Arbroath 0 – 4 Raith Rovers – Match Report
Pre-season friendly – Saturday 9th July 2016
There has already been a plethora of sport this summer with Euro 2016, Wimbledon and with the Olympics to come we have been spoilt, but the real summer sporting event starts next Friday when Arbroath kick off with their first competitive game against Ray McKinnon’s Dundee United.
However Arbroath’s final pre-season friendly stood in the way first, and it was McKinnon’s old team Raith Rovers who visited Gayfield on a sunny yet very muggy Saturday afternoon. Gary Locke was now at the helm for the Kirkcaldy side who had reached the Premiership Play Offs back in May.
Dick Campbell named a strong line up, with only one trialist in the starting 11.
Mutch in goal, Thomson at right back, Gary Phillips making his 3rd trialist appearance at left back with Little and Hamilton and the central pairing. Kader, Whatley, McCord and Linn started in midfield and Bryan Prunty made his debut for the Lichties with Steven Doris who had recovered from a knock suffered against Turriff United.
Arbroath all in maroon attacked towards the Harbour in the opening half with the Rovers in a combination of Navy Blue and White. There is always a bit of a giveaway when a team from a higher league forms the opposition as out goes the standard shirt numbers of 1 through 11, and instead the towering defender is number 55 and the keeper wears the number 17 shirt!
The striking partnership of Doris and Prunty caught the imagination of the Arbroath fans when both signings were announced in early June and the two players combined well in the opening exchanges and created Arbroath’s first half chance.
Prunty was alert and caught a sloppy pass from Trialist #16 and found Doris who ran at goal, but despite looking like he was about to shoot, Doris was unselfish and played a blind pass across the box aimed for Prunty, but the Raith defence had recovered and intercepted.
The strikers combined again minutes later when this time Doris sent Prunty free into space who swooped a cross into the box but again the Raith defence were alert and cleared for a corner.
Raith Rovers who were unbeaten in their pre-season were full of pace and after winning possession from Arbroath’s corner kick surged down field with Bobby Barr on the ball who found Trialist #18 who flashed a cross past Arbroath’s goal but fortunately was too quick for Vaughn who was running in at the back post.
The Lichties were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute when a looping corner from Ryan McCord was flicked up by Hamilton where it struck the hand of Ross Callachan. Despite everyone in the ground witnessing it, referee Craig Charleston missed it.
As fate would have it, Callachan then turned provider at the other end as he played in Lewis Vaughn with a clever ball who made no mistake as he slotted across goal beating Mutch as the ball landed inside the net of the far post.
Arbroath came back and Bobby Linn came close when his half volley across goal was touched out for a corner kick. It was from the second corner kick that resulted in Rovers doubling their lead.
Steven Doris was robbed by two defenders as the ball broke to him at the back post with Raith quick to play the ball out where Bobby Barr picked up. He ran at pace up the wing chased by Kader and as he cut inside towards goal he bundled over under pressure from Kader just outside the 18 yard box.
Lewis Vaughn and Kevin McHattie stood over the ball, with Vaughn looking like he would aim for the far corner, but McHattie instead struck the ball round the outside of the Arbroath wall and beat Mutch at his near post.
Another attack by Rovers just before half time was well worked by the two trialists as they beat the offside trap but despite #16 firing at goal, Mutch stood tall and made a great save at his near post.
Half Time – Arbroath 0 – 2 Raith Rovers
Arbroath introduced Canadian trialist goalkeeper Ricky Gomes at halftime alongside Michael Dunlop and Craig Wilson for Robbie Mutch, Josh Thomson and Gary Phillips with David Bates coming on for Craig Barr for Raith Rovers.
Unfortunately Raith Rovers scored their 3rd goal inside the opening minute of the second half. A series of sharp passes after good play by Bobby Barr swept past the new defensive line up to set up trialist #18 who was put through on goal with time to pick his spot as Gomes’s first touch was to pick the ball out of the net.
Canadian Gomes who has spent most of his career playing in Portugal and Spain soon started to show his skills as Raith Rovers started to dominate. A surging run forward by Callachan found trialist #16 who fired at goal on the angle with Gomes tipping the shot over for a corner kick.
The Lichties didn’t give up and a fine back heel by Linn took out two Rovers defenders but Hamilton’s cross was smothered by Lennox.
Bobby Barr was again provider after beating two defenders found trialist #18 but his close range shot was right into the gloves of Gomes, and the keeper did well minutes later when he read the play and came out to block a shot on the angle.
Arbroath made another three substitutes on the hour mark when Gavin Malin made his Arbroath debut alongside side David Gold and and trialist Liam Callaghan, who was formerly with Cowdenbeath and scored against the Lichties last season in the cup at Gayfield. The trio replaced Kader, McCord and Prunty with Linn moving up front as Callaghan slotted into the left side of midfield.
Bobby Linn created space after a clever turn in the box from a short corner but as the ball fell at the back post Michael Dunlop couldn’t keep his strike down and it blazed over the bar, and from almost the same position just a few minutes later Linn himself had a chance but again the strike was over the bar.
One final change was to come in the 73rd minute when returning trialist Danny Cavanagh came on for Steven Doris.
However Raith Rovers were soon to add to their tally. The combination of Barr and Vaughn once again combined and substitute trialist #8 was allowed to roam into space where Vaughn picked him out and he made no mistake and slotted the balls through the legs of Gomes.
Arbroath created a chance as David Gold picked up in the middle of the pitch, as he ran towards goal there was no clear pass and as 4 defenders closed in he improvised with quick feet and lobbed the ball over Lennox but his skilful effort just was on the wrong side of the post.
In the final minute a volley from outside the box by Malin sailed past the post.
Full Time – Arbroath 0 – 4 Raith Rovers
It was a tough match for the Lichties who competed well for the first 40 minutes but the fitness and passing of a high performance and skilled Championship side were just too much for the Lichties.
There were definitely lots of positives to take, and especially the performances of some of the new additions and how quickly they have an understanding with their new team mates.
C’mon the Lichties!
1 – Robbie Mutch – (Gomes 45)
2 – Josh Thomson – (Wilson 45)
3 – Gary Phillips (T) – (Dunlop 45)
4 – Ricky Little
5 – Colin Hamilton
6 – Mark Whatley (c)
7 – Omar Kader (Gold 61)
8 – Ryan McCord (Malin 61)
9 – Steven Doris (Cavanagh 73)
10 – Bryan Prunty (Callaghan 61)
11 – Bobby Linn
12 – Michael Dunlop
14 – Craig Wilson
15 – Gavin Malin
16 – Danny Cavanagh (T)
17 – Liam Callaghan (T)
18 – David Gold
21 – Ricky Gomes (GK) (T)
17 – Arron Lennox
2 – Jason Thomson (c)
3 – Kevin McHattie (McKay 79)
4 – Ross Callachan (Berry 83)
6 – Kyle Benedictus (Court 69)
10 – Lewis Vaughan
11 – Bobby Barr
12 – Ross Matthews
55 – Craig Barr (Bates 45)
16 – Trialist #16 (Trialist #5 69)
18 – Trialist #18 (Trialist #8 72)
22 – David Bates
26 – Jonny Court
27 – James Berry
29 – Dave McKay
5 – Trialist #5
8 – Trialist #8
1 – Kevin Cuthbert (GK)
Goals – Vaughn 33, McHattie 36, Trialist (#18) 46, Trialist (#8) 82
Referee – Craig Charleston
Assistant 1 – Scott Leslie
Assistant 2 – Dan McFarlane