City return to winning ways over Cowdenbeath

Gary Naysmith’s Citizens picked up a valuable three points in the race for promotion against relegation-battling Cowdenbeath at Ainslie Park. Aaron Fraser reports.

Photo Credit – Tommy Lee Photography

Edinburgh City welcomed rock-bottom Cowdenbeath to Ainslie Park in what was a massive game for both sides. The Citizens were looking to get back to winning ways after two consecutive defeats and keep pushing towards Annan Athletic in third, while Cowdenbeath desperately needed the points to reduce the gap between themselves and second-bottom Elgin City.

One of very few first half chances arrived after six minutes. Former City skipper Craig Thomson tried to score an audacious effort with the outside of his right boot but saw his shot easily held by Brian Schwake.

10 minutes later, City left back Callum Crane surged forward and unleashed a dipping cross that evaded everyone in the box, including Cowdenbeath goalkeeper Cammy Gill. A section of home fans thought the cross was about to fly into the top corner but it ended up wide of the target.

Just over half an hour into proceedings, Danny Handling came closest to opening the scoring, with City’s number 10 stepping up and flashing a free kick inches over the crossbar.

With time ticking away towards the end of the first half, City finally broke the deadlock. Handling’s excellent corner found the head of Michael Travis, who sent the ball back across the box for Ryan Shanley to lash home a superb volley at the front post. The opening goal was met with a roar of delight from the home crowd, which included a rowdy stag do from Yorkshire.

The fun continued at half time as the groom-to-be, wearing a full Edinburgh City kit, bobble hat and football boots, took to the pitch for the half time crossbar challenge. Much to the disappointment of his friends, not a single one of his efforts reached the bar, however he had the crowd in stitches moments later as he hammered one of the match balls straight out of the stadium!

As the match restarted, Innes Murray was looking to double the City advantage in the 49th minute, but could only blaze over the bar. Thomson then saw a trademark free kick held by Schwake before Craig Barr came close to hauling the Blue Brazil level, but could only watch as his header crashed off the crossbar.

Ben Stirling made a rare foray forwards and drilled a low effort wide of the target. After this, not a lot else happened on the park but as was the story of the night, a lot of the entertainment was seen in the stands. Next up was a group of young Edinburgh City fans doing the conga along the front of the main stand, which was warmly applauded by the travelling crowd from Yorkshire.

The full time whistle blew in Pilton and City had battled their way to a hard-earned win. While it wasn’t a classic, the three points were crucial in the Ainslie Park side’s push for promotion.

City boss Gary Naysmith had this to say on the game: “The wind definitely played a big factor and there were two sides to our performance. We passed the ball well in the first half but in the second half we were having to go longer because of the wind. Cowdenbeath then put us under pressure, so we had to show that resolve.

“We got a goal at a really nice time, a well worked corner and that changed the team talk slightly at half time. Cowdenbeath are a hard team to score against from open play. In their last six games they’ve conceded three goals – two penalties and one from a corner. I just thought we could have been a wee bit braver when we got into the final third in the first half.”

Edinburgh City’s next game is at home to Stenhousemuir on Wednesday night. Cowdenbeath’s next match is a Fife Derby against champions-elect Kelty Hearts on Saturday March 5th.

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