Match Report - By Steven Mew
A battling City side picked up a point and clean sheet against Cowdenbeath yesterday evening, however a lack of cutting edge saw them miss out on the three points that was desperately needed against the side directly above in the League 2 table.
As is customary during a hectic schedule, Manager Michael Paton freshened up his side with three changes from the defeat against Annan on Saturday. In came Scott Reekie, Kieran Inglis and Connor Coupe for Adam Devine, Sean Slaven and the suspended Abdul Osman.
City started brightly and Connor Coupe, playing in a more advanced position alongside Chris McKee upfront, displayed some lightening pace before shooting over within the opening 30 seconds.
The visitors first chance arrived after 11 minutes when skipper Craig Barr headed straight at Hutton from Fraser Mullen’s corner, and the same player would again threaten from a set piece five minutes later as he nodded wide.
Cowdenbeath continued to threaten with Hutton making a fine save to keep out a volley from Graham Taylor, with the resulting corner headed wide.
Hutton would again come to City’s rescue with a double save on 37 minutes to deny two ex-City strikers in Iain Russell and Kris Renton. The City stopper was none too happy with the challenge that followed from Renton as he gathered the loose ball but despite a brief fracas inside the penalty area, the referee decided to take no action on either player.
Early into the second half, the Blue Brazil came close to taking the lead when Craig Barr met a corner at the near post however Kieran Inglis was on hand to head off the line.
On 53 minutes winger Bobby Barr, who put in a real shift for City, advanced forward with the ball before unleashing a wild effort which flew harmlessly wide of goal.
Midway through the second half on-loan Rangers striker Chris McKee came in from the left hand side and stung the hands of Hogarth with his shot.
City continued to push for the goal that they craved and came agonisingly close on 77 minutes when Kieran Inglis’ crisp strike from the edge of the box looked destined for a bottom corner, however Hogarth got down supremely well to push the ball away.
The visitors were still very much a threat at other end as they chased the win that would have more or less confirmed safety. Ten minutes from time, Hutton made a fine save down low to keep out a glancing header from Renton with Todd unable to force home the rebound as the ball cannoned off the outside of the post from a tight angle.
City’s last chance to salvage the win came in stoppage time after substitute Chris Paton won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Chris McKee stepped up to take and was unlucky to see his curling effort land just inches wide of the goal.
Overall, it was a considerable improvement from the showing on Saturday but ultimately coming up just short of the win that was needed to keep any realistic hopes of avoiding 10th place alive.
With the league now splitting into two for the remaining four matches, City come up against Cowdenbeath again, this time at Central Park next Tuesday.