PETER GRANT is hopeful that Kevin O'Hara's late leveller to earn a derby draw could prove the turning point that Dunfermline need in their season.

And the under-pressure Pars manager paid tribute to the "fantastic backing" he and his players received from the travelling support in Kirkcaldy despite their wait for a first Championship win this season being extended to seven matches.

Dario Zanatta's 11th minute opener was just reward for a dominant first half performance from Raith Rovers at Stark's Park, who spurned a great chance through Brad Spencer to increase their advantage.

At the interval, Grant sent on O'Hara and Craig Wighton for Nikolay Todorov - a pre-match doubt - and Reece Cole, and it was the forward he previously managed at Alloa who came up trumps.

He steered home a fine near post finish from Josh Edwards' cross, having watched Wighton having a goal chalked off for a marginal offside and Kai Kennedy go into the referee's notebook for what was deemed to be simulation as he went down inside the penalty area.

READ MORE: O'Hara rescues derby point for Pars

Following O'Hara's equaliser, Dunfermline were indebted to Owain Fon Williams for a superb stop to deny Matej Poplatnik in what was a frenetic end to a well-contested derby, but Grant was keen to credit his players.

When asked if he thought if scoring late could prove to be a turning point, he replied: "You're always hoping.

"As I've said to you many times, you can't give people bags of confidence. Sometimes when you're playing poorly and you're winning, you think you're doing great, and it's vice-versa - some things you're doing really well in games, and you don't believe it because you're not winning. It's trying to give that and we've got to show that to the players and show the things they're doing well.

"We know we've got good players. I was delighted with Mark (Connolly, who signed on loan from Dundee United before the match) coming in tonight; I think he showed his experience, his aggressiveness at important times for us and, as I say, thought there was a lot of good performances second half.

"We know we've got a lot to improve on, but this was a tough game for us because of the situation we found ourselves in from the weekend. Great credit to the players; I've got to tip my hat to them. I'm just disappointed we never got the win for the supporters and for the players.

"I'm disappointed not to win the game. I'm obviously desperate to win a game. I know I have my critics but fantastic backing from the supporters who were desperate for us to win the game.

"I think they can see the spirit the boys have shown; they've never waned once. Even the boys that even got on the bench, which I didn't think was going to be the case this morning, they decided to go on the bench and give it their all to try and play.

"I think they deserve more than they're getting at this moment in time, but that's probably because I'm their manager. I know how much sacrifice they're making trying to get that victory, and hopefully that's not too far away."

On the match itself, Grant noted: "I thought the first half wasn't the way we wanted it. It's been quite a difficult build up to the game with injuries and whatever, so we never really got working on anything because none of the boys trained. I was waiting until tonight to select the side and I think you could see that in the first half.

"I thought the second half we were much better. There's a few incidents I've not seen back, so I'd be loathe to be critical, but the ones I do see is there should be a couple of bookings, especially against Kai early in the game and then the start of the second half because it always makes it difficult for a defender to then to watch his tackling after that, and it gives Kai that wee bit more space.

"I think it's unfair because you can't keep checking them for the same things. I was disappointed at that. Penalty kick? I've not seen it, obviously. Craig Wighton's chance, or goal, I've not seen it, so they're wee moments that you hope are going to go for you.

"As I say, the second half I thought they showed great guts, great determination and I thought we were going to go on and win the game, but then Fon's had to bring a top, top class save out and get us the point in the game. I was delighted for him because he's been fantastic."

As Connolly was pitched straight in for his derby debut, having not met his new team-mates until before kick-off, Paul Watson was left out the matchday squad.

"He's just not available for tonight's game," Grant said.

"I thought there was going to be a lot more of them but, fortunately, most of them could make it. That's the situation on that."

When asked if it was the sort of absence that would rule him out for this weekend's trip to Queen of the South, he added: "As I say, I'm not wanting to say too much on that at this minute in time."

READ MORE: Dan Pybus relishing Queen of the South return

Dunfermline Press:

Rovers counterpart, John McGlynn (pictured above with Grant), praised his team's first half performance after their third game in six days, and felt the game was a good advert for the Championship.

"They changed things at half-time," he said.

"I thought it was quite open; they took a little bit of the game and probably the only thing that we've not defended is the goal. I thought we defended really really well, and in the end their goalkeeper's made a great save. We've had the same opportunities with balls going across the face of the goal, with no-one on the end of them, so unfortunately it's probably two points dropped from a position we were in there to get the three points.

"For our guys, that's our third game in six days. It's a hard shift. I thought their effort and their attitude, and they were still going to try and get the winner, I was happy with the overall performance that we put on.

"I thought the first half was really good; a real, top class, professional performance where we passed the ball really well. It wasn't quite so fluent in the second half but, still, I was really really pleased with the players."

When asked about the impact Dunfermline's start to the season may have had on proceedings, McGlynn replied: "It's a derby game; it takes tough starts to the seasons out the window. It's a derby game, it's a one-off and everyone's got everything to gain.

"We wouldn't expect any derby game to be one-sided. It's going to ebb and flow, it's going to go end-to-end, as it did. I think it would be a good advert for Championship football - the TV were saying it was good game.

"We didn't think that for the amount of ball in the second half Dunfermline had, they didn't really cause Jamie MacDonald many problems to be fair."