'Well held by Raith at Stark's Park
Report of match Reporter Firparkcorner
Motherwell disappointed again in drawing 1-1 against Raith Rovers at Kirkcaldy. A decent travelling support watched the team labour into the lead in the second half but the hosts fought back to secure a deserved draw.
The match started with Motherwell looking out of sorts again and Raith dominated the early exchanges. They did struggle to make clear chances though and a powerful free kick being turned over the bar was the closest they came to scoring.
Higdon sent this header well wide
Motherwell came into things after quarter of an hour and the Raith goal would lead a charmed life. Hetherington, released by a wonderful pass from Lasley, crossed for Watt to force a save before Hetherington himself then had a powerful shot deflected for a corner. From the set piece Higdon had a good header tipped over and suddenly we looked like an SPL team! We controlled the rest of the half, Higdon hitting the post with a comical deflection, but Raith would reach half time with the scores level.
After the break our momentum was lost but we did eventually find the net. A corner was not cleared by the ‘keeper and from a tight angle Higdon flicked inside to give Murphy a simple tap in – the celebration for a relatively minor goal in a meaningless friendly suggested the players are feeling a weight of expectation.
A passing train distracts one fan
But rather than bringing us confidence, this goal just encouraged Raith to flow forward. Randolph beat away a good shot before he twice had defenders to thank for making saving blocks in an almighty scramble. The deserved equaliser arrived when Clark powered home a header from a deep cross and the hosts almost left us red-faced by nicking a last minute winner. Clark had acres of space in the box and eventually struck the bar when he had the game to win on his foot.
We escaped with a draw in the end and Stuart McCall will have had a lot to mull over on the way home. There was plenty of sloppy play with Hammell and Lasley at times guilty of uncharacteristic errors and Saunders – though defensively fine – woefully uncomfortable at full back. Page frequently looks shaky while having moments of inspiration, Ramsden adds a bit more than the chance for fish and chip puns and youngsters Watt and Hetherington can surely expect chances throughout the season given our squad size. Pre-season friendly games should improve fitness, sharpness and teach lessons – this one did all three so regardless of a poor final result, this trip was certainly a worthwhile exercise.
Team: Randolph; Saunders, Ramsden, Page, Hammell; Murphy, Lasley, Hetherington, Watt (Murray 60); Erwin (Moore 60), Higdon