Extra-time heartache for Loons

Forfar players celebrate their second goal at Raith Rovers.

Forfar players celebrate their second goal at Raith Rovers.

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Two extra time goals saw Forfar Athletic crash out of the Scottish League Cup after a terrific tie at Raith Rovers.

Dick Campbell’s Loons side put in a phenomenal display, looking nothing like the side that were sent flying out of the Petrofac Training Cup by East Fife a week previously, but it wasn’t enough to see off their Championship opponents in Kirkcaldy.

Danny Denholm grabbed a brace for the visitors while Calum Elliot scored a pair of his own for Raith, with a Ryan Conroy strike and a Derek Young own goal helping Grant Murray’s troops into the second round.

Loons gaffer Campbell made three changes to the side beaten by East Fife - Mark Baxter, Omar Kader and the suspended Stuart Malcolm being replaced by Darren Dods, Aaron James and Chris
Templeman.

Forfar went close in the first minute when Gavin Swankie’s lofted ball was chased by Templeman, the striker got his foot to it but keeper Kevin Cuthbert blocked the effort and the ball was cleared.

At the other end Rab Douglas saved from Christian Nade before Elliot fired wide.

Nade had another shot blocked in the eighth minute before Dale Hilson sent a free kick from 25 yards out flying over the bar.

The Loons took a deserved lead 25 minutes into the tie, great work from Gavin Swankie allowing him to thread a ball through the static Raith defence for Denholm to slot home with a delightful finish.

The Kirkcaldy outfit equalised in the 33rd minute, Conroy hitting home from Nade’s pass across the box.

A defensive blunder by Rovers almost allowed Swankie to score just two minutes into the second half; a clearance by Dods was missed by the defenders but Ross Perry did well to recover and block the shot.

Nade headed over in the 50th minute before forcing Douglas into another save four minutes later.

In the 63rd minute the home side were awarded a penalty after Dods’ boot hit Nade in the face as a ball came into the box.

Elliot stepped up and sent Douglas the wrong way to give the hosts the lead.

Campbell responded by making all three substitutions at once with James Dale, Gavin Malin and Kader coming on for Templeman, Stephen Husband and Andrew Steeves as Forfar switched to a 3-4-3.

The move paid off within three minutes when Denholm nodded in at the back post from Malin’s cross.

The game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes so the managers prepared their players for another 30 minutes.

Swankie blasted straight at the keeper before Forfar fell behind for the second time in the 103rd minute.

Nade and Martin Scott exchanged passes, setting up Elliot to volley home from outside the box, Douglas having no chance with the shot.

The Loons should have had a penalty when Kader was bundled over in the box by Nade, referee Brian Colvin waving play on despite the protestations of the visiting contingent.

Denholm had a great chance to potentially take the game to penalties and grab his hat-trick with ten minutes left, another fantastic passing move ending in Malin’s through ball being collected by the winger but he fired across goal.

Raith made sure of the result in the 118th minute, Anderson’s cross unfortunately deflected past Douglas by Young who had tried to block the cross.

Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Perry, Watson, Fox (Vaughan 105), Stewart (Anderson 70), Elliot, Scott, Conroy, McKeown, Nade (Callachan 119). Subs not used: Moon, Ellis, Matthews, Laidlaw.

Forfar Athletic: Douglas, Dunlop, Steeves (Kader 70), Young, Dods, James, Hilson, Husband (Malin 70), Templeman (Dale 70), Swankie, Denholm. Subs not used: Smith, Keiller, McLellan, Salmon.