Raith Rovers 0 Hamilton 0: Accies ends Kirkcaldy deadlock

Raith Rovers and Hamilton drew 0-0 in the championship at Stark’s Park when defenses prevailed.

David Moyo squandered a great opportunity from Accies towards the end of the first half as they created the clearest chances on a blustery Kirkcaldy afternoon.

Goalkeeper Joe Hilton made a fine save early in the second half to preserve a clean sheet for Hamilton before Mihai Popescu squandered a great chance at the other end.

The away team was without head coach Stuart Taylor for the game, who was placed in self-isolation before kickoff, with assistant John Rankin in charge.

Taylor’s side are sixth in the Championship, while Raith is fourth.

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Hamilton made two changes from the side that drew with Ayr United last time out in Championship action, Ronan Hughes leaving the XI, along with Lewis Smith. Scott Martin and Andy Ryan entered.

His trip to Kirkcaldy came out of a week of turmoil in Raith. After booking David Goodwillie of Clyde, who was found to have raped a woman in a civil court ruling in 2017, the fury was unleashed.

The club were condemned for their decision to sign him and for doubling down on their stance, before finally announcing that Goodwillie would not play for the club before this match.

It set a subdued atmosphere at Stark’s Park, but home team fans applauded their players who finally had a game of football to focus on.

They started brighter, although there were hardly any attacking chances in the first 20 minutes. In the seventh minute, Accies striker Moyo was shot in the face from an Aidan Connolly free-kick.

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Then Dan O’Reilly had to avoid danger when Rovers pressed again a minute later. But that’s all they created, despite having much of the possession.

Accies, on the other hand, were more determined in their attacking game and had three good chances in the space of three minutes frustrated by local goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Josh Mullin showed good feet in the 20 minutes to put together a shot on goal, which was well deflected with the palm of his hand. Then a Reegan Mimnaugh corner two minutes later led to a Jamie Hamilton effort, and Moyo was unable to convert the rebound as MacDonald stood tall.

Kai Kennedy then created another chance for Hamilton in the 29th minute, but it ultimately came to nothing. However, Rovers showed their attacking ability in the 32nd minute when Ethan Ross got up to speed before his final product was missing.

Moyo missed an even bigger chance in the 35th minute, his free header from five yards off a Mullin corner kick going to the ground and wide.

Connolly almost did it in the 40th minute with a shot from inside the box but it was eventually blocked and the danger cleared. Ross would come close again before the interval and his effort in the 43rd minute went high and cleared the post.

Hamilton would have Hilton to thank for not being 1-0 up Raith in the 48th minute. A cross from the right was deflected and brilliantly saved by the Blackburn loanee at close range.

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The second half had taken on a similar look to the previous 45 minutes: back and forth, but mostly rudimentary in nature. Neither side had a foothold in the game.

There were deep passes and forays into the opponent’s box, but nothing of substance came of it, despite O’Reilly’s best efforts with a header from Hamilton in the 64th minute.

However, Popescu should have scored for Taylor’s men in the 65th minute in a chance similar to the one Moyo missed. It was a free header over the crossbar from five meters.

Ryan then blew another Hamilton chance in the 72nd minute and his cross to Marley Redfern in the 76th minute was too high after a hot run.

Sam Stanton missed Rovers’ final chance with two minutes remaining before team-mate Reghan Tumility was booked for diving for a penalty as the clock ticked down to 90 minutes.

Raith Rovers XI: MacDonald; Tumilty, Dick, Benedictus, Connolly (75, Varian), Matthews, Gullan (Poplatnik, 70) Lang (Musonda, 22) Stanton, Williamson (Zanatta, 75), Ross.

Alternates: Thomson, McKay, Arnott, Mitchell, Young.

Reserved: BenĂ­dico.

Hamilton XI: Hilton; Popescu, Hamilton, MacDonald, Martin (Spence, 53) Ryan, Mullin, Kennedy (72, Redfern), Mimnaugh, Moyo, O’Reilly.

Alternates: Fulton, Easton, Smith, Hughes, Winter, Lawson, Brown.

Reserved: Martin, Mullin.

Attendance: 1196

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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