Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Last updated : 12 March 2008 By Alex Horsburgh

Berwick Rangers 4 Cowdenbeath 5

Under 300 people saw the game but it was truly one of those nights when those who did attend could say "I was there" this was a terrific advert for lower league football in Scotland.

Cowdenbeath won 4-5 at Shielfield to more or less assure Third Division football for Berwick Rangers next season but what a tussle in a match that seemed to be all over in the first five minutes. Two lightning quick strikes from 21-year-old Blue Brazilian Denis McLaughlin, who was taken on-loan from Tynecastle at the end of February, seemed to have killed this relegation battle stone dead before most people had settled into their place in the ground.

Berwick got back into it with a couple of Ian Little goals (32 and 45) but former midfielder at Fife juniors Dundonald Bluebell, Mark Ramsay, restored Cowden's lead seconds before the interval to set up a memorable second half.

Berwick have won only two league games all season but with their Second Division place after promotion last season hanging by a thread they rolled their sleeves up at the start of the second 45 and after countering Cowden's search for a killer fourth goal they had the visitors on the ropes for the first time in the game when David Greenhill and Brian Fairbairn put them level and then ahead in the space of 90 seconds with 20 minutes to go.

It seemed like a familiar tale for Cowdenbeath fans. With three points required to lift the Blue Brazil above Queens Park and put the Glaswegians into the relegation play-off spot the visitors had gone from heroes to zeroes after looking like winners of the match from the first kick but as Fife hopes faded up popped McLaughlin for his hat trick (76) to make it 4-4.

In the last minute the Irish-born striker, who has also been on loan to a Spanish 2nd Division side since joining the Jambos, raced clear to score for Cowden with virtually the last kick of the game and complete the scoring in a truly remarkable relegation dogfight.

Berwick have a quick opportunity for revenge as they go to Central Park on Saturday in the league but another defeat of any kind will firmly slam the door shut on their hopes of surviving via a play-off and leave Cowden, Queens Park and Ayr United to fight it out for safety without the need for an extra two matches against a side from the top four in the Third Division.

The good news for Blue Brazilians is Cowden have not lost to QP or Ayr so far this season but another three points against the luckless Borderers is a must on Saturday afternoon as the Blue Brazilians of 2008 attempt to become the first 'Beath side to survive three seasons in a higher league after promotion since the 1930's.

If survival is achieved Tuesday night's win at Berwick will be remembered by Cowdenites as the key match at the sharp end of the 2007-08 campaign.

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