Raith Rovers 1 PARS 1

KEVIN O'HARA'S late leveller rescued a point for Athletic at Raith Rovers in what could be a hugely pivotal moment for boss Peter Grant.

The half-time substituted connected superbly with Josh Edwards' magnificent cross with 11 minutes left to cancel out Dario Zanatta's first half opener in a keenly fought Fife derby.

Rovers had dominated the opening 45 minutes for large spells as Dunfermline struggled to gain impetus, but the interval introduction of O'Hara and Craig Wighton made a difference as they improved.

Despite securing a third successive draw, the pressure remains on Grant, with his side still bottom and winless after seven league games.

However, with a trip to Queen of the South on Saturday ahead of the international break, he can take heart from the second half this evening, where his players certainly showed plenty of fight to try and turn their season around.

Time will tell what the long-term future holds for the manager, with sporting director, Thomas Meggle, and Damir Keretic, another of the DAFC Fussball GmbH investment group, having watched on in Kirkcaldy.

Their hearts would have been in their mouths late on when Owain Fon Williams somehow leapt to his left to deny Rovers sub, Matej Poplatnik, with a tremendous save and preserve a point.

Grant made two changes to the team that drew with Hamilton on Saturday.

Mark Connolly, who joined on loan until January earlier in the day from Dundee United, was pitched straight in for his debut, with Paul Watson missing out altogether, whilst fitness doubt, Wighton, was named on the bench. Reece Cole took his place in the line-up.

Rovers, who defeated Partick Thistle on Sunday following their Premier Sports Cup exit to Celtic last midweek, named an unchanged side.

This match had been rescheduled from its original August 20 date when, after only 15 minutes, the contest was abandoned due to a power failure.

Like last month, the BBC Scotland cameras were at Stark's Park and, thankfully, the lights stayed on this time around.

After both teams took the knee, it was Rovers who got the action underway, and within three minutes Cole had headed over from an Edwards corner.

But, in the 11th minute, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock.

Latching on to the ball on the left hand side, Zanatta picked it up, checked inside into the penalty area and rifled a low drive that gave Fon Williams in goal no chance.

It was a dream start for the hosts - and a nightmare for the Pars, who needed to react in what was even at this early stage a huge test of their character.

The goal, however, rocked Dunfermline and they struggled to gain a foothold in the game.

In the 27th minute, a glorious chance came the home side's way - with Athletic's defence all at sea.

Former Par, Aidan Connolly, sent a good ball to the back post from the right hand side where Brad Spencer, in oceans of space, headed wide, much to the visitors' relief.

Cole tried to respond moments later with a speculative long range effort that wasn't too far over the top, but it was Raith who continued to probe.

The dangerous Zanatta did brilliantly on the left to move into space and centre for a team-mate, only for Vytas Gaspuitis blocking, while Liam Dick also found a black and white shirt in the way as he attempted to get a shot away from inside the area.

From almost nowhere, though, Dan Pybus saw a shot deflected narrowly wide for the Pars, but the truth was they hadn't offered anywhere near enough in the opening period.

At the break, Grant responded by throwing on Wighton and Kevin O'Hara for Nikolay Todorov - a pre-match doubt who had been pretty isolated in the first 45 - and Cole, but it Rovers who were soon back on the offensive.

They sprang forward well from their own half, with Connolly spraying the ball wide for Zanatta, who cut inside to shoot, only for a Pars boot to deflect it over.

Regan Tumility fired wide for Raith with a good effort from distance before Kennedy, after initially doing well to move between two opponents, was carded for what referee Euan Anderson deemed to be simulation.

However, just after the hour mark, Dunfermline thought their luck hard turned - only to be denied by an assistant referee's flag.

It was a fantastic inswinging cross from Kennedy on the left and, after finding himself in acres of space, Wighton expertly guided the ball home first time from six yards, but he was deemed to be offside in what was a very marginal call.

Moments later, Graham Dorrans and Ross Matthews were booked for an off-the-ball scuffle, while Dom Thomas was sent on with 18 minutes to go in place of Dan Pybus.

And, with 11 minutes to go, the Pars pulled level with a brilliant goal.

Edwards, in space on the left, sent over a pinpoint cross that O'Hara met superbly at the near post to steer home for an equaliser that sent the visiting crowd wild.

It was a goal then Pars deserved for a much improved second half but, as the game started to swing from end to end, Fon Williams produced heroics to leap across his goal and keep out Poplatnik's header, which looked to be heading in.

Moments later, Zanatta was inches away from connecting with Tumility's low, driven ball across the box as both sides chased a winner, but neither could find it as the points were shared - and Grant breathed a sigh of relief.

Raith Rovers: J MacDonald; Tumilty, Berra, Benedictus, Dick; Connolly, Matthews, Spencer, Tait (Fotheringham 83) ; Zanatta, Varian (Poplatnik 73).

Subs not used: Lang, McKay, Riley-Snow, Mitchell, Thomson.

Goal: Zanatta (11).

Booked: Tumilty (58), Matthews (63).

Pars: Fon Williams; Comrie, Connolly, Gaspuitis, Edwards; Dow, Pybus (Thomas 72), Dorrans, Kennedy; Cole (O'Hara 45); Todorov (Wighton 45).

Subs not used: MacDonald, Allan, Jones, Mehmet.

Goal: O'Hara (79).

Booked: Kennedy (57), Dorrans (63).

Referee: Euan Anderson.

Attendance: 2,876.