raith 20171230 001

Scorers: Spence (13), Buchanan (27) and Vaughan (68)

CLINICAL and ruthless Raith Rovers kept up their flawless home league record, with Stranraer unable to end a 20 year wait for a win in Kirkcaldy.

Barry Smith's men are flying high in the league, with Stevie Farrell's side aiming to spring one last surprise in 2017.

They had to do so without Ryan Wallace, Danny Stoney and Tom Lang, who have all left the club.

That meant a recall to the team for Kyle Turner, with Scott Agnew returning onto what was a youthful looking bench.

raith 20171230 002

The visitors started the game well and forced a number of corners before being presented with a half chance.

Goalkeeper Graeme Smith's poor clearance was seized upon by Paul Woods wide on the right.

The midfielder tried to return the ball to the empty net but Smith managed to make an unconvincing block with his feet.

Unfortunately, that came just three minutes before the opening goal.

raith 20171230 003

Liam Dick's slack pass put Scott Robertson under pressure and his sliding tackle only forced Liam Buchanan wide.

The striker then slid a teasing ball across the six yard box to his fellow frontman Greig Spence, who could not miss.

It was a goal that came against the run of play and to Stranraer's credit they continued on the front foot.

There was plenty of possession around the Raith Rovers box but that cutting edge was sadly lacking.

The best they could show for it was a Turner shot from 20 yards, which was comfortably held by Smith.

Instead, the Blues would be hit with another goal.

This time, Buchanan was the scorer as he smashed high into the net at Cameron Belford's near post.

raith 20171230 004

That finishing power was looking more and more threatening as the first half went on.

Spence turned provider for Buchanan, who was denied by the onrushing Belford, and then Spence fired into the side netting ten minutes before the interval.

Stranraer finished the half on top though and a fine team move saw the ball worked to Angus Beith, who, like Turner, could only fire at Smith.

The visitors continued to work hard to find a way back into the game after the break and Grant Anderson's teasing ball was turned behind for a corner before Turner fired wide of goal.

raith 20171230 010

Still, time was ticking away and Stranraer's attempts were increasingly failing to find the target or truly test Smith.

Anderson saw a header go wide before Spence wasted a chance at the other end.

Finally, goal number three came with little over 20 minutes left on the clock.

It came in bizarre fashion as Steven Bell attempted to head the ball clear, only for it to bounce off the back of Morgyn Neill.

The ball then looped back over Bell and onto Belford's crossbar before dropping perfectly for Vaughan to head home from barely a few yards out.

raith 20171230 013

The final chance for the home side came right at the death when Dario Zanatta was brought down in the box.

Referee Craig Charleston pointed to the spot but Belford was a match for Vaughan's penalty.

The former Dumbarton man went straight down the middle and Belford's outstretched foot diverted the ball to safety.

raith 20171230 016

So, after what has been a difficult week, the Blues were simply not a match in the final third for the full-time Kirkcaldy side, who are looking to make an immediate return to the Championship.

All eyes turn to Tuesday now, when Stranraer welcome Ayr United down the A77.

Raith Rovers: Smith, J Thomson, Murray, Spence (Court 74), Scott Robertson, Buchanan (Osei 84), Vaughan, Matthews, Davidson, McKay, Zanatta.
Not used: Watson, Berry, Bell and Lennox.

Stranraer: Belford, Scott Robertson, Hamill, Dick, Neill, Bell, Beith, Woods, Anderson (Agnew 73), Turner (Elliott 81), R Thomson (Okoh 73).
Not used: Gray, Scott, McGowan and McLaren.

Referee: Craig Charleston
Attendance: 1,432
HT: 2-0

Gallery
Highlights

betfred1

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Clyde 0 0
2 Edinburgh City
0 0
3 Motherwell 0 0
4 QOS 0 0
5 Stranraer 0 0

Fixtures


2018/19

IN:
Grant Anderson, Kyle Turner, Jamie Hamill, Chris McGowan, Andrew McDonald (St Mirren), Max Currie, Lyle Avci (Ayr United), Cameron Elliott, Sam Lidington, Mark Lamont (East Fife), David Brownlie (Airdrieonians), David Smith (Dumbarton), Connor McManus (East Fife), Luke Donnelly (Queen's Park), Adam Cummins (Queen's Park), Max Ashmore (Ross County).

OUT: Angus Beith (end of loan), Dylan Dykes (end of loan), Dean Hawkshaw (end of loan), Ross Lyon (end of loan), Cameron MacPherson (end of loan), David Barron, Stephen Okoh, Paul Woods (East Kilbride), Scott Robertson (Airdrieonians), Ryan Thomson, Morgyn Neill (Stenhousemuir), Scott Agnew (East Fife), Gavin Scott (scholarship, USA).

View squad