Report: Raith Rovers 3-1 St Mirren

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By Maryanne Orr at Stark’s Park
A 63rd minute goal from Ryan Hardie wasn’t enough to spark a comeback for St Mirren after they went 3-0 down away to Raith Rovers. A first half goal from Declan McManus was the start of a bad day for the Saints which was only added to by Ross Callachan and a McManus second.
Hardie’s goal spurred on St Mirren but they couldn’t build on it and in the end it proved a consolation.
The match started brightly for the Saints as they had a corner within the first minute. Stephen Mallan was the player to send it in and it found Jason Naismith, whose header was held by Aaron Lennox in the Raith Rovers goal.
St Mirren continued their pressure in the opening exchanges, Jack Baird sending in a free kick which was played to Hardie, The man on loan saw his shot cannon back off a Raith defender and so started the home side’s pressure. Bobby Barr won Raith Rovers a free kick in a dangerous area and it was played into the Saints box. After a bit of head tennis, the ball was eventually cleared.
The ever influential Lewis Morgan got his first chance to make his mark on the game as he flew up the wing and cut the ball back to Lawrence Shankland who in turn cut past two defenders before unleashing his shot. However, Lennox managed to get his fingertips to it and see it out for a corner. While Lennox saved, Calum Gallagher went down and required attention.
Moments later, the deadlock was broken by McManus at the other end of the park. The ball was flicked on by Lewis Vaughan and McManus cut past the defence and lobbed the ball over Jamie Langfield.
Things got more difficult for the visitors as they had to make an early change. The knock Gallagher picked up forced him off and he was replaced by Tom Walsh.
Raith Rovers continued to attack and McManus was the main threat. He came close to his second after half an hour but he dragged his shot wide.
Next was the first penalty claim the Saints had. Mallan looked to be taken out in the box but nothing came of it and in the end captain Andy Webster was shown a yellow card after protesting.
Half-Time: Raith Rovers 1-0 St Mirren
Much like the first half, St Mirren were first to press in the second. Within minutes, they had a free kick. The ball was floated in and Hardie got on the end of it, however, his shot wasn’t strong enough to trouble Lennox.
The free kick was followed by a corner but the set pieces did not pay off as the Rovers countered and scored two in quick concession.
Straight from the Saints corner, Rovers streaked up the park and Ross Callachan doubled the lead. Only a minute later, McManus had his second. A mix up between Langfield and Webster allowed McManus to loop round the keeper and slot the ball into an open goal.
With 40 minutes left of the match, St Mirren searched for a way back into the game and the glimmer of hope came on the 63rd minute. The visitors won a throw in and Lawrence Shankland’s trademark long throw paid off. After several attempts to clear the ball by Raith, Hardie latched on to the end of it and turned it passed Lennox.
The Buddies continued their search for another goal and it looked like the opportunity came when there were claims of a handball in the box but the referee waved them away and play continued.
In the end there wasn’t enough time for St Mirren to bring it back.
Full-Time: Raith Rovers 3-1 St Mirren
Raith Rovers: Lennox, Thomson, McHattie, Callachan, M’voto, Bennedictus, Vaughan (Skacel 71), Barr, Matthews (Roberts 83), McManus (Stewart 78), Thompson.
Subs Not Used: Johnston, Osei, Coustrain, Cuthbert (GK).
St Mirren: Langfield, Naismith (Sutton 55), Webster, Baird, Irvine, Mallan (Clarkson 83), Gallagher (Walsh 23), Hutton, Morgan, Hardie, Shankland.
Subs Not Used: Gordon, O’Keefe, McDonald, Gallacher (GK).
Referee: Kevin Graham.
Assistant Referee: Joseph Lawson.
Assistant Referee: Steven Strang.
Attendance: 2,140 (477 St Mirren fans).
Match report and gallery pictures by John Millar – © John Millar.

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