Stenhousemuir 0 v 2 Cowdenbeath
Played at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on Monday, 26th December 2011 at 15:00
Stenhousemuir v Cowdenbeath at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 26.12.11
Irn Bru Scottish Second Division Att 578
Stenhousemuir 0 Cowdenbeath 2 [Stewart 36, Coult 88]
Stenhousemuir went into this game unbeaten at Ochilview hoping to extend their unbeaten home run into 2012 and at the same time close the gap on league leaders Cowdenbeath. They failed in both objectives however as the Fifers showed why they are at the top as they outplayed and outfought the Warriors throughout the game.
Not for the first time this season it was a windswept Ochilview with gale force winds making the chances of constructive football minimal but nevertheless it is a mark of a team in how they adapt to any conditions that they face and on this occasion it was Cowdenbeath who prevailed.
Stenhousemuir went into this game without Brown Ferguson who had not recovered from injury and therefore Paul McHale started though he is still not up to the pace of the game after his own absence through injury and like most of the midfield the game passed him by as Cowden dominated that area and thus the game.
The alarm bells rung for the home side as early as the 2nd minute when a pass back by Martyn Corrigan was headed out for a corner by Ally Brown. Marc McKenzie took it and it was headed goalwards but just dipped over the bar though Brown had it covered.
There was an even bitter scare in the 10th minute when a Brown clearance fell back to Mark Ramsay who played it across goal to McKenzie, his shot was magnificently clawed out by Brown though Cowden claimed the ball had crossed the line. Without goal line technology it was impossible to say as it happened too quickly for the officials.
Stenhousemuir responded with a Stewart Kean header over from a McHale cross in what was the first real chance for Stenhousemuir. Kevin McKinlay came closer in the 26th minute when a cross come shot almost sneaked in at the back post but Thomas Flynn threw himself across goal to tip it round though the referee failed to give him credit by awarding a goal kick instead of a corner not that the keeper would have been complaining.
In the 36th minute the Blue Brazil eventually took the lead with a sweeping move that ended with the unmarked Greig Stewart firing into the net and they could have extended their lead in the closing seconds of the half when a Ramsay run was not picked up and he just failed to divert a David Cowan cross into the net.
Stenhousemuir struggled to get going in the second period and had a couple of early escapes but they had appeals for a penalty when the ball was handled in the box. Andy Rodgers was cautioned for his protests and as a consequence went above the discipline threshold and will miss a future league game. The best chance to equalise came in the 70th minute when an Eric Paton free kick from just in the Cowden half was met by Ross McMillan but his volley from close range went over.
Most of the play was at the other end though and Cowden eventually put the game beyond doubt though it was a fairly controversial goal. Ally Brown had to make a diving save at McKenzie’s feet and the rebound fell to sub Lewis Coult who converted despite Brown’s best efforts. When the initial cross from Jordan Morton was played across the goal the ball went just in front of Coult who was offside before going to the onside McKenzie. The question of whether Coult was active though has got to be the judgement of the referee in these circumstances and on this occasion he got the benefit of the doubt and was able to celebrate with the Cowden supports before the inevitable caution.
In the end the better team won and although people could argue about the interpretation of several decisions there was no issue with the fact that Cowden deserved the three points on the day.
Stenhousemuir – Brown, Lyle [Dickson 78], McKinlay [Quinn 85], Corrigan, McMillan, Thomson, McHale, Rodgers [b66], Kean, Paton and Murray. Subs not used – J.Hamilton, Lawson and McCluskey
Cowdenbeath – Flynn, Cowan, Linton, Cameron, Armstrong [b69], Mbu, McKenzie [b48], Robertson, Ramsay, Stewart [Coult 85][b88] and Morton. Subs not used – Brett, Naismith, Milne and Bejaoui
Referee – Gary Hilland Assistants – Graeme Leslie and Ralph Gordon
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