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Stark’s Park, Kirkcaldy (iii)

Yes, I know I’ve done this one twice before but on Saturday last we Sons fans had a new angle on the ground from the Railway Stand:-

Main and South Stands:-

The North Stand – named for local author and avid Rover Val McDermid. (It takes all sorts I suppose):-

Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy (i)

I’ve not done one of these for a while – and I’ve just realised I haven’t included East End Park, Dunfermline, in this series yet.

Stark’s Park, the home of Raith Rovers FC, is of course the Scottish Football Ground nearest to where I live. Since I started blogging though the Sons have only played there twice (and the last time, Oct 2012, I was between cameras.)

This is from the lower end of Pratt Street. From this angle you can’t see how unusual the older stand is.

Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy

This is from the upper end, nearer to my house. The McDermid Stand is nearest in this view. The bit further away, to the left, is the peculiar corner stand.

Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy, from Pratt Street

And this is the away stand, the McDermid Stand, from Pratt Street, showing how close the road is to the ground.

Stark' s Park, McDermid Stand

Raith Rovers 2-2 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, Stark’s Park, 6/10/12.

Football. Bloody Hell!

I was at this one. (Stark’s Park is only a couple of hundred yards from my house.)

I really don’t know where to start.

My son and I approached the ground with some trepidation; after all we’d managed to secure only one point from seven games so far and the Rovers had drawn with the league leaders last week.

We were terribly open in the first half, leaving acres of space for Rovers to exploit a lot down the left hand side. Those critics of James Creaney – who sat this one out on the bench – should maybe think on. Mostly we seemed to be playing 4-5-1 with midfielders coming through to attempt to support Jim Lister when we punted it up to him. On this point it is almost useless to aim at his head; it needs to be his chest, folks. Our play betrayed an unsurprising lack of confidence; overplayed passes, poor first touches, tentative tackles abounded. Rovers seemed able to run through us at will. The transition from our possesion to theirs always seemed to lead to a backs to the wall challenge which we mainly survived. In fact their goal when it came was out of almost nothing but Jamie Ewings – presumably put in to give Stephen Grindlay a rest from picking the ball out of the net so often – might have made a better fist of saving it. Nevertheless he commanded his box well.

We had a couple of efforts on goal. I think it was Phil Johnston that made their keeper make a save and one Scott Agnew effort was almost diverted into goal by Garry Fleming.

Still at half time I had resigned myself to a defeat.

Early in the second half Jamie Ewings made two very good saves to keep us in it. Then a Raith player overstretched in midfield and a good challenge in midfield broke to Jim Lister for him to move in on goal. This is the sort of one-on-one Dumbarton strikers don’t usually convert but “Blister” did. Cue much rejoicing in the Val McDermid Stand.

What a difference a goal makes. Suddenly we were getting the break of the ball, or forcing the break, and starting to take the game to the Rovers.

We didn’t dominate completely as they had a few efforts but weren’t composed enough to punish us. Their second when it arrived was against the run of play. Our defending of the corner was poor, though. Two uncontested headers in the box is shocking.

Kudos to Alan Adamson, though. He brought on striker Brian Prunty and took off central defender Martin McNiff.

Raith then made the mistake of letting us have the ball and we started to use it. We had several half chances and one that looked great when Phil Johnston’s pace and trickery at last had an end product but Blister’s header went wide.

We also had more penetration when Mark Gilhaney came on for Mark Lamont who is too easily brushed off the ball at this level.

There were a few hairy moments at our end as we were pushing up and leaving lots of space but we persevered and a great ball in to Brian Prunty saw him poke it past the keeper. Ecstasy in the Val McDermid Stand.

Still Raith could have won it as they had a one-on-one but Jamie Ewings stood tall and deflected the ball past the post with his foot.

Great mutual acclamation from the fans and players at the final whistle. We’ve doubled our points tally! (Mind you at this rate we’ll end the season on a total of 9 points.)

It says something (I’m not quite sure what) that the match sponsors gave the Man of the Match to their goalkeeper.

The lads should take confidence from this. Twice we came from behind.

We also looked more threatening when we only had three at the back. Something for the manager to ponder there, perhaps. I suspect he’ll go with five in midfield and one up front again next time though.

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