Braves succumbed to a late defeat in a drab affair against Cowdenbeath at Central Park.
In a low-key natured match, Cowdenbeath and Braves looked destined to share the points, until the hosts grabbed a last gasp winner to claim all three. In the dying embers of the game, the ‘Blue Brazil’ floated in a corner which was met by the on-rushing Alfie Robinson, who headed the ball low and hard through a sea of defenders.
Post-game, Ricky Waddell stated “it was a was a game that we were on top of, it wasn’t a footballing match. It wasn’t a free flowing football match due to the fouls, the stoppages in play and the surface”.
With the pitch proving to be problematic for both sets of players, the ball spent much of the game in the air and out of play. Uncharacteristically, the Braves failed to create many chances in the first half despite edging the play and a hopeful effort from Luke Main was their best shot in the first half.
After 32 minutes, Cowdenbeath created their best chance of the half, after some strong interplay down the right, which led to a dangerous cross from Scott Walker. The ball was met and hit towards goal, however Jamie Walker cleared the ball away from goal line, with a fantastic piece of awareness.
The second half began with a superb save from Danny Farrell in the Cowdenbeath goal from a well struck Marc Kelly free kick in the 50th minute. Chris Henry followed suit 10 minutes later, by saving a deceptive free-kick from Scott Sinclair, which almost caught him out at his near post.
The visitors came extremely close to winning the game in the 77th minute, when a looping back-post header from Jack Duncan crept across the face of the goal. This proved to the Braves' best opportunity of the game, with Ross McNeil being just inches away from meeting the header to put his side in front.
“Jack’s done ever so well to get up at the back-post and knock it across,” stated the gaffer after the game, “but if we don’t score it, then it’s always going to be who’s going to take that one good chance.”
However, in the dying embers of the game, the hosts continued to press forward with a number of set pieces and ultimately that pressure paid off. The impressive Alfie Robinson jumped the highest to meet an out-swinging corner which was met by a combination of Chris Henry and a culmination of Braves defenders, who couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net, to spark wild celebrations in the home end.
At the end of the piece, Braves came away disappointed to lose a match where they edged spells of general play and never faced any periods of sustained pressure. Just like earlier in the season, one goal settled the game, which always looked like being the case. Despite the disappointment of the result, Ricky Waddell stated “I feel for the guys because we put everything into it, but one lapse of concentration has cost us at the end.”
Despite it not being a game for the purists, the Braves' performance was full of commitment and none exemplified this more than captain Scott Forrester. The centre half dealt with everything that came his way in the air admirably and put in a faultless performance at the back alongside the impressive Jack Duncan. Those players in particular did not deserve to be on the losing side.
State of Play
The results leave the Braves in 10th in the Lowland League. Perhaps a missed opportunity for Braves but we have a chance to quickly regain momentum as we return to action on Wednesday night, when Mid Annandale visit Alliance Park in the Southern Counties Challenge Cup. Then at the weekend we are back in Lowland League action as we travel to face Edinburgh University.