Rovers pay the penalty in derby

3212018 SSFF raith rovers 'Brian Graham - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
3212018 SSFF raith rovers 'Brian Graham - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

MOST strikers would be delighted to hit double figures by September 1.

But despite reaching the milestone in the Fife derby on Saturday, Raith Rovers forward Brian Graham was on a downer after missing the penalty which could have altered the outcome of the game.

With the score still at 0-0, Graham saw his 15th minute spot-kick saved by Dunfermline goalkeeper Paul Gallacher, and although he went on to score his 10th goal of the season early in the second half, the Pars were already 2-0 up at the time, and went on to secure a 3-1 win.

“I’m not even thinking about how many goals I’ve scored because I’m just so angry with myself for missing that penalty,” Graham said.

“I’ve hit the target but the ‘keeper’s saved it, and it’s bitterly disappointing from my point of view.

“I’ll be going home to lock myself in a dark room.

“We came here with high hopes because we’ve started the league and cup games extremely well, so to lose 3-1 is a sore one.

“But there’s big characters in the dressing room so I’m sure we’ll bounce back.

“We’ll get back into training this week and look forward to a big game against Partick in the cup.”

Dunfermline led in the 25th minute after Ryan Wallace shrugged off defender Colin Wilson to fire past David McGurn – the first Raith goal had conceded in the league this season.

The Pars doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Josh Falkingham – who was lucky to stay on the park after a horrendous challenge in the first minute on Eddie Malone – headed home a Joe Cardle cross.

Graham pulled one back for Rovers six minutes after the break with a perfectly placed diving header from an Allan Walker free-kick, but the Pars restored their two-goal advantage almost immediately when Andy Barrowman headed home Andy Geggan’s cross at the back post.

Raith boss Grant Murray was disappointed to lose his seven-game unbeaten record, but stressed that the penalty miss was a key turning point.

“We came here confident after a good start to the season, and the guys are in there disappointed,” he said.

“The penalty was a key point in the game – it could have turned it for us.

“Their fans got a massive lift from that and we didn’t handle it as well as we have in other games this season.

“The effort and commitment was there but Dunfermline deserved their win.”

Murray also backed his decision to hand young defender Colin Wilson, who played with a broken hand, his first senior start in the derby.

“We had a big decision to make,” he said.

“I’ve missed a bit of training coming back form a cartilage operation, and Colin came in on Tuesday night at Ross County and fitted into the team no problem.

“He’s done all the preseason so he deserved his chance today.”