New Territory For 'Beath
By Alex Horsburgh
Updated Tuesday, 1st April 2008
Saturday's home defeat by Brechin City more or less assures Cowdenbeath a place in a play-off at the end of the season against a Third Division promotion hopeful. History in the making as the 127 year old Fife club faces a modern play-off for the first time.
Berwick are down and Cowden seem stranded in the play-off void after last weekend's results. With Ross County and Airdrie Utd to come in the run-in only an eternal optimist would say the Fifers will avoid a play-off for their Div 2 place at the end of the current campaign.
MP for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy PM Gordon Brown called them the "promotion run-ins" in a recent interview but he's a Raith fan so what would he know!?
Call them what you like. Cowden fans are more likely to take a leaf out of the book of sayings cultivated by Ron Atkinson because it is indeed "squeaky bum time" and all this after Blue Brazil manager Brian Welsh rounded on his Kingdom terracing critics a few weeks ago by saying he was confident the Central Park club would survive in a higher division than the SFL basement for 3 seasons in a row for the first time since the 1930's.
Two legs against Stranraer seems to be the inevitable pay-back for a poor 2008 so far for the 2005/6 3rd Division Champs if 'beath fans are to be believed. They see long trip to Stair Park in the 2nd Leg to preserve life beyond familiar opponents such as Albion and the 'shire.
Cowden fans say they did not need a crystal ball to see what was coming because they have, on the whole, been unhappy with Welsh since around February after giving him time to bed-in after he replaced the legend Mixu Paatelainen who managed the Fife side to their first League title since 1939.
The 5-4 win at Berwick and good performances against promotion seeking Airdrie Utd and fellow relegation candidates (until Saturday) Ayr Utd (unbeaten this term against a former bogey side) were beacons of light along the way to second bottom in Div 2. But Cowden have paid for sloppy defeats recently against Berwick, ironically days after scoring five against them away from home, and Queens Park at Central Park, a ground now so devoid of atmosphere that you have to wonder if 10 quid to get in is the biggest steal since Mills met Macca. A smaller tighter ground would help Cowden no end but the local 'cooncil' have blocked ambitious plans by the club to move to a new purpose-built community stadium at the South End of the town so thank you local cooncilors for helping keep the 'Beath at the football equivalent of a bomb site.
The play-offs cometh and Cowden will be there. New territory and new experiences. Cowden fans continue to dream of escape from the basement.
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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