Alloa 1 Raith Rovers 1: Lewis Vaughan credits manager for boosting his confidence

© SNSLewis Vaughan.
Lewis Vaughan.

Lewis Vaughan rescued a point for Raith on the opening day of the League One season – then praised manager Barry Smith for helping him regain his confidence.

The 21-year-old attacker made it five goals in five games with a last-minute equaliser in Alloa, cancelling out Kevin Cawley’s first-half opener for the Wasps.

Vaughan returned to Stark’s Park in the summer and has hit the ground running under his new boss after being loaned out to Dumbarton by previous gaffer Gary Locke.

“I’m enjoying my football and it’s showing on the pitch,” said Vaughan.

“It is probably down to the manager.

“I’m a bit of a confidence player and if I’ve got confidence I play well.

“The big difference from last season is the manager fancies me more this time round.

“He has been brilliant for me since he came in and I appreciate everything he’s done for me.

“Last season is in the past, one to forget for everyone at the club, and hopefully we can move forward and get back to where we’re supposed to be.”

Despite losing some early ground to title rivals Ayr United, who won 5-1 away at Albion Rovers, Vaughan was happy to take a point from the Indodrill Stadium.

“Alloa’s never going to be an easy place to come,” he said.

“The first game of the season is always difficult as every team is still finding their feet.

“We got out of jail a wee bit with the last minute goal, but we more than deserved a point.

“We created numerous chances, and on another day we could have had two or three.”

“It is game one out of 36 so there’s a long way to go.”

Raith stuck with the same starting XI that comfortably defeated Cowdenbeath in the Betfred Cup the previous week, but they found themselves a goal down after just 16 minutes.

The defence was slow to shut down space at the edge of the box and midfielder Cawley fired a well-struck effort into the bottom corner of the net from 18 yards.

Raith had several chances to equalise before half-time.

Neil Parry made a low one-handed save from Vaughan’s close range flick then Greig Spence struck the post with the follow-up.

Raith hit the woodwork again before half-time as Ross Matthews’ cross was missed by everyone before bouncing off the far upright.

Smith made a double change at half-time with Bobby Barr and trialist Kevin McHattie coming on to give Rovers a more attacking outlook.

The Kirkcaldy side dominated possession but had to wait until the 75th minute for a clear chance as Barr sent Spence through on goal, only for Parry to deny the striker.

Spence reclaimed the ball, rounded the keeper and set up Vaughan six yards out, but the striker was denied by a defender on the line.

Alloa almost sealed victory in the 88th minute when Cawley sprinted through on goal untracked but was denied by Aaron Lennox at his near post.

That save proved crucial as, with 90 minutes on the clock, Lennox launched a high ball downfield which Spence flicked through to Vaughan, who fired a low drive past Parry from 16 yards.

Raith boss Smith was glad to escape with a point from a tough opening fixture.

“The lesson today is how tough the league can be,” he said.

“It’s early in the season and we’ll learn from that game – that’s the most important thing.

“We never played as well as we can, but we kept going and created chances against a team that will be challenging up the top end.”