Dunfermline 2 Raith 3, February 6, 1982: Raith win in five-goal thriller

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This belated New Year derby at East End Park on Saturday, February 6, 1982 produced a stirring contest in the First Division.

For Raith Rovers, who came out on top with a 3-2, their was the added satisfaction of not only the derby bragging rights, but their third away win within the space of eight days after victories over Queen Of The South and Clydebank.

Although the scoreline was tight, the Kirkcaldy side dominated three quarters of the match – but they could have been made to pay for allowing Dunfermline to take the game to them in the latter stages.

With an hour played, Raith were full value for their 3-1 lead, but the home side were gifted a second goal and thereafter came perilously dose to snatching a draw.

Had they done so, however it would have been a travesty of justice, for Raith at times played fluent and positive football which threatened to sink the opposition without trace.

Tom Houston’s first goal of the season in the 14th minute was the culmination of a non-stop barrage of Rovers’ pressure, born of confidence, which was both slick and aggressive.

Houston’s opener was a bulleted header from a Bobby Ford corner and no more than the visitors deserved.

A matter of 30 seconds earlier. Ballantyne and Gibson appeared to impede one another in front of an open goal after keeper Young had failed to hold a Mitchell free: kick, and when Bally eventually shot, the ball was deflected behind by a defender.

Raith continued to impress, with John Mitchell ready and able to take on his men on the left wing, and it was something of a shock when Kevin Hegarty headed home a fine equaliser from Robertson’s cross in Dunfermline’s first serious attack in 23 minutes.

But Rovers did not allow this to upset their rhythm, and they regained the lead – albeit fortuitously – just three minutes later.

Bobby Ford’s left-wing cross looked easy meat for Young, but with one eye on the in-rushing Gibson, the keeper allowed the ball to bounce through his arms and into the net.

Dunfermline manager Pat Stanton was obviously concerned at the pummelling his defence was taking and the second half saw both substitutes on, replacing centre half Wilcox and right back Robertson.

But within six minutes, Raith went further ahead through a superb Willie Gibson goal.

Many a striker would have given Craig Robinson’s high ball forward up for lost – but not Gibson. He won the jump and coolly flicked the ball over keeper Young’s head before tapping home.

That seemed to be that, but Dunfermline were thrown a lifeline in similar fashion to Ford’s counter for Raith.

Steel and Donaldson appeared to leave a Thomson cross to each other, and McNaughton got the final touch from close range.

The Pars sensed the chance to save the game, and six minutes later Raith fans breathed a sigh of relief as McNaughton connected with a diving header which flashed just wide.

But the home side’s last hope evaporated in 85 minutes when Donaldson pulled off an outstanding save on the line from Bowie, having seen the ball very late.

Overall, it was excellent entertainment for a sizeable crowd, and another step in the right direction for Raith who, on the day, did not have a weakness.

Dunfermline: Young, Robertson (Thomson 45), Mercer, Nicol, Wilcox (Morrison 45), Considine, McNaughton, Bowie, Hegarty, Donnelly and Jenkins.

Raith: Donaldson, Robertson, McDonough, Ford, Steel, Houston, Ballantyne (Russell 83), Urquhart, Gibson, Mitchell (Carroll 83) and Robinson.