Cowdenbeath 4, Buckie Thistle 2.

Betfred Cup Group C


AN entertaining opener with the Highland League’s top scorers last season showing why they hit 163 goals in all competitions.

They came with an open plan to Central Park on Saturday, and they created a lot of chances but they were repeatedly caught out by Robbie Buchanan and Cammy Muirhead and the former had enough chances to grab a hat-trick but he was repeatedly denied by ‘keeper Daniel Bell.

Cowden attacked well but defensively the Blues had a lot of hard work to do and the two goals they conceded were in the bizarre category.

The home rearguard often found itself under pressure as Buckie looked really comfortable going forward. But defensively the visitors were really struggling and on another day Cowden would have hit six.

All in all a tricky opening Betfred tie won and now three full-time opponents to come.

Cowden conceded a goal in just four minutes. Dave McGurn picked up a ball stopped by David Syme and the referee judged it a pass-back. From the free-kick, virtually on the line, Chris Angus’s fierce low cross hit Craig DORRAT and flew into the net.

But immediately Buchanan pulled out a fine save from Buckie last line Bell with a low 12 yard drive and then seconds later should have levelled when Shaun Rutherford’s pass set him up six yards out but he completely missed the ball.

However, the leveller came after 25 minutes when Fraser Mullen’s corner was perfect for SYME to power a header past Bell from eight yards range.

Then ten minutes from the break Muirhead was close to deflecting a Whittaker cross past Bell and five minutes from the break only a brave Dorrat challenge defied the teenage striker after a fine Buchanan cross.

But in 43 minutes the Blues got number two. Buchanan split the Thistle defence and MUIRHEAD coolly rounded Bell before firing low into the net.

Four minutes after the break Thistle levelled when sub Drew COPELAND’s corner went straight into the Cowden net with McGurn caught out but Cowden went in front again in 61 minutes when Mullen’s free-kick was perfect for SYME to send a curling header over Bell and into the corner of the net.

Buckie continued to look dangerous going forward and McGurn had to look lively to block an Angus shot.

However, with 13 minutes left Cowden should have got number four when Buchanan worked space for himself 10 yards out by he delayed his shot and Bell was able to block his effort with his feet.

The key moment came with two minutes to go. Teenage substitute Ryan CONNELLY cleverly held off two challenges and coolly fired a low 10 yarder past Bell.

Dave McGurn (6); Jamie Pyper (6), Shaun Rutherford (6) (Harvey Swann 46 (5)); David Syme (8), Scott Rumsby (7), Kyle Miller (6); Matt McInally (7), Fraser Mullen (7), Cammy Muirhead (7), Robbie Buchanan (7), Jack Whittaker (6) (Ryan Connelly 49 (5)). Subs not used, Hamish Thomson, Lyle Kellichan, Lewis Turnbull and Joe McGovern.

Buckie Thistle: Bell (6): Skinner (6), McKinnon (7); Munro (6), Dorrat (7) (Ross 75 (3)), McLean (7); Fraser (6), Cheyne (6) (Copeland 49 (4)), McLeod (6), Angus (6) (Murray 75 (3)), Taylor (7). Subs not used, Anderson, Maitland, Urquhart and Salmon.

Referee-Scott Millar (6).