Ross County take step towards survival with play-off win at Raith Rovers

The Premiership side will take a 2-1 lead back to the Highlands for the second-leg this weekend.

Ross County take big step towards Premiership survival with play-off win at Raith Rovers SNS Group

Ross County have put one foot in next season’s Premiership campaign with a vital away win at Raith Rovers in the first leg of the play-off final.

Don Cowie’s side ran out 2-1 winners at Stark’s Park after a dominant display in the Kirkcaldy rain on Thursday night to give their chances of survival a major boost.

Raith now face a trip to Dingwall on Sunday afternoon and will need to overturn the defeat to gain promotion to the top-flight.

After failing to turn the lion’s share of possession into goals in the first-half, County scored twice in the second-half.

A penalty from Yan Dhanda opened the scoring and Jack Baldwin doubled the lead with a header before Sam Stanton got one back for the Championship club.

The away side had the best of the opening stages as they looked to take the game to Raith and take a big step towards securing their top-flight status.

Dhanda and Will Nightingale both fired wide of the target in the first-half and Baldwin had a shot saved just before the break.

Baldwin’s effort was the only shot on target of the half but the Kirkcaldy side would have been the happier to still be level at the break.

Rovers came out of the traps the quickest in the second-half and Aidan Connolly nearly had them in front when he narrowly missed the target with a shot from inside the box.

But just two minutes County were awarded a penalty after the ref was called over to the VAR monitor, being used at Stark’s Park for the first time, before pointing to the spot.

Dhanda stepped up and smashed it past Kevin Dabrowski to put the Premiership side 1-0 up.

The hosts looked to get themselves back in the game and Ryan Leak was forced to clear a Connolly effort off the goal-line.

Then with 20-minutes left on the clock the Highlanders got themselves close to survival when they doubled their lead.

Baldwin connected with a Dhanda corner and sent a bullet header flying past Dabrowski and into the net to make it 2-0.

But with less than ten minutes remaining Raith threw themselves a lifeline when Ross Matthews cut the ball back to Stanton who put it in the net to make it 2-1 going in to the final stages.

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