Dundee 2
Raith Rovers 2 (3-4 on pens)
Challenge Cup (Semi-Final)

2 - 2
(3-4 on pens.)
Raith Rovers 

Challenge Cup (Semi-Final)
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Kilmac Stadium
Attendance: 2,948
7:45 PM Kick-off

Lyall Cameron (5)
Lyall Cameron (28)
William Akio (77)
Sam Stanton (82)

Team Managers
Gary Bowyer
Ian Murray

Starting Eleven
30. Harrison Sharp
14. Lee Ashcroft
2. Cammy Kerr
6. Jordan McGhee
5. Ryan Sweeney
25. Lyall Cameron
34. Barry Maguire
7. Alex Jakubiak
17. Luke McCowan
18. Paul McMullan
9. Kwame Thomas
Robbie Thomson .17
Ross Millen .4
Ryan Nolan .5
Liam Dick .3
Brad Spencer .6
Scott Brown .20
Adam Masson .30
Kieran Ngwenya .15
Sam Stanton .16
Connor McBride .11
William Akio .18

1. Adam Legzdins
24. Max Anderson
8. Shaun Byrne
15. Josh Mulligan
19. Finlay Robertson
22. Ben Williamson
16. Zach Robinson
23. Cillian Sheridan
37. Lorent Tolaj
Jamie MacDonald .1
Dylan Easton .23
Aidan Connolly .7

Zach Robinson for Alex Jakubiak (46)
Josh Mulligan for Lee Ashcroft (66)
Cillian Sheridan for Kwame Thomas (66)
Lorent Tolaj for Paul McMullan (72)
Ben Williamson for Lyall Cameron (86)
Max Anderson for Cillian Sheridan (90)
Aidan Connolly for Adam Masson (36)
Dylan Easton for Scott Brown (69)

None. Ryan Nolan (86)
Dylan Easton (88)
Robbie Thomson (113)
Liam Dick (114)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Colin Steven (Referee)
Gordon Crawford & Chris Rae (Assistants)
Peter Stuart (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dundee threw away a great opportunity to reach the final of the SPFL Trust Trophy when they lost on penalties to Raith Rovers after a 2-2 draw. The Dark Blues pummeled Rovers in a first half during which Lyall Cameron scored twice. There should have been more goals as Dundee wasted some great chances. Raith fought back after half time, and late goals in quick succession by William Akio and Sam Stanton took the tie to extra time. Dundee continued to miss their chances and were punished when Rovers won the penalty shoot-out 4-3.

The Dee’s starting line-up had four changes from Saturday’s draw at Hamilton. Harrison Sharp, Lyall Cameron, Paul McMullan and Alex Jakubiak came in for Adam Legzdins, Josh Mulligan and Ben Williamson, who were all on the bench, and Sam Fisher, who was cup tied.

Dundee took charge from the start and almost scored after three minutes when Jordan McGhee volleyed over from a corner. They had to wait only one more minute for the opening goal.

Paul McMullan darted clear of Rovers’ defence on the right and passed across the penalty area for Lyall CAMERON to whack a low shot into the net from 10 yards.

Cameron was highly effective in a deeper midfield role, taking the ball in his own half and making good passes to set up attacks. The youngster might have had a second goal but his shot was blocked as the Dark Blues threatened to score with every attack.

Rovers’ keeper Robbie Thomson saved from Kwame Thomas. The big striker then did well to turn his marker, but shot wide.

The second goal came after 28 minutes at the end of a beautiful passing move down the left. Cameron started, and play flow smoothly through McCowan, Jakubiak, McMullan, McCowan again before Cameron took a touch and scored with a low cross shot from six yards.

The Dark Blues should have clinched their place in the final during the next 10 minutes when they battered Rovers only to miss glorious chances.

Another good move down the left ended with McCowan crossing and McGhee volleying past the poste. Following a short corner Cameron’s shot was blocked. He fired the ball back across goal, and from a yard out Jakubiiak scooped the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.

McCowan smashed a shot against the crossbar after good play by McMullan and Jakubiak.

A crucial turning point in the game came when Rovers sent on Aidan Connolly and switched to a back four. It almost brought an immediate reward. Connolly’s cross to the far post seemed sure to bring a goal but Sharp pulled off a fantastic reflex save to turn Millen’s header wide.

A welcome sight for the home support was the arrival of Zach Robinson who came on for Alex Jakubiak at half time.

Rovers were a far tougher prospect after the restart. The Dee were too open in midfield when Stanton charged through but Connolly shot weakly into Sharp’s arms.

Dundee resumed control, doing most of the attacking but without the conviction of the first half. Cameron took a pass from Thomas and screwed his shot wide and McGhee missed narrowly at the end of a scramble following a corner.

Midway through the second half Dundee were forced to reorganise the defence when Lee Ashcroft went off. Josh Mulligan came on to play at right back and Jordan McGhee moved to central defence. Cillian Sheridan also came on for Kwame Thomas.

Dundee continued to look good until they reached the final third where they could never finish off promising approach play.

The Dark Blues carelessness in front of goal was punished when Rovers ran into two soft goals in five minutes. A corner was headed to and fro in the goalmouth before William AKIO nodded home from close range.

Rovers were level after 82 minutes when Dundee switched off at a throw in. Dylan Easton crossed for Sam STANTON to score with a diving header at the near post.

Sharp did well to save from Akio at point blank range, and then to parry the follow up from Stanton.

At the other end Dundee twice went close in the last few minutes following errors by keeper Thomson. He dropped a high cross, but recovered to save from Robinson. He spilled the next high ball, but he saved from Williamson.

The Dark Blues lost Cillian Sheridan to a bad injury in added time. He was stretchered off and replaced by Max Anderson once the Dee were permitted to make a sixth substitution at the start of injury time.

At the start of extra time a mazy run by Connolly had the Dee defence in a tangle, but Easton fired well over the bar from 18 yards.

Dundee then took the game to Raith but again missed their chances when they were dominating. Tolaj’s beautiful crossfield pass sent McCowan runing clear, only to send his shot inches past the post. A minute later McCowan shot wide from after skipping past a defender and into the penalty area. Tolaj headed over, and Anderson’s low ball across goal found no takers. Tolaj and Kerr both tried shots from the edge of the area, but both were off target.

If the first period of extra time was frustrating the second was no better. Again Dundee could not turn some promising approach play into shooting opportunities. Rovers might have been tiring, but Dundee could not find the right passes or crosses to open up the defence.

The penalty shoot-out was in front of the Dee support in the Bobby Cox Stand. Rovers went first and scored their first two, from Spencer and Akio. Dundee also scored through McGhee and Williamson. The Dark Blues seemed to have secured a crucial advantage when Sharp saved from Connolly and Tolaj converted. However, Anderson then Robinson missed the last two penalties. Millen and Easton both scored, and Rovers won 4-3.

Rovers deserve credit for saving a game that was slipping rapidly out of their reach. They hung on, and kept fighting even though they had a weakened side with only three substitutes named. However, it is astonishing that the Dark Blues managed to throw this cup tie away after a first half in which Rovers must have been thankful to be only two goals adrift. Dundee should have been out of Raith’s reach long before the visitors started to play, and only have themselves to blame for losing this semi-final.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at February 8th, 2023)

2022-23 All Time
Harrison Sharp (GK)21 14 - 22 -
Lee Ashcroft29 2818310
Cammy Kerr27 3342558
Jordan McGhee26 26211910
Ryan Sweeney25 303686
Lyall Cameron20 247287
Barry Maguire24 3 - 3 -
Alex Jakubiak26 175326
Luke McCowan25 2776312
Paul McMullan26 3379710
Kwame Thomas27 5 - 5 -
Josh Mulligan (sub)20 282455
Ben Williamson (sub)21 221221
Max Anderson (sub)21 223898
Zach Robinson (sub)20 208208
Cillian Sheridan (sub)33 151261
Lorent Tolaj (sub)21 2 - 2 -

League Table (as at February 8th, 2023)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Queen's Park 23 13 4 6 +16 43
2. Ayr Utd 23 11 6 6 +15 39
3. Dundee 22 11 6 5 +11 39
4. Partick 23 10 3 10 +4 33
5. Raith Rovers 24 9 6 9 0 33
6. Inverness CT 23 8 8 7 +2 32
7. Morton 22 8 7 7 +5 31
8. Cove Rangers 23 6 7 10 -16 25
9. Arbroath 24 4 9 11 -16 21
10. Hamilton 23 4 6 13 -21 18