Game 7: Cowdenbeath 3-1 St Mirren

Tuesday 19 July @ Central Park, Cowdenbeath

I wasn’t short of match options for this Tuesday evening but decided to accompany my good friend Steven Dow, proprietor of Edinburgh football retailer Football Nation to Cowdenbeath.

Our Under 19 side had a game arranged in Edinburgh with Craigroyston, but with no cover on offer at St Mark’s Park and the rain showing no sign of abating, Central Park seemed like the better option.

It has it’s critics but I’m a fan of rough and ready Central Park, which is a popular venue for stock car racing in addition to its role as home to Cowdenbeath FC.

It’s dual purpose involves compromises from a football perspective. There’s obviously a racetrack round the pitch for a start, while safety requirements mean that there’s also a high mesh fence on all sides.

A very wet Central Park

With its impeded and distant view of the pitch, what do I like about Central Park?

It’s hard to put my finger on it to be honest, but it’s a more individual venue than almost anywhere else in Scottish League football. In the age of identikit grounds, Central Park remains refreshingly unique and I like that.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve got some decent memories of matches here. I can’t think of too many, if any, defeats for Meadowbank or Livingston.

My first visit here was a thumping 5-1 victory back in 1992, which I watched that game from the small enclave of open terracing which staddles the halfway line.

It has remained largely unaltered over the last couple of decades – apart from an occasional lick of fresh royal blue paint on the barriers.

A small band of hardy supporters took to this terracing, their number diminishing as the rain intensified either side of half time.

I generally prefer to stand, but on this occasion we sensibly decided to take in the action from well-sheltered seats in the stand opposite, a much more recent addition to the ground.

Despite the fact that St Mirren put out what looked like their first team, there weren’t too many travelling supporters in the meagre attendance of 221.

The vast majority of Buddies who decided to give the game a miss probably made the right choice, given that their side was surprisingly well beaten by an energetic Cowdenbeath team.

Cowden took the lead with a well executed free-kick and although the Saints quickly got back on terms with an equally spectacular strike from Paul McGowan, they came unstuck in the second half.

Greg Stewart scored the two goals which earned the Blue Brasil a deserved win – on with a header and the other with a superb curling shot.

Perhaps a tad unfortunate not to stay up in the First Division last season, Cowden look like a decent bet to be in the Second Division promotion race on the evidence of this showing.

 

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