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Raith Rovers v Dundee verdict: Player ratings, star man and key moments as the Dee take the points

Dundee celebrate Josh Mulligan's strike at Raith Rovers.
Dundee celebrate Josh Mulligan's strike at Raith Rovers.

An early Josh Mulligan strike earned Dundee a hard-fought three points on the road at Raith Rovers.

The youngster’s 13th-minute finish saw a first Championship victory for new boss Gary Bowyer in a very watchable contest.

Rovers boss Ian Murray, meanwhile, now has back-to-back league defeats to start his tenure at Stark’s Park.

How the match went

A youthful Dundee side came out of the traps full of energy, chasing down the home defence at every opportunity.

And it was one of their young guns who opened the scoring after 13 minutes, turning in a Jordan Marshall cross for a first goal of the season.

Rovers responded but were denied an equaliser by some superb goalkeeping from Harry Sharp, saving from Sam Stanton twice.

Mulligan (No 15) turns home the opening goal.

The second period saw Raith come out strong but a break-away saw Dundee go inches away from 2-0 as Zak Rudden struck the post.

Seconds later Rovers missed a huge chance as Dee goalie Sharp slipped on the ball giving Ethan Ross the opportunity but he put the effort wide.

Both sides would have chances to add to Mulligan’s single strike but goalkeepers Sharp and Jamie MacDonald came up with big saves to leave the score at 1-0 to the visitors.

Key moments

Within 60 second-half seconds both sides should have scored.

After weathering pressure from the hosts at the start of the half, Dundee were away on the break.

Ryan Sweeney battles with Jamie Gullan.

Three-on-two, Josh Mulligan had options but chose to cut inside and shoot – much to the anger of Paul McGowan at the back post – but saw his shot saved by Jamie MacDonald.

The rebound fell for Rudden but the Scotland U/21 man hit the outside of the post. That could have settled matters.

Straight up the other end and a seemingly simple bit of possession for Dundee turned into Rovers’ best chance of the game.

Dark Blues keeper Sharp took a touch inside his six-yard box but then slipped with Ross bearing down on him.

The midfielder, though, chipped his shot just wide under pressure.

Star man: Josh Mulligan

Josh Mulligan takes on Raith Rovers.

This was a tightly-contested game in the end decided by fine margins.

And that fine margin was Dundee’s highly-rated youngster Mulligan’s finish early in the first half.

His relentless running was a key part of the Dark Blues gameplan and versatility saw him used all across the midfield.

And he could have made it more comfortable in the second half but for the final touch.

Player ratings

Raith: MacDonald 6, Dick 6, Millen 6 (Coulson 90), Nolan 6 (Zanatta 83), Connolly 7, Gullan 6, O’Riordan 6, Ngwenya 5 (Easton 46, 6), Stanton 7 (Connell 68, 5), Brown 6, Ross 6.

Dundee: Sharp 8, Kerr 6, Sweeney 6, French 7, Marshall 7, Byrne 6 (McGowan 57, 6), Mulligan 8, Anderson 6 (Ashcroft 82), McMullan 6, Jakubiak 5 (McCowan 38, 6) Rudden 6 (Robinson 82).

Attendance: 3,222

Managers under the microscope

After a disappointing start to the league campaign last week, all eyes of a sizeable travelling support were on what Gary Bowyer would do in response.

The response was to go with the team that started the second half against Partick Thistle with Zak Rudden starting as well as Alex Jakubiak.

Dundee boss Gary Bowyer gives instruction at Stark’s Park.

He did, though, tweak his usual system with Jakubiak and Paul McMullan pushed right up to support Rudden through the middle in a 4-3-3 set-up.

Those plans didn’t last too long, however, as Jakubiak limped off before half-time.

Shaun Byrne would then get injured after stopping a dangerous-looking break for the hosts. Paul McGowan was on for him with Max Anderson dropping into the deep midfield role.

Lee Ashcroft would then replace him to take Anderson’s place in front of the defence to see out the game.

Ian Murray watches on as Raith Rovers faced Dundee.

Ian Murray, meanwhile, threw new signing Connor O’Riordan into the mix straight away and he was promptly awarded with the Man of the Match award by home supporters.

Second half, Dylan Easton was sent on for Kieran Ngwenya with Ethan Ross going to the left.

Rovers were far more potent as an attacking outlet second half with the former Airdrieonian pulling the strings.

Man in the middle

Referee Chris Graham had a busy game, plenty of free-kicks and not slow to dish out the cards.

Luke McCowan wasn’t too impressed when he was booked for diving out on the left wing in the first half.

Similarly the home supporters weren’t best pleased when Graham overlooked a McCowan challenge on Aidan Connolly inside the area at the start of the second half.

Got all the big calls right overall, though.

Dundee new boy Zach Robinson reveals Championship welcome as Partick Thistle threatened to ‘hit him early’

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