thomson, Reghan Tumilty, and Jamie Gullan, whilst Ross Matthews also started, taking the captain’s armband, and joining him were the centre half pairing of Liam Dick and David McKay.

It was always going to be a difficult afternoon for the Stark’s Park side against an Arbroath side which hasn’t lost at home since the opening match of the season, and the task at hand got even more difficult when the Lichties took the lead with less than a minute gone.

Raith failed to clear from a corner and Jack Hamilton smashed the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

It was the worst possible start for Rovers but they almost equalised straight away, Ethon Varian forcing Callum Antell into a good save with a header from a Jamie Gullan free kick.

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After six minutes Dick almost doubled the lead for the home side when his headed clearance went narrowly past the post.

Rovers' injury woes continued when Gullan had to go off after he and team mate Varian collided with each other - Ethan Ross took his place.

The home side had the upper hand, albeit Thomson had been given little to do, but on the half hour mark Raith equalised.

Arbroath keeper Antell came to the edge of his box to deal with a long ball but got himself in a tangle and Matej Poplatnik pounced on the loose ball to score from the edge of the box.

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It was an unexpected gift but one that Raith probably deserved as Lady Luck has most certainly not been on their side in recent weeks.

Varian headed over from an Aidan Connolly cross as the sides went into the break all square.

There were no changes at the interval and the second half started as the first had with another early goal, but this time it was the visitors who scored.

Inside two minutes Poplatnik made a superb run down the left and forced his way into the Arbroath box where he squared it to Connolly who had a simple finish to put Rovers ahead.

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Thomson got down well to block from J. Hamilton as the home side threatened but it was Raith who were looking the better side and they made that count as they went further ahead on 65 minutes.

Poplatnik played the ball wide to Connolly who crossed to Varian and after taking a touch the striker finished with an angled drive to make it 3-1.

However, Rovers could only hold on to their lead for a minute as Dale Hilson glanced the ball past Thomson to reduce the deficit to just one.

Two minutes later and it was all square.

A J. Hamilton header came back off the bar and Michael McKenna was first to it to head in and make it 3-3.

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Varian went close after getting on to the end of a front post cross from Sam Stanton with 20 minutes to go.

There were few chances created after the spell where it rained goals and in injury time Thomson got down well to save from Hilson and ensure Raith took a hard fought and well deserved point.

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