Cowdenbeath 1 Brechin City 0 - By John Hoey
25 February 2012
Brechin City 0
COWDENBEATH 1 BRECHIN CITY 0
A Derek Lyle goal three minutes into injury-time was enough to secure victory for Cowdenbeath at Central Park this afternoon. However, it was extremely harsh on a City side, depleted by injury who must have thought that they were going to hold on for a valuable point.
Although the Blue Brazil had the majority of pressure and possession in the opening 45 minutes, the best chances fell to City, but unfortunately they couldnít convert them. It was a different story in the second-half when it was virtually one-way traffic towards Craig Nelsonís goal but the City defence performed heroics until Lyle popped up with virtually the last kick of the ball to score the goal that keeps his team at the top of the Second Division table.
There was further bad news on the injury front to compound Cityís afternoon with ever-present full-back Paul McLean had to leave the field with what appeared to be a nasty hip injury early on in the second-half and he must now be considered a major doubt for the visit of Stirling Albion on Tuesday night.
There was good news for City supporters when it was revealed just before kick-off that Mick Dunlop had recovered from injury and he took his usual place at the heart of the defence alongside Scot Buist. Craig Nelson was in goal with Paul McLean and Jonny Lindsay in the full-back positions.
David McKenna, Garry Brady, Craig Molloy and Bryan Hodge were the four midfield players with Paul McManus and Rory McKenzie up front. There was a place on the bench for Under 19 midfielder Connor Gray with Gary Fusco, Gerry McGlauchlan, David Crawford and keeper David Scott the other subs.
The hosts started strongly and Derek Lyle had a 35 yard drive deflected for a corner by Craig Molloy after five minutes and three minutes later, Mark McKenzie crossed from the right for Lyle but he headed wide from around 12 yards out.
City had an opportunity after 13 minutes when Paul McLean disposed Lyle and passed across the penalty-box for Paul McManus but the striker couldnít get his shot in under pressure from the home defence.
In the 16th minute, Gary Fisher collected the ball deep in the City half and fired in a shot which was well wide of the target.
City had a good chance after 20 minutes when Bryan Hodge delivered a great pass from a wide left position for McManus who outpaced Joe Mbu and bore in on goal but his shot from around 12 yards out was just wide of the target.
In the 22nd minute Mark Ramsay won the ball from McLean and fired in a shot which went just past Craig Nelsonís right-hand post and a couple of minutes later, the City keeper was called into action when he parried a Jon Robertson drive from just within the box.
Cowden were certainly having the bulk of pressure and possession but City still looked as if they could do something when they moved forward and in the 39th minute, Jonny Lindsay collected the ball on the left and cut inside before passing to Rory McKenzie whose right-foot drive from around 12 yards out went just over the bar.
The hosts put pressure on the visitorsí defence straight from the restart but the back four of McLean, Buist, Dunlop and Lindsay were defending stoutly and giving little away. However, as the half wore on, Cowden began to turn the screw with periods of sustained pressure.
In the 65th minute, full-back Kenny Adamson fired in a shot which went well over the bar and a couple of minutes later, Robertson tried a shot which went in the same direction.
Cowden were piling on the pressure and in the 69th minute Lyle headed a McKenzie cross just past the post and the same player had a drive from 10 yards just miss the target shortly afterwards.
In the 76th minute Greg Stewart cut the ball back for Mark Ramsay who shot just wide and three minutes later, Nelson was called into action when he brought off a good save from a Lyle free-kick.
The keeper brought off another fine save in the 79th minute when he dived to his right to save a 25 yard drive from Adamson and in the 86th minute, City had a couple of narrow escapes within seconds of each other when firstly a Robertson cross from the left hit the post with Gary Fusco, who had earlier replaced Paul McLean clearing another shot off the line second later.
With a minute remaining, Nelson brought off another good save, palming away a drive from Lyle, but the winger, who had been a thorn in the Cityís defence throughout had the final say when he struck home the winner to the anguish of the City defence three minutes into stoppage-time.
A Stewart cross from the left was met by Lyle deep in the City penalty-box and this time he made no mistake from close-range.
Albion Rovers 2 Forfar Athletic 2
Dumbarton 4 Stirling Albion 1
East Fife 2 Airdrie United 0
Stenhousemuir 1 Arbroath 3