raith 20170812 002

Scorers: Raith Rovers - Vaughan (44 and 64) and Spence (61)

TWO goals from Lewis Vaughan helped Raith Rovers make it four points from a possible six.

After a promising opening 44 minutes from Stranraer, an impressive 20 minute burst from the hosts ensured they were picking up the win.

Unsurprisingly, Stevie Farrell named the same starting lineup that had picked up three points against East Fife last time out. The only change in the squad came with Christopher McGowan missing out through injury and being replaced by Hamish McKinlay.

The hosts were coming into the tie on the back of a 1-1 draw away to Alloa Athletic on the opening day and were looking to get their bid for an immediate return to the Championship up and running.

raith 20170812 009

Raith had a corner in the opening 45 seconds and should have opened the scoring on 12 minutes.

Greig Spence found himself clean through but then pulled his shot from the left across the goal and wide of the upright.

The Blues were lucky to see the scores remain blank eight minutes later when Cameron Belford made a mess of Jason Thomson's cross. The goalkeeper seemed to juggle the ball on the goal line before managing to hold on to the ball under pressure - with referee Mike Roncone blowing for a foul as well.

That is not to say it was one way traffic.

raith 20170812 007

The Blues - and in particular Kyle Turner and Grant Anderson - were enjoying space down the wings but could not quite find the right ball to test the defence.

Then, on the half hour mark, the Blues came within inches of breaking the deadlock. Ryan Wallace's cross into a packed box fell to Turner but he could not quite make a clean contact and Aaron Lennox did well down low to make the save.

raith 20170812 010

Barry Smith's men were finishing the half strongly, and Belford did well to block Scott Robertson's shot with his feet.

Finally, the goal came with just under a minute until the half time whistle.

Stranraer's defence paused for just a split second while looking to see if the referee was going to blow for a foul on Liam Buchanan, and Lewis Vaughan took advantage to roll the ball across Belford.

raith 20170812 006

The Blues had been impressive in the first half but the hosts stepped up a gear after the break.

Kevin McHattie had already had a shot closed down before the game was put to bed just after the hour mark.

The former Hearts man was also involved in the goal as he found Vaughan, who turned provider to flick the ball over the advancing Belford. Spence and Liam Buchanan were unmarked in the box and it was up to Spence to roll the ball into the empty net, despite the desperate efforts of Scott Robertson.

raith 20170812 005

Before Stranraer could steady the ship, the game was killed off with a third goal.

This time, it was Bobby Barr who found himself with acres of space, with questions of offside, and he squared it to Vaughan, who had the easy task of rolling the ball into the empty net.

raith 20170812 004

Raith had chances to extend their lead, with Belford doing well to deny Barr while at the other end Kyle Benedictus did well to hook a Turner effort off the line and Liam Dick blazed a volley off target.

Stranraer had matched their rivals in the first half, but Vaughan's opener was to prove vital and the visitors' failure to take their chances in the first half would come back to haunt them.

Smith's men stepped up a gear after the break and, ultimately, ran out comfortable winners, despite Stranraer coming close on occasion.

raith 20170812 001

Stevie Farrell's squad will now turn their attention towards an IRN-BRU Cup tie away to Clyde on Tuesday night, before the big home clash with Ayr United on Saturday.

Raith Rovers: Lennox, J Thomson, McHattie, Callachan, Murray, Benedictus, Spence, S Robertson (Berry 90), Buchanan (Matthews 73), Vaughan (Opuku-Berchie 90), Barr.
Not used: Court, McKay, Bell and Brian.

Stranraer: Belford, S Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Bell, Hamill (Okoh 70), Anderson (Woods 70), Turner, R Thomson (Agnew 70), Wallace.
Not used: Lang, McKinlay, Stoney and Currie.

Referee: Mike Roncone
Attendance: 1625
HT: 1-0