THIS could prove to have been the death throes of Dunfermline but in victory they proved there are still signs of life in the troubled club.
More important than this Ramsdens Cup triumph over Fife neighbours Cowdenbeath is Tuesday’s get-together of creditors as the club’s administrators seek to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Should they fail to win the 75 per cent support required for the pence-in-the-pound agreement proposed by fans’ group Pars United, this tie could even prove to be the 128-year-old institution’s final act.
However, in defeating their SPFL Championship hosts, who had Lewis Milne sent off six minutes from time for an off-the-ball kick on substitute Craig Dargo, Jim Jefferies’ team provided hope for the future should they survive Tuesday’s pivotal meeting.
Jefferies said: “It was a brilliant way to start a big week for the club. It was important that we came here and showed things are going well on the football side.”
Cowdenbeath gained the upper hand in the 15th minute with the opener from former England under-19 cap and Stoke City trainee Nat Wedderburn, but, with the interval approaching, Callum Morris equalised, with second-half strikes by on-loan Dundee United youngster Ryan Ferguson and Ryan Thomson sealing the win.
At kick-off, a band of Pars supporters released a red smoke bomb that billowed like a distress flare and there was an undoubted feeling that Cowdenbeath’s early goal had been coming, with summer signing Jordan Morton crashing a magnificent volley off the post and on-loan Partick Thistle goalkeeper Ryan Scully forced to block Andrew Russell’s attempt.
From the corner, Morton’s delivery was deflected to the back post where home skipper John Armstrong nodded back into the danger area for new recruit Wedderburn to power in his header from six yards.
Dunfermline’s equaliser ten minutes from the break encapsulated the topsy-turvy nature of the beautiful game as Ryan Wallace was awarded a penalty for an apparent trip by Thomas O’Brien, only for Ross Millen to see his spot-kick palmed away by home keeper Thomas Flynn. But Millen made instant amends with a superb delivery from the corner to tee up Morris for a close-range header.
These two teams may be preparing for a league season a division apart, but Dunfermline have the 15-point sanction dished out by the Scottish Football League to blame for last term’s relegation to the newly-named League One. And the way they roared into the second half of this match indicated they will be playing in a league below their youthful capabilities in the coming months.
They battered the home goal in a remarkable five-minute spell that – after Alex Whittle drove too close to Flynn, who then blocked Wallace’s stunning drive and watched as Chris Kane’s header crashed back off his post – eventually yielded the goal they craved in the 64th minute.
Pars skipper Josh Falkingham tenaciously won possession just inside the home half and burst forward before slipping a pass into the path of Ferguson. The youngster’s first effort was blocked by Flynn but he reacted well to prod home the rebound.
With 11 minutes left, Dunfermline put the tie beyond their hosts when Dargo sent Thomson in to calmly slip the ball beyond Flynn.
Cowdenbeath manager Colin Cameron said: “I asked the players who wanted it more in the second half and unfortunately Dunfermline looked hungrier.”