Match Report - By Steven Mew
City’s second group stage fixture of the Premier Sports Cup saw them go down to Raith Rovers at Starks Park yesterday evening.
It was a game in which City held their own in the first half, before the Championship side flexed their muscles in the second period to record a comfortable win.
City Manager Andy Kirk made one change from the side that played Livingston at the weekend, with Jack Milne coming straight into the starting 11, having signed for the Club less than 24 hours prior. He came in at the expense of Rory Currie who dropped to the bench.
The hosts started brightly with the first opportunity arriving after 9 minutes. A cross into the box was headed out only as far as Dylan Tait who attempted a looping volley which was comfortably gathered by Wills.
At the other end, David Cox swung a free kick into the box which was glanced wide of the post by Kieran Inglis.
Rovers had the lions share of possession and started to stretch a well organised City defence. Shortly before the half hour mark, Brad Spencer lashed a shot wide from the edge of the box after some sustained pressure.
A couple of minutes later City won possession in midfield before new loan signing Jack Milne laid the ball off for Kieran Inglis who fired wide of the near post.
The game really started to open up at this stage with Jack Wills called into action – the young keeper made an excellent save to push away a stinging effort from Lewis Vaughan.
The home side kept plugging away in search of the opening goal and they got their just deserts a couple of minutes before the break. A breakdown in communication saw Jack Wills and Garry Wood challenge for the same ball which fell kindly for LEWIS VAUGHAN who drilled low into the far corner.
Manager Andy Kirk made one change at the break with Marc Scott replacing Gregor Jordan. Scott took little time to get into the thick of the action as made his way into the box before seeing his low strike pushed away by MacDonald at his near post.
Any lingering hopes City had of grabbing an equaliser on the break were dashed shortly after the hour mark when Rovers doubled their advantage. A deep cross from the right hand side side was nodded into the far corner by BRAD SPENCER.
Debutant Jack Milne was replaced by Rory Currie after 63 minutes, and barely 60 seconds later the game was put beyond doubt as the home side added a third goal. The impressive DARIO ZANATTA skipped past two challenges outside the box before letting fly from 25 yards out – his strike took a wicked deflection on its way into the net.
City evidently began to tire in the final 20 minutes as the home side looked to put further gloss on the result. On 72 minutes, Jack Wills did supremely well to tip an effort round the post from substitute James Keatings.
City made their final substitution as Evan Galasso came on for the tireless David Cox, before Rovers rounded off the scoring six minutes from time.
A low cross from the right hand side found BRAD SPENCER on the edge of the box and he made no mistake, lashing a shot high into the net for his second of the evening.
John McGlynn’s side continued to push in the closing stages with Keating unlucky to see his deft chip come off the top of the crossbar, before Wills made a good save to deny Zanatta with his feet.
Following consecutive matches against Premiership and Championship opposition, City will now travel to face League 2 Cowdenbeath in the next group stage match of the Premier Sports Cup on Saturday. The game will undoubtedly provide City supporters with a more accurate gauge of how the squad is shaping up ahead of the upcoming Highland League campaign.