Arbroath 0-0 Cowdenbeath
Honours even at Gayfield
Match report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath and Cowdenbeath drew 0-0 in a scrappy but entertaining match at Gayfield. Skelly, Hester and Kader all had great chances to score for Arbroath as did Renton and Todorov for Cowdenbeath. The result meant Arbroath dropped down to 5th in the table and Cowdenbeath remained in 7th.
Arbroath came into the game knowing that a much better performance was required after drawing 1-1 at home to Annan last week, rather fortuitously. Meanwhile, Cowdenbeath came into the match on the back of a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Berwick Rangers.
Arbroath made three changes to the side that drew with Annan last week. Mutch, who was called up to Scotland’s U-19 side this week, was in goal. The back four was made up of Brown at right-back, Sukar, who came in for Phillips, was at left-back and Hamilton and Little at centre-back. In midfield, Whatley, who came in for Prunty, partnered last week’s goalscorer McCord in central midfield. Linn was on the left-wing and Callaghan, who replaced Kader, was on the right. Up front, Scott partnered Skelly.
Arbroath named seven substitutes: Steven Doris, Kane Hester, Bryan Prunty, David Gold, Gary Phillips, Omar Kader and Ricky Gomes.
Arbroath should’ve been in front in the first minute of the match. Scott was played through down the far side. He pulled the ball across the face of the goal towards Linn, who was waiting at the back post. However, Linn got it completely wrong and managed to fire a shot wide from a few yards out, much to the dismay of manager Dick Campbell. It was a terrible miss by Linn.
Cowdenbeath though, started the game the brighter of the two sides. Turner managed to work some space for himself on the edge of Arbroath’s box and fired a shot towards goal which was easily saved by Mutch. Then after a great run by Ross, Moore’s menacing cross was well defended by Little who managed to get to the ball before Renton could. Cowdenbeath then had a glorious chance of their own. Todorov nipped in front of his man and clipped the ball into the penalty area. Renton was waiting their unmarked and managed to fire a free header wide of the goal. The goal was gaping and Renton really should’ve found it.
Arbroath were starting to dominate proceedings. After a great move by Arbroath, Sukar crossed the ball to the back post which Callaghan managed to head back across goal. The ball came to Scott whose overhead kick was inches wide of nestling in the top corner. That would’ve been some goal!
Scott, who had been the best player on the pitch so far, played a one-two with McCord and set up Skelly, whose effort went just over the bar.
A little bit of luck is something a team needs in football and Arbroath just didn’t have any. Linn was played through on goal and crossed the ball to Skelly. Skelly turned and hit a shot towards goal. However, agonizingly for Arbroath and Skelly, the ball hit the post and rolled along the goal-line but was gathered up by McGurn in the goal. Arbroath were so unfortunate there.
Then after a brilliant run from Callaghan, he played the ball to Skelly who had a shot saved by McGurn. Then from a corner, the ball fell to Brown who turned his man but had his shot well-blocked from close range. Sukar then fired a shot wide from 30-yards out.
However, Cowdenbeath left Arbroath a warning sign right before the break. Ross managed to get to the ball before Sukar and fire a shot just over the bar.
Half Time – Arbroath 0-0 Cowdenbeath
Cowdenbeath came out of the traps the quicker of the two sides and the first opportunity of the half fell to Turner whose shot from the edge of the box was easily saved by Mutch.
Arbroath then won a freekick on the far right in Cowdenbeath’s half. McCord fired the freekick into the box and the ball once again fell to Brown. Brown did well to make space for the shot but he fired his shot wide. He really should’ve hit the target there at least. McCord then played a brilliant pass to Linn, who cut inside and played the ball to Skelly who had a shot deflected for a corner. Sadly the corner comes to nothing but it was a wonderful pass by McCord to set-up that attack.
Cowdenbeath then had two big chances to score. Both of them fell to Todorov. Turner clipped a ball into the box towards the big Bulgarian at the back post. However, Todorov’s fierce first-time Volley was well saved by Mutch. That was a big chance but the next one was even bigger. The Bulgarian rose early to head Mullen’s out-swinging corner agonizingly wide of the post. Todorov, who had a free header, should’ve found the back of the net. That was a huge let off for Arbroath, who had been second best in the Second Half.
Arbroath then made a double substitution as Hester and Kader came on for Skelly and Callaghan.
The substitutions seemed to give Arbroath a much needed boost. McCord once again played a magnificent pass to send Linn through on goal. However, Mullen managed to get back quickly and force Linn to miscue his shot over the bar.
Cowdenbeath then made a change of their own as Glen replaced Todorov.
Then Moore, who had been quiet for Cowdenbeath the whole game, beat his man and played a one-two with Turner but fired a shot straight at Mutch. If he had hit it either side of Mutch it would’ve been a goal. Moments later, Renton made space for himself on the edge of the box but managed to fire a shot wide of the goal.
Arbroath made their final substitution as Doris replaced Whatley.
The last 10 minutes of the match were end-to-end with both teams having chances to snatch all three points.
Hester was played one-on-one with McGurn but he was forced wide and hit a feeble effort towards goal which was easily saved by Cowdenbeath’s number one. McCord then whipped a great cross into the box which was met by Kader, whose free header was well-saved by McGurn.
But Cowdenbeath almost had the last laugh, if it wasn’t for a wonder save by Mutch. The ball was cleared from a corner by Arbroath and was met on the half-volley by Mullen from 30-yards. His rising shot looked destined to head into the top corner but Mutch made a terrific save to deny Mullen from grabbing a stoppage time winner.
Full Time – Arbroath 0-0 Cowdenbeath
A point was probably a fair result in today’s game. Both teams had numerous opportunities to score but thanks to brilliant defending and goalkeeping both teams were denied. Dick Campbell can take positives from his sides performance, mainly that they managed to create a lot of chances. However, Arbroath are desperately lacking ruthlessness up front.
Man of the Match: Cowdenbeath’s number 21 Gerald McLauchlan. Cowdenbeath’s tall centre-back was brilliant in today’s game. He made up for his lack of speed with terrific reading of the game. He made a lot of key tackles, blocks and interceptions throughout the match.
- Robbie Mutch – 7
- Jason Brown – 6
- Jassem Sukar – 6
- Ricky Little – 7
- Colin Hamilton – 7
- Mark Whatley (C) – 6 (Doris 83)
- Liam Callaghan – 6 (Kader 72)
- Ryan McCord – 7
- Martin Scott – 6
- Josh Skelly – 6 (Hester 72)
- Bobby Linn – 6
- Steven Doris – 6
- Kane Hester – 5
- Bryan Prunty
- David Gold
- Gary Phillips
- Omar Kader – 6
- Ricky Gomes
- David McGurn (C) – 7
- Dean Brett – 6
- James Creaney – 6
- Craig Sives – 6
- Gerald McLauchlan – 7
- Brian Ross – 7
- Lewis Moore – 6
- Fraser Mullen – 7
- Nickolay Todorov – 6 (Glen 77)
- Kris Renton – 6
- Chris Turner – 7
- Kyle Miller
- Gary Glen – 5
- Burton O’Brien
- Jamie Pyper
- Shaun Rutherford.
- Aaron Murrell
- Jamie Sneddon.