Stenhousemuir sickener as Raith Rovers steal point in injury-time

Stenny players were gutted at full-time after throwing away two points. Pic: Alan Murray
Stenny players were gutted at full-time after throwing away two points. Pic: Alan Murray

Stenhousemuir 1 Raith Rovers 1

Stenhousemuir lost two crucial points in the battle to avoid relegation after conceding an injury-time equaliser to Raith Rovers.

It was a sickener for the Ochilview men as they effectively gifted the visitors a point with a defensive mishap which allowed Liam Buchanan to cancel out Mark McGuigan's 58th minute opener.

It was cruel on the home side who lived up to their Warriors nickname, showing all the attributes you would expect from a team fighting for survival at the foot of the table - aggression, hunger, desire - and for the most part, Rovers were unable to match them.

Stenny looked a more capable outfit than their last place position would suggest - over the last six games they are fifth in the form table - and the performance against a full-time outfit should give inspiration that the great escape can still be completed.

Live blog: Stenhousemuir 1 Raith Rovers 1: As it happened
Rovers scored during an extended period of injury-time after the second half was held up for several minutes for an injury to goalkeeper Robbie Thomson, who left the pitch in agony on a stretcher after collapsing with no-one near him.

It was no surprise to see Stenny stick with the same starting XI that claimed a 2-1 win at Dumbarton the previous week, and the home side were unfortunate not to take the lead during an opening half hour where they made all the running, won all the second balls, and created the best chances.

Greg Hurst and McGuigan were proving handful up front, while the midfield support was plentiful.

Hurst shot narrowly wide after just three minutes and Russell Dingwall had a clear sight of goal on the 10 minute mark but blazed over.

The pressure was building and Stenny would have led on 23 minutes but for a terrific point-blank save from Thomson, who made himself big to deny Hurst, with Grant Gillespie completing the clearance off the line.

Having been on the back foot, Rovers came more into the game towards half-time leading to their best chance on 38 minutes as Nathan Flanagan sprinted clear only for Graeme Smith to make a smart save at his near post.

Stenny were less of a threat after the break, but the goal their first half play deserved arrived on 58 minutes when they caught the Raith centre-halves out of position, Hurst and McGuigan exchanging headers to put the latter through on goal and he slotted the ball beyond Thomson for his 16th of the season.

Dingwall then forced the Raith keeper into a good save with a drive from outside the box, before the away side started to push for a leveller, Kevin Nisbet volleying wide after finding space at the edge of the area, then Morgyn Neill nodding a Euan Murray header off the line.

Going into the closing stages the Rovers pressure was nowhere near intense enough to suggest an equaliser was on the cards, but in the end, the chance was created for them as Neill sliced a clearance over the head of his own goalkeeper, and although Smith back-pedalled to palm the ball out, Buchanan reacted sharply to smash it into the net.

That was in the 93rd minute but the game would continue for another five minutes before the referee blew for full-time, with neither side looking particularly pleased with the outcome as they left the field, but for different reasons.

In the circumstances it was certainly a better point for Raith, but four more performances like this might just be enough to keep Stenny up.