Cowdenbeath 3, Annan Athletic 1.

Ladbrokes League 2


THE win put a five point gap between the Blue Brazil and the fourth top team in the division but Cowden should have won even more convincingly.

Cowden were sweet moving in the first period, at Central Park on Saturday, with Mikey Herd pulling the strings as Connor Smith, David Cox and Jordan Allan caused the tall Annan defence all sorts of problems.

The Blues carved out chance after chance in this period and they netted three times with the wind behind them.

There could easily have been more, then Annan were reduced to ten when Christian Nade was red carded, but in the second period Cowden lost their flow.

They still had chances but Annan looked much better with the wind behind them, and the hosts lost the fluency which had seen them overrun their opponents in the first period.

In what was his last game for the club, local lad Smith put on a true man of the match performance and he will be a loss to the side.

Herd and Kyle Miller were at the heart of most of Cowdenbeath’s good play and when they tired, in the wet conditions, the side did lose momentum.

However, the defence was pretty sound with stand-in ‘keeper Josh Rae, who played against the Blues for Edinburgh City the previous week, solid in goal in place of injured Kevin Drabowski. Craig Barr was an absentee through illness and Jamie Pyper stepped back into the middle of the defence and did well along with Jamie Todd, while Fraser Mullen and Harvey Swann were also good at the back.

Cowden came forward in the second minute and Herd’s left foot 20 yarder was held by Chris Smith, but at the other end Nathan Flanigan saw his 16 yarder blocked by Todd.

That heralded a spell of pressure for the visitors but Trialist ‘keeper Rae was saved from having to make a good save by a superb Jamie Pyper block from Broque Watson’s shot and in 16 minutes the Blues took the lead.

Fraser Mullen’s angled free-kick from the right was perfect for SMITH and his cute flick went well wide of Smith.

Cowden went close again in 24 minutes when Miller fired a 22 yarder inches over.

And in 29 minutes the Blues went two up. A fine cross from Smith was perfect for COX and after his first effort was blocked by Chris Smith, the little front man followed up to force the ball home.

Then eight minutes from the break Annan’s Christian Nade was given a red card for a bad foul on Harvey Swann and then pushing Todd in the chest, and on the half-time whistle the Blue Brazil scored again.

‘Keeper Smith clashed with visiting defender Darren Barr going for a low ball into the Annan box and HERD was lying handy to fire into the net from the edge of the six yard box.

Cowden threatened in 47 minutes when Mullen’s corner was perfect for Todd but his header went just over.

Annan started to play some decent football but in 64 minutes Smith made a brilliant save from Connor Smith’s 16 yard left foot drive.

However, in 67 minutes the visitors pulled one back when the ball bounced awkwardly in front of Rae and Ayrton SONKUR headed home from seven yards out.

In 77 minutes the Blues should have scored a fourth when Cox set up Smith 10 yards out but instead of shooting into the net he shot well over.

Then in the closing seconds Smith came off his line to try to clear a long ball but was beaten to it by Connor Smith who found sub Craig Barr, and with an empty goal he fired wide.

Cowdenbeath: Josh Rae (7); Fraser Mullen (7), Harvey Swann (7); Jamie Todd (7), Jamie Pyper (7), Kyle Miller (7); David Cox (7), Mikey Herd (7), Jordan Allan (7) (Craig Barr 89 (2)), Connor Smith (8), Robbie Buchanan (7). Subs not used, Euan Valentine, Kyle Sneddon, Archie Thomas, Ross Pollok, Jacob Glass and Mac Whyte.

Annan Athletic: Smith (7); Douglas (6), Ballantyne (7) (McLear 60 (3)); Bradley (6), Barr (6), Sonkur (7); Wilkie (6), Muir (6), Watson (6) (McLean 46 (6)), Flanigan (6), Nade (5). Subs not used, Joseph, Currie, Walker, Holt and Avci.

Referee-Scott Lambie (7).