Fantastic Four Or Super Six?
By Alex Horsburgh
Updated Friday, 4th April 2008
Cowdenbeath manager Brian Welsh still believes his side can escape the relegation play-off but he is preparing for the more realistic prospect of two matches with a Third Division promotion hopeful at the end of the campaign after Cowden's 'fantastic four'.
They are being dubbed locally as the fantastic four in a tongue-in-cheek comparison to Super Sunday on SKY. Cowdenbeath's last four league games this term will make or break the club's chances of staying in Div 2 in the eyes of many in Fife.
Four becomes six if Cowden cannot pull out some superhuman performances in the run-in.
If 'Beath cannot rise above their current place of 9th in the division it is the play-offs for certain in a bid to preserve status above the basement.
Alloa come calling on Saturday, then top two Airdrie Utd and Ross County must be negotiated away from Central Park and then the final game of the season could be a winner takes all home game with Queens Park.
Cowden's Jekyll and Hyde season continued midweek when they beat Queens Park 2-3 at Hampden after failing to perform at home against the Glasgow side the previous week in the Kingdom. If they were told to treat the game as a cup final by manager Welsh then the Fifers certainly did just that. They chalked up one of their best performances on the road this season after failing to win their last six at home.
The pressure seems to be on when critical locals are in close proximity but the atmosphere at the "past its sell by date"' Central Park can't inspire no matter who is in the crowd. The club must once again push for a new stadium at the end of the season after having plans to move on the back of a sell-out to Tesco knocked back by local councillors. Central Park is now more trouble than it's worth to a team that has little enough success to talk about in its 127 year history.
Form this season would suggest a defeat on the weekend and then two unexpected wins at the the top two to set up a final day showdown with Queen's Park but manager Welsh is looking to get all his players fit for the more likely eventuality of a play-off.
Speaking midweek he said: "If we have everyone fit and are lucky as far as injuries are concerned we can still go into any play-off matches with confidence. The sides below East Fife in contention for the play-offs in Division 3 are all fairly good sides but on our day we should be able to beat a Third Division team and we should certainly be able to win a two-leg play-off against a lower league side so we must be confident even if we fail to jump above 9th in the table and end the season fighting for our lives over 180 minutes and maybe longer."
Alloa and Queens Park certainly play a big part in Cowdenbeath's promotion history and now the Wasps and the Spiders have a major say in a Cowden relegation issue.
1992 saw Cowden draw 0-0 at Alloa in the final game of the 1991/2 season to achieve promotion for the first time since 1970 in front of a crowd of over 5,000 while then-Champions Queen's Park beat Cowden 1-2 at Central Park in the last game of the 1980/1 season to deny the Fifers promotion from Div 2 when only a point was required in the days of three divisions in Scottish senior football.
The self-styled Blue Brazil have never faced a play-off before in the modern era. However, there is still hope locally that the great escape can be achieved and that final Div 2 v Div 3 game of the season can be at Hampden with Central Park regulars on their holidays watching from afar.
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