Eight Goals Shared in Wee Derby
Arriving at Central Park the Rovers support saw that the pitch was in better condition than they may have feared considering the heavy rain of the last few days. There was one change to the starting line-up with Hamill coming in for Grant Anderson, news that was not greeted with universal approval. Rover’s legend Mickey Cameron, who’s 40 on Tuesday, lined up in the middle of the park for Cowden.
Spence looked eager and in the first minute closed down Flynn the home keeper who seemed ill at ease. In the third minute Flynn spilled an effort and Hamill’s shot on the angle was blocked wide for a corner.
Cowdenbeath took the lead after Hamill’s slackness in midfield let the home side get forward, Mensing and Hill failed to clear the danger and McGurn pushed away a shot. Kyle Miller was quickest to follow up and put the ball in from five yards. Raith tried to respond and Spence and Graham worked to create something but the effort from the later was blocked. Despite the surface looking not bad the ball was spending a lot of time in the air and neither side played much football early on. This disappointingly remained the case for much of the match.After Raith pressure the ball was cleared to Jason Thomson, he fired in a low shot which was deflected towards Brian Graham whose effort was blocked wide for another corner. Malone cut out a dangerous looking ball as the home side tried to break then Jamie Stevenson hammered a low free kick just inside the far post from 29 yards. It was a rare moment of quality.2:0 down Raith were looking for a spark and it came from Malone’s driving run then cross. Walker’s shot from the left backs ball was pushed wide. Moments later Flynn fumbled a pass back and in a panic dived on the ball again. The referee rightly awarded a free kick for handling a pass back. Graham beats the wall to scoreThe Cowdenbeath team lined up in an 11 man wall on the line but Brian Graham’sleathered shot found the net from seven yards. Malone’s ‘reward’ for his efforts was a booking a minute later when he was adjudged to have fouled McKenzie.
Brian Graham tried an opportunist strike from distance in the 37th the way Flynn had started you could see why but it went over. The Rovers levelled the match in the 44th when their fifth corner was swung in and Greig Spence had the simple task for heading home from close range. It was 2:2 at the half with both sides having cause for satisfaction in some areas and disappointment in others.
Flynn caused some amusement falling over hoofing an early free kick up the park. Stevenson had another go from a free kick which went over to McGurn’s relief. The half started scrappily as both sides tried to get the next vital goal. Stevenson scooped a shot over from 15 yards as the home side continued to try and get forward quickly. Graham headed wide before a home man scuffed a shot. Jason Thomson caused some concern when Mbu failed to clear his cross but a colleague blocked Smith’s follow up effort. Jason did some good work wide linking with Smith getting into the box then moments later crossing but without a chance being created. Walker was booked for what may have been his first foul despite the home side’s Garcia Ray attracting more of the ref’s attention throughout.
McGurn and Mensing got a bit confused and this resulted in Cowden’s first corner in the 70th minute. Cameron had a shot wide when the ball in was cleared. At the other end Hamill’s cross after Graham’s ball wide saw Spence’s header held by Flynn.
The fifth goal came from a quickly taken home throw; McKenzie’s cross was headed home by sub Lewis Coult from 6 yards. The home side had capitalised well on a moment of slackness by the Rovers defence. Pat Clarke came on for Smith and Graham had a good shot on the turn held by Flynn at the second attempt.
Two minutes after his first goal Lewis Coult scored his second. Greg Stewart got forward and his shot was parried by McGurn but the in rushing Coult put it away. His celebration was more akin to that of a goal that sealed the World Cup or Champions League, not a second tier Scottish game in front of 1200 odd…
Nine League games in Raith fans can reflect on some good performances and cracking goals but looking at the league table many will think we are a couple of points short of what we deserve. The first quarter has seen LONG road trips, ‘giant-killing’, the Rovers live on the telly and a disappointing Old Firm crowd. Let’s hope the mid season assessment sees Rovers fans continuing to draw on more positives than negatives.
Report – John Mainland, Pictures – Eddie Doig
Photographs copyright Eddie Doig