Raith skipper praises abundance of goals to boost early-season campaign

Raith Rovers captain Kyle Benedictus said improving the goal average was a key priority as well as harvesting points in their Premier Sports League Cup quest.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 1:54 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:48 pm
Raith Rovers captain Kyle Benedictus lofts a long ball upfield (picture by Fife Photo Agency)

The fact they’d won their first two games and hit four without reply on Tuesday against Brechin City – having also kept a clean sheet against Cowdenbeath – contributed greatly to a satisfying week.

Andy Kirk’s men – recently consigned to the Highland League – created a near-solid wall of defence which thwarted many of the Raith attacks which rained down on them.

The part-timers looked as if they might hold out at least until the break against the Championship side – until Lewis Vaughan capitalised skilfully on a goalkeeping blunder by young Jack Wills on 42 minutes.

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Some commendable Brechin pressure early in the second half was soon buried, though, by a pair of Brad Spencer goals on either side of a deflected strike from Dario Zanatta.

Skipper Benedictus said Raith were happy with the result – adding a 4-0 win should offer contentment at any level of the game – and echoed manager John McGlynn’s declaration that Rovers wanted maximum points from the opening games to have a realistic chance of going forward from Group D.

"We started really well and I thought we were on the front foot,” he said. “I think they changed their formation at half time – they had an extra man to stop me and ‘Dicko’ (Liam Dick) getting forward, so that probably kind of unsettled us for the first 10 minutes of the second half.

"But then we got to grips with it and were creating chance after chance, and we managed to score a few goals.”

Brechin deserved a lot of credit and had a number of good players who could do well in the Highland League, said Benedictus, although the difference in fitness was a factor as time wore on.

"Fair play to Brechin, they came with a game plan,” he said. “Obviously, they wanted to try and stop us. It was difficult for them but all credit to them – they kept going right to the end.”

Although Raith had only managed one goal before the break, despite relentless pressure, Benedictus said they’d had total control in the first half and just took the game as it came along.

“Once we got the second, I think you saw the door opening,” he added.

The result was heartening at this initial stage, said the captain. “During the pre-season and in the Cowdenbeath game, we have not really killed teams off,” he added.

”In every game, we have had chances but not really put the ball in the back of the net. We have had the odd goal but I think today we got a few goals and the manager will be pleased.”

Livingston would present an entirely different type of opposition in Rovers’ next competitive game in the League Cup on July 24 but Rovers were unlikely to be fazed by facing a Premier League team they know quite well.

Raith were aware of the threat they carried and that David Martindale’s side had won their League Cup game with Brechin by scoring three goals from set pieces.

However, Bendictus said: “We have nothing to fear and we know what we are about.”