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Raith Rovers 0-0 Hamilton Academical

cinch Championship 

Stark’s Park, Kirkcaldy

Saturday 5th February 2022, kick off 3pm

By Mark Gillespie

It never looked like being August’s eight goal thriller on a wild and swirling afternoon in Kirkcaldy. Both sides had their chances to edge it, but another share of the points was a fair reflection of the run of the game. 

Both sides probably settled for that as the hosts remain in 4th spot. It was a chance for Accies to close the 12 point gap on that playoff spot, but we remain in 6th place, unbeaten since the turn of the year.

With Stuart Taylor  isolating it was John Rankin who took charge of the side. The stand in boss had mixed feelings about the game’s outcome.

“I’m disappointed not to get the three points today but delighted with the clean sheet at the other end. We’re just missing that ruthlessness at one end of the pitch. I think how we defended our box today. Up front just need that same desire. We’re creating chances but no one’s putting them away.”, he said post-match

“I enjoyed today but it’s no different for me, being hands on with the players every day. The manager was in charge today. I had contact with him all day and he knew what was going on and was talking us through the game. He picked the team and game plan during the week.”

That involved two changes from last weekend, with Scott Martin replacing Ronan Hughes and Andy Ryan returning to captain the side. 

It was a busy enough opening, both sides keen to move the ball quickly back to front with the breeze a factor. The hosts saw more of the ball, but Accies carried a punch when they got forward. Kai Kennedy registered a first effort on 21 minutes, Jamie MacDonald tipping wide.

MacDonald pulled off a double stop two minutes later with the hosts reshaping after injury to Tom Lang. The Raith ‘keeper was down to stop Scott Martin’s close range effort before holding onto David Moyo’s rebound effort from a tight angle.  Chances came to Hamilton and Moyo.

Moyo then somehow placed a free header wide on 36 minutes from point blank range from Mimnaugh’s corner as we passed up good set piece opportunities. 

Accies should have been in front. Instead it was almost Raith with a sucker punch, Ross getting to the byline to set up Connolly. Hilton spread himself to pull off the stop five minutes from the break. 

Ross continued to look sharp as half time approached, winning possession on the edge of the Accies box and fizzing a shot just over the bar just on the whistle.

Hilton’ s outstretched leg saved Accies again one minute after the restart, as Tumilty set up Connolly in the middle. But for that the Accies defence looked solid with anything Raith could mount.  Kieran MacDonald nipped in at the last minute to dispossess Jamie Gullan clean through on 60 minutes as his old side searched for the opener. 

It was Accies who looked the likelier side to sneak a game which never quite caught fire. Dan O’Reilly was denied from successive corners on 65 minutes, his first effort tipped wide by MacDonald. The Raith ‘keeper was quick off his line to thwart David Moyo’s run through five minutes later. With another Moyo effort deflected wide on 77 minutes, it looked like both sides were happy to avoid defeat.

Raith made some changes to introduce some width and energy but struggled to test Hilton. Tumilty was booked for simulation, going down in the box in injury time. Sam Stanton’s header looped over the bar in the closing stages. Unlike August there was to be no grand finale. 

Raith:  MacDonald, Tumilty, Dick, Benedictus, Connolly (Varian, 76 ), Matthews, Gullan (Poplatnick, 71), Lang (Musonda, 22), Stanton, 20 Williamson (Zannatta, 76), Ross; Subs Unused: Thomson, McKay, Arnott, Mitchell, Young, 

Bookings: Tumilty, 90+1

Accies: Hilton, Popescu, Hamilton, MacDonald, Martin (Spence, 53), Ryan © , Mullin, Kennedy (Redfern 73), Mimnaugh, Moyo, O’Reilly; Subs Unused: Fulton, Easton, L Smith, Hughes, Winter, Lawson, Brown

Bookings: Martin 52, Ryan, 71

Referee: Bobby Madden Assistants: Jonathan Bell & Colin Dummond

Attendance: 1196

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