Shared spoils at Central Park
Those arriving at Cowdenbeath saw that there were fairground attractions behind the stand. The team was unchanged from the home win last time out. The home side has been bolstered by a few loan signings of late but Mickey Cameron did not line up against the Rovers due to injury. The travelling fans queued up at the pie van only to find candyfloss wasn’t an option but massive servings of chips and cheese seemed popular.
Home Captain Armstrong passed to Grant Anderson in the first minute. The Raith man had his half blocked shot spun up and towards goal where Graham was penalised before the Rovers could capitalise. Hemmings had the home sides first effort wide from 23 yards in the 3rd minute. Jason Thomson’s clever deep cross found winger Anderson but a defender got in the way. From the resulting corner Mensing rose well at the back post and his cross goal header was knocked away.
Malone and McGurn combined to remove danger then Eddies ball forward found Clarke in space but Pat tripped over the ball. Milne had a wayward effort as neither team took control. Stuart Anderson added another great pass to growing tally playing in Brian Graham who was well challenged. Allan Walker chased a lost cause towards the by-line and his first time cross was headed goalward by Graham but knocked away for another corner.
Coult who was well marshalled by Ellis played in Hemmings but the Rangers loanee took too long on the ball. Graham knocked the ball down and Hamill’s long range effort went wide. Coult and Hemmings failed to hit the target then Flynn in the home goal slid out his box with the ball in his hand. The referee Colvin gave the home man the benefit of the doubt and let play go on. In the 38th minute Mensing did well to head over to safety with Coult lurking dangerously behind him. Stuart Anderson put in a good cross which Graham got his head to but again good defending removed the danger.
0:0 at the half and neither keeper had been tested. Ellis came out sporting a bandage around his head and in 45 seconds Walker’s ball nearly played in Clarke. Graham ran at goal on the angle and Flynn made the first save of the match stretching to tip it away. From the resulting corner Brian Graham rose and headed it powerfully past Brett on the line. 1:0 to the Rovers after 1 minute 32 seconds of the second half.
Keeping the pressure on the Rovers Hamill played in Grant Anderson and Brett fell in front of him on the ball but was not adjudged to have handled. Graham and Thomson combined to win the visitors 3rd corner in only 4 minutes but despite the pressure the Rovers couldn’t add to their advantage. Graham headed a long throw over then when the ball broke kindly for him Brian forced another good save from Flynn. In the 55th minute a vicious low cross was challenged for by Flynn, a defender and both Clarke and Walker however amazingly they all missed and it went past the far post leaving them all sprawled in relief and disbelief!
A snow shower whipped through as did a ball forward that McGurn was quick to snatch as the home side tried to get going. Despite creating fewer chances the Rovers were working hard with and without the ball. However in the 63rd Linton forced the first save from McGurn. The home side managed to get back into the game and Adamson was getting space on the Rovers right. A cross aimed at him was too strong. In the 70th the Blue Brazil won their first corner of the second half, it was a deep one and McGurn clutched it low. Clarke’s one-two with Graham saw Flynn produce another good save. Moments later a quick break from another Raith corner saw Milne with just McGurn to beat and Dave produced a cracking save. At the other end O’Brien, not for the first time, won a key tackle on Grant Anderson.
Craig Moore who’s just been spoken to with Ellis by the referee took out Laurie late and was rightly booked. Greig Spence came off the bench replacing Hamill and Clarke moved back into midfield. Walker fired a shot at the keeper then Brett hurt himself fouling Grant Anderson, though not penalised he was subbed two minutes later. Another Rovers corner saw another Graham header but it went just over.
The home side were disappointed to see good play broken up by Ellis’s timely intervention. However the home side equalised moments later when Linton shot on the angle was only blocked and the inrushing Greg Stewart had the simplest task from 5 yards.
Trying to get back ahead Spence’s excellent technique saw the ball whip across goal but Grant Anderson at the back post hit the side netting. Adamson made a run and his effort from range was a little optimistic. Both sides had efforts wide before Flynn was again alert to claim the ball before the on-rushing Thomson.
The game ended in a draw and O’Brien deserved his Man of the Match award having done well at several key moments. Flynn, who like McGurn could have taken the first half off, made a number of decent saves in the second half though McGurn was also busier. With the pressure following the opener the Rovers will be disappointed not to have claimed all three points.
Report – John Mainland, Pictures – Eddie Doig
Photographs copyright Eddie Doig, edited by Tony Fimister