For a game that had so many plus points for Dunfermline, they had to content themselves with only one in the end and ironically they ended up dropping another place down the Championship ladder. This was only the Pars’ second clean sheet of the season, but at the other end their normally prolific attack dried up as well, as this second Fife derby of the season ended in stalemate. Raith took 45 minutes to turn the ignition key and in the end were probably the happier with the outcome.
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnson had grounds for claiming his side should have taken all three points on the basis of a greater number of chances created over the piece, but credited their local rivals for digging deep when they were under pressure.
“They hung in there and made it really difficult,” he said. “But it gives us a platform to build on. There’s a long way to go and if we show that desire and workrate we’ll not be far away. I think you could see that from our fans’ reaction at the end – they really appreciated the effort the lads put in.”
After an opening 20 minutes or so which could be best described as pinball, such was the frenetic and random flow of the proceedings, the hosts began to assert themselves in a fashion that led to some goalmouth action. There may have been a paucity of clear-cut chances but two gilt-edged ones came the way of Farid El Alagui. Had he been on top of his game he would surely have stuck one them away, particularly a one on one with Kevin Cuthbert after being put through by Joe Cardle, but alas the Moroccan striker just didn’t get his angles right and allowed the visitors’ keeper to smother his effort.
Raith, who had been in decent form going into this game with seven points out of a possible nine from their last three matches, were something of a disappointment in the opening half.
They couldn’t really do anything but improve after the break and so it proved as they at last started to carry some goal threat themselves. Iain Davidson smashed a great opportunity over the bar just minutes after the restart and then Chris Johnston was denied by a last-ditch block with the goal at his mercy. Most notably of all though, Ross Callaghan should have done better when home goalkeeper Sean Murdoch misjudged a through-ball.
It was far from being a complete reversal of the first half however, as Dunfermline still carried a degree of menace, particularly when the industrious Kallum Higginbotham got a hold of the ball down the right flank.
Quite how Davidson managed to defy momentum to head clear a cross from almost under the crossbar while facing his own goal was mind boggling, while Nicky Clark and Cardle were added to the list of home players who just didn’t apply enough power to their finishes to find the net.
Raith manager Gary Locke was understandably pleased with his side’s resilience. “That’s how we’ve been this last month. To come to places like this and get a point you have to battle. At times it was 100 miles an hour and it certainly wasn’t a boring 0-0 – both teams had chances and a draw was a fair result.”