A small crowd turned out to watch a Fife Derby take place at Starks Park on Monday evening. The friendly fixture was controlled in large parts by Barry Smith’s men who eased to victory over their arch-rivals.
The opening chance of the game fell to the Pars, however. Ryan Williamson cut infield and laid the ball off for Joe Cardle, ,who cut the ball back across goal. Despite the best efforts of the Raith defence, they couldn’t clear their lines with the ball landing back to Williamson who hit the side-netting after getting a right-footed effort away.
Dunfermline continued to put pressure on to the hosts in the opening stages with former Raith players Declan McManus and Jean-Yves M’Voto seeing efforts go wide of targer.
The Kirkcaldy club grew into the game as the first-half wore on and it was Bobby Barr’s header which caused panic in the Pars ranks. He nodded down Jason Thomson’s delivery to the back post but the header was just too strong for Greig Spence who couldn’t direct his effort on target.
The opening goal came 24 minutes in – and it was all through Dunfermline’s own doing! Joe Cardle had the ball on the right flank in a defensive area when he laid it off to captain, Callum Morris. Under pressure, the Englishman tried to spin away from danger but could only be robbed of possession by Barr. The winger drove in on goal before teeing up and unmarked Buchanan who fired the Rovers in front from 15 yards out.
Bobby Barr flashed a shot wide of Murdoch’s post before Kallum Higginbotham screwed a shot over the bar for Dunfermline. Just moments later, Lewis Vaughan doubled the Kirkcaldy clubs lead with a right footed volley past the helpless Murdoch with the Pars defence motionless after a cross in from the right.
Allan Johnston made a bold substitution at half-time, with midfielder Aaron Splaine being replaced by young striker, Callum Smith, and it was the Pars who made the brighter start once again. Joe Cardle lofted in a delivery from the right and a rampaging run forward into the area by left-back Lewis Martin saw him get on to the end of the shot, forcing Rovers’ trialist goalkeeper into his first save of the night.
The impressive Vaughan fired a free-kick over the bar before the Pars had their own set-piece chance. Higginbotham flighted the ball into the back post for M’Voto to head back across goal; Pars captain Morris rose and flicked a header towards goal but the trialist keeper was up to the task once again.
Michael Paton, Kallum Higginbotham and Joe Cardle fired shots wide while Greig Spence had saw an effort drag past the post and then Murdoch make a comfortable as the game closed in on the final few moments.
Second-half substitute Ross Matthews collected possession midway inside the Pars half and drove forward into the space; unchallenged, the youngster picked his spot as he lashed a low driven effort past Murdoch and into the back of the Pars goal.
The final whistle was blown and it was a solid victory for Barry Smith’s side but a lot of questions need answered for Allan Johnston’s men as they prepare to kick off the competitive season on Saturday.
Raith Rovers 3-0 Dunfermline Athletic
2. Jason Thomson
14. Iain Davidson (David Mc Kay 84′)
6. Kyle Benedictus
5. Euan Murray
7. Greig Spence (Trialist 84′)
4. Ross Callachan
8. Scott Robertson
11. Bobby Barr (Ross Matthews 53′)
9. Liam Buchanan
10. Lewis Vaughan
17. Aaron Lennox (GK)
16. Jonny Court
18. David McKay
22. James Berry
1. Sean Murdoch
2. Ryan Williamson
5. Callum Morris
4. Jean-Yves M’Voto
3. Lewis Martin
7. Kallum Higginbotham
13. Aaron Splaine (Callum Smith 45′)
8. Nat Wedderburn
15. Michael Paton
11. Joe Cardle
9. Declan McManus (Scott Lochhead 62′)
20. Cammy Gill (GK)
6. Lee Ashcroft
18. Conner Duthie
19. Scott Lochhead
21. Brandon Luke
22. Stuart Morrison
23. Callum Smith