Saturday January 14, 2012
Irn Bru SFL Division 2
Ramsay 58 pen
COWDENBEATH produced a hungry, well-organised performance to show the lacklustre Diamonds why they top the second division.
Airdrie made the journey to Fife on a cold, dull January afternoon, but failed to provide anything to warm the travelling support.
Jimmy Boyle made one personnel change from the side that exited the Scottish Cup at the hands of Dundee United, Derek Holmes starting up front beside Ryan Donnelly. Kevin Green was the player to make way, with Jamie Bain reverting to the right-back role and Jamie Stevenson filling the right midfield berth.
The opening stages saw few chances for either side, with Cowdenbeath having slightly more of the ball but finding Connor Fairley up to anything they could throw at him.
A short spell of dominance for the home side saw striker Lewis Coult beat the offside trap to find himself one on one with Fairley, but the Airdrie keeper saved smartly at his feet.
Two minutes later Marc McKenzie collected a throw on the right flank and curled a wicked shot toward goal, but Fairley adjusted well and tipped the ball over the bar.
Airdrie's best chance of the first half came through a Jamie Stevenson free-kick ten yards inside the Cowden half. His cross-cum-shot deceived everyone and almost caught Thomas Flynn out at the far post, but the Blue Brazil keeper managed to the clutch the ball just on the right side of the goal-line.
The breakthrough came for the league leaders on 37 minutes, Lewis Coult's looping cross to the far post finding McKenzie, who despatched a downwards header past Fairley.
Jamie Stevenson had a chance to pull the Diamonds level three minutes later, but his shot from Holmes' flick-on was weak and straight at Flynn.
The second half saw Airdrie unable to capitalise on an early spell of posession, and Cowdenbeath broke forward on 57 minutes, Coult breaking through the defence and tumbling to the ground on contact with Fairley. The penalty was awarded, and Fairley booked by referee Charlie Richmond. Mark Ramsay stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
Airdrie again had chances, two falling to Ryan Donnelly in quick succession. His foray into the Cowden box on 68 minutes was foiled by an excellent last ditch tackle, then a minute later he flashed a volley straight into the arms of Flynn.
Any further attempts to break forward were ably dealt with by the impressive centre-back pairing of Armstrong and Mbu, and Cowdenbeath looked capable of increasing their lead. If not for a spectacular goal-line clearance by Nathan Blockley, they would have done so in the final minute.
Stuart Mathie at Central Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.