Sam Stanton plays it again for derby win for Raith Rovers against Dunfermline Athletic
That was only manager Ian Murray’s side’s second shot on target in front of a crowd of more than 5,900 at Kirkcaldy’s Stark’s Park to their visitors’ six but it was enough to earn them all three points, cutting the gap separating them from Scottish Championship table-toppers Dundee United to four points ahead of Tuesday night’s fixture card.
Going into midweek games away to Greenock Morton and Airdrieonians respectively, second-placed Raith are on 20 points from nine fixtures and United, 6-0 winners at home to Arbroath on Friday night, on 24 from ten.
Stanton’s strike past visiting goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet was only his second goal of the season following a 36th-minute winner away to the same opposition at East End Park at the end of August.
Murray, 42, wasn’t overly impressed by his players’ performance against visiting gaffer James McPake’s team at the weekend but was glad to see them extend an unbeaten run against the Pars to three matches, telling Raith TV: “Like the previous two meetings between the sides this season, it was a really, really close game.
“I didn’t think it was a great game, to be honest. I thought the quality on show from both sides was poor.
“Both teams are better than that and they’re capable of better quality than that, but derbies are rarely a great spectacle. It’s rare that one team run away with it.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game. James has his team set up really well. They play a really good formation. It’s a really hard formation to play against. We did find it incredibly difficult.
“We didn’t work their goalie. We only had two shots on target in the game, so that was disappointing for us.
“Other than that, there wasn’y much in it. They had a couple of half-chances and we had a couple of nearly chances.
“Overall, it was not a classic Fife derby.
“It was a fantastic win for us, though. It keeps us going. That’s two games now that we’ve played them and managed to get 1-0 victories, two clean sheets, so that’s a real positive.
“Dunfermline’s players are very well drilled. We’ve found in our last three games against them that it’s hard to create chances.
“Today’s was probably the game in which we created the fewest chances but we had one moment of quality from Sam. It was a fantastic goal, fit to win any derby.”
McPake, 39, was even less impressed, saying: “It’s not sour grapes. We should have won the game but, credit to them, they kept at it and it’s a great finish from Stanton in the end.
“That’s the difference in the game, they managed to take that chance and we couldn’t unfortunately.”
Saturday’s derby saw former Raith captain Kyle Benedictus, at Stark’s Park from 2015 until June last year, make his first appearance for the Pars since the beginning of September after being ruled out by a fractured metatarsal.