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Fighting Accies earn point in Rovers battle

It was a game that will go down in Accies history as Brian Rice’s men fought back from 4-0 down to earn a point against Raith Rovers in the opening match of the Cinch Championship. Here is how the action unfolded. 

FIRST HALF

It was the home side who got the match underway, and both sets of players wasted no time in attempting to stamp their authority in the game. Attacker Lewis Smith registered the first shot of the match as he skipped past the challenges of the defenders. However, his effort was over the bar

Accies took confidence from this exchange but were unable to turn that confidence into momentum. Moments later the home side broke forward down the Accies right hand side, as the men from Kirkcaldy worked their way into the Accies box the effort was saved by goalkeeper Ryan Fulton and cleared by defender Jamie Hamilton. 

It was an exchange which gave Rovers the confidence as in the 11th minute of the match they worked a crossing opportunity on the Accies left hand side. The ball in was headed goalward and referee Nick Walsh judged midfielder Lewis Spence handled the ball with his block. 

Forward Lewis Vaughan stepped up and slotted past the diving Fulton to give the home side the lead in 12 minutes. 

Accies then went in search of an equaliser as attacker Lewis Smith won back possession and drew a foul to the left of the Raith goal. However, as MacDonald’s delivery went out of play Raith quickly got the ball back in play. The cross-field pass found Declan McDaid who rifled his shot into the top corner as Accies went in at the break 2-0 down. 

HALF TIME Raith Rovers 2 – 0 ACCIES

SECOND HALF

Head Coach Brian Rice made two substitutions at half time bringing on Scott McMann and Andy Ryan for Callum Smith and David Moyo. However, despite the changes in personel and shape it was Raith Rovers who increased their lead at the beginning of the half. 

Raith winger Aidan Connolly found space on the right-hand side of the Accies penalty area and was able to fire his low shot past Fulton to increase the home sides lead in the 51st minute. As Raith looked for the knockout blow they were able to find a fourth goal to increase their lead on 64 minutes. 

First goal scorer Lewis Vaughan found his way in behind the Accies defence and chipped the ball over the on-rushing Ryan Fulton as it looked like Accies were ready to slump to defeat. 

However, just moments later substitute Andy Ryan was able to find former Raith Rovers man Kieran MacDonald who headed past a diving Jamie MacDonald. With 23 minutes remaining Accies appeared to rise from the canvas as they pushed on in search of a route back into the match. 

Their search was aided by the return of attacker David Templeton, his first appearance since October last year did not disappoint. As the ball fell Templeton was able to find a yard of space in the centre of the pitch and play in Andy Ryan down the Accies left. 

Ryan was able to get his stunning shot past the defender and goalkeeper to fire into the top corner. The score was now 4-2 as we headed into the final 14 minutes. 

Despite having only trained fully for seven days prior to his return Templeton was looking as sharp as ever as Accies continued their fight back. 

In the 82nd minute his skill was able to see him past the challenge of the Rovers defender and whip in a low cross which Kieran MacDonald was able to get himself on the end of and put Accies within one goal.

As the game entered added time Raith then hit the crossbar for a second time before Brain Rice’s men continued their push for an equaliser. In the 92nd minute captain Shaun Want was sent forward to lead the bombardment of the Rovers goal. 

Andy Ryan fed the ball to Lewis Smith on the Accies left, Smith saw the diagonal run from Want across the Rovers box and whipped the ball in. Want was able to get his head on the cross and direct his effort beyond the goalkeeper and Accies were level. 

Scenes!

Accies will be looking to build on their momentum from the second half performance in their next match against Morton this coming Saturday.

FULL TIME: Raith Rovers 4-4 ACCIES

Accies: Fulton, Stirling, Hamilton, MacDonald, L Smith, Want (c), Spence, Mimnaugh, Moyo (Ryan 45), Redfern (Templeton 73’), C.Smith (McMann 45’),

Goals: MacDonald 67’ 82’;  Ryan 76’; Want 90+2’

Cautions: 

Referee: Nick Walsh Assistants: Gordon Crawford & Brian Christie

Attendance: 1569 (149 Accies)

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