Raith Rovers 2
Dundee 1
League (First Division)

Raith Rovers 

2 - 1


League (First Division)
Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Starks Park
Attendance: 3,143
3:00 PM Kick-off

Grégory Tadé (43)
Allan Walker (91)
Stephen O'Donnell (71)

Team Managers
John McGlynn Barry Smith

Starting Eleven
1. Andy McNeil
2. Mark Campbell
3. Dougie Hill
4. Grant Murray
5. Iain Davidson
6. Scott McBride
7. Craig Wilson
8. Kevin McBride
9. Allan Walker
10. Grégory Tadé
11. John Baird
Robert Douglas .1
Kyle Benedictus .2
Craig McKeown .3
Rhys Weston .4
Matt Lockwood .5
Connor Rennie .6
Gary Irvine .7
Stephen O'Donnell .8
Gary Bartlett .9
Gary Harkins .10
Leighton McIntosh .11

12. David McGurn
14. Mark Ferry
15.Gary Wales
16.Willie Dyer
17. Graham Weir
John Gibson .12
Allan Tulleth .14
Graham Webster .15
Ross Carnegie .16
Michael Hutcheon .17

David McGurn for Andy McNeil (46)
Mark Ferry for Iain Davidson (66)
Graham Weir for Scott McBride (80)

Iain Davidson (46) Craig McKeown (43)
Craig McKeown (84)
Stephen O'Donnell (89)

Red Cards
None. Craig McKeown (84)

Match Officials

Craig Charleston (Referee)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

Dundee's last league defeat was on a lovely sunny day in Fife, when they lost in Cowdenbeath last September and the run finally came to an end on a very similar day in Kirkcaldy, six months and eight days later. Raith took all three points at Stark's Park with two excellent goals that really didn't belong in a dire exhibition of football.

The 23-game unbeaten league run was a fantastic achievement by Barry Smith and the players, but the 24th match was a step too far.

Nicky Riley and Craig Forsyth were suspended. The arrival of April meant that trialists could no longer be used. Barry Smith therefore had to draft in Connor Rennie and Gary Bartlett for their debuts in midfield.

Crucially, Gary Harkins had to move forward to support youngster Leighton Mcintosh. This left only Stephen O'Donnell from the midfield that had dominated Raith so impressively in Dundee's win in Kirkcaldy last month.

Not surprisingly, Rovers took an early grip in midfield but they struggled badly to create anything in the final third. Dundee saw out most of the first half in relative comfort, but offered no threat in attack.

Raith had most of the possession but time and again they wasted it with hasty passing and poor crosses from positions that made life easy for Dundee's central defence.

Dundee, meanwhile, just couldn't keep the ball. Every time they brought the ball out of defence they lost it, allowing Rovers to launch a brainless and futile attack that inevitably and rapidly squandered possession.

Astonishingly, after all the dross, Rovers scored a fine goal just before half time. John Baird flicked the ball on to Gregory Tade, who took a touch and turned to lash a 15- yard drive just inside Rab Douglas's left hand post. It was a beautifully struck goal, but there was a hint of handball about his controlling touch.

Rovers replaced their keeper, Andy McNeil, at half time with David McGurn.

The second half continued with Raith in charge, but woefully lacking in the composure and wit to put the game beyond Dundee.

When there was plenty of time left Raith launched attacks as if they were deep into injury time and needing a goal. Attacks repeatedly broke down because they took wrong decisions or were in too much of a hurry.

It was hard to see where a Dundee goal was going to come from. The ball only went as far as the Rovers' penalty area from passbacks.

Exactly half way through the second half Dundee won their first corner of the game. Kyle Benedictus sent a glancing, floating header for the top corner, but keeper McGurn turned the ball onto the bar and over for another corner.

Dundee then embarked on their best spell of the game, and amazingly grabbed an equaliser with 19 minutes to go. Connor Rennie's cross along the edge of the area was met by Stephen O'Donnell who took the ball past a defender and drove home from a tight angle.

Dundee looked far more confident but didn't come close again. Rovers seemed crippled by nerves and although they piled forward into attack they desperately needed cool heads rather than willing runners.

The crucial point came six minutes from time when referee Charleston decided that Craig McKeown's challenge on Baird was worth a second yellow. The decision seemed harsh. McKeown had been having a fine game and his departure meant that Dundee had to reorganise and leave McIntosh utterly isolated up front. Benedictus moved into central defence and Gary Irvine moved to his normal right back position.

The winning goal came on the 91st minute after McIntosh was surprisingly pulled up for a foul on the halfway line. The long free kick wasn't properly cleared and Allan Walker scored with a spectacular drive from 22 yards that crashed off the bar, down and over the line.

After all the heroics in the last six months there was no way back for the Dee this time. At the end the players' heads went down in disappointment, but they picked themselves up to go to the away fans and take the well earned applause for their marvellous efforts through the long, hard winter.

Barry Smith, meanwhile, was exchanging some heated words with the referee, presumably unhappy about McKeown's red card, and possibly the free kick awarded to Raith that led to the winner.

This was a very difficult match for the youngsters. They have been put into an unfair situation, having to make up the numbers, playing in unfamiliar positions. Not surprisingly, there was a lack of cohesion and confidence in midfield. Rovers' inability to take advantage of Dundee's midfield problems, and having to rely on two spectacular goals out of nothing, raise doubts about whether they will have the nerve and quality to take the First Division title.

It was always going to be tough after the Dens boss could no longer call on trialists. However, the supporters are firmly behind the players and manager, and together they will surely reach safety.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at April 2nd, 2011)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 33 - 224 -
Rhys Weston30 31 - 31 -
Matt Lockwood34 304304
Craig McKeown26 351681
Connor Rennie20 2 - 2 -
Gary Irvine26 321321
Kyle Benedictus19 7 - 30 -
Gary Harkins26 3648122
Gary Bartlett - 1 - 1 -
Stephen O'Donnell27 333333
Leighton McIntosh18 9 - 9 -

League Table (as at April 2nd, 2011)

No league table has been added for this season.