PARS 4 Raith Rovers 1

DECLAN MCMANUS and Fraser Murray haunted Raith Rovers again as Dunfermline dished out a derby day thrashing at East End this evening.

The duo, who both netted in December's 2-2 draw between the teams, were at it again as Stevie Crawford's side moved back above their opponents into second place, and narrow the gap on leaders Hearts to nine points.

McManus' eighth goal of the season, on the stroke of half-time, gave Stevie Crawford's men the lead before Aaron Comrie doubled their advantage six minutes after the interval with a goal on his 24th birthday.

Brad Spencer's fine long-range shot halved the deficit shortly after the hour mark but, almost immediately, Fraser Murray's superb free-kick restored Dunfermline's two-goal advantage.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Murray's wicked shot from the left took a big deflection off an unfortunate Rovers man inside the box to complete a fine night's work for the hosts, and end their three-game goal drought.

Their evening, however, was souredwith what looked to be a serious injury to Ryan Dow, who went down on halfway in the build-up to Comrie's strike and, after being grounded for several minutes, had to be stretchered off.

There was one change to the Pars' line-up from the team that started Saturday's narrow defeat at Tynecastle.

Scott Banks, who made his debut as a second half substitute, came in for Steven Whittaker, who dropped to the bench, where he was joined by the returning Kyle Turner.

Dom Thomas, for a second successive match, missed out altogether.

For the visitors, there was also one change from their team that defeated Dundee at the weekend, with veteran Iain Davidson coming in for the injured Kyle Benedictus.

Former Par, Dan Armstrong, was one of several players looking to provide attacking verve but Manny Duku, who grabbed the opener when the teams drew 2-2 in Kirkcaldy in December, was only amongst their substitutes.

The game was preceded by a minute's silence for former Pars stars Eddie Connachan and Barrie Mitchell, who both passed away recently, but there was little to excite inside the opening 15 minutes.

McManus almost had a couple of sniffs from Ryan Dow crosses - denied by the offside flag and solid defending by Frankie Musonda respectively - and, whilst Rovers forced a few corners, nothing came of them.

Raith's Dylan Tait had the game's first meaningful effort after 20 minutes, a shot from range that flew harmlessly over the top, before a rasping drive from Paul Watson soon afterwards wasn't too far away for Dunfermline.

The Pars kept the pressure on and, after his corner kick eventually found its way back to him, Fraser Murray cut in on his right and sent a long range shot off target.

Ten minutes before the break, a superb pass by Lewis Mayo sent McManus scampering clear on the right, with the striker pulling the ball back for Fraser Murray.

The on-loan Hibernian midfielder moved the ball onto his right before shooting, and he wasn't too far away from finding the far corner.

Timmy Abraham, Rovers' on-loan Fulham striker and brother of Chelsea star Tammy, sped clear on the counter but could only shoot straight at Owain Fon Williams, before being booked minutes later for simulation.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Dunfermline took the lead - and what a goal it was.

Iain Wilson sprayed a magnificent cross-field pass that found the run of McManus to perfection.

The hitman showed tremendous composure to control, bear down on goal and lash a fine finish beyond Jamie MacDonald at his near post to end Dunfermline's three-match goal drought.

Not content with that, they doubled their money six minutes into the second half - and the source was an unlikely one.

Comrie, who had only scored once for Dunfermline - in a 6-0 Betfred Cup rout of Albion Rovers last season - suddenly found himself in acres of space on the right hand side.

With no Rovers challenge forthcoming, he raced forward and into the penalty area, where he fired the ball across MacDonald and in via the post.

Whilst the Pars celebrated, skipper Euan Murray led concerns for Dow, who was lying grounded on halfway having gone down seemingly with no-one around him.

After a few minutes of treatment, he was eventually stretchered off to be replaced by Kevin O'Hara, with everyone hoping that the injury is not as serious as first feared.

Banks, who showed some neat touches on his first start, shot over for Dunfermline before, out of the blue, Raith pulled one back.

Spencer came out on top in a 50-50 with Wilson and, from around 25 yards, fired a fine long-range shot that beat Fon Williams at his right hand side.

However, within two minutes, Dunfermline had restored their two-goal lead - and in some style.

Fraser Murray, who netted a brilliant set-piece earlier in the season at Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup, placed the ball, centre of goal, after Euan Murray was felled.

From between 20-25 yards, he produced a postage stamp free-kick that flew beyond MacDonald and into the net, via the underside of the bar, for his fourth goal of the season.

That goal gave the hosts breathing space and, as they tried to pick Raith off, O'Hara tried to find the far corner from fellow substitute Kerr McInroy's pass, but MacDonald saved comfortably.

McManus almost added further gloss to the scoreline with around six minutes left, pulling a left-foot shot just wide of the far post after being played in by O'Hara, but Fraser Murray did provide it soon afterwards.

His wicked effort from the left took a huge deflection off a Rovers man and flew into the net to complete a fine night's work and hoist the Pars back up to second - and nine points behind leaders Hearts.

Pars: Fon Williams, Comrie, E. Murray, Watson, Edwards, Dow, Mayo, Wilson, F. Murray, Banks, McManus.

Subs: MacDonald, O'Hara, Turner, McCann, Whittaker, McInroy, Gill.

Goals: McManus (44), Comrie (51), F Murray (65, 84).

Raith Rovers: J. MacDonald, Tumilty, K. MacDonald, Davidson, Armstrong, Vaughan, Abraham, Spencer, Musonda, Tait, Kennedy.

Subs: Mendy, Duku, Smith, King, Coulson, Gullan, Thomson.

Goal: Spencer (63).

Referee: Colin Steven.