Cowdenbeath 4-1 Dumbarton

SFL Div 2, Central Park, Cowdenbeath, 24/3/12.

We were well beaten. Cowdenbeath may not be the best footballing team I have seen this season – Arbroath remain that – but they are probably the most effective. None of our players got a moment’s peace. Their players’ willingness to chase, harry and press, their eagerness to get to the ball, was an object lesson. This is how to deny the opposition the opportunity to play.

Add to that our continuing inability to defend set pieces and, in this game, to clear our lines or even simply pass the ball and it was a recipe for heavy defeat. Kevin Nicoll had a terrible game in midfield – absolutely awful – and I lost count of the number of times two of our players went for the same ball or one hit it against another and so lost possession. And having two smallish strikers up against tall defenders isn’t perhaps the best recipe for success.

We started brightly enough – without ever threatening their goal – but the signs at Cowden corners were there from early on. And so it came to pass that from one of those, Stephen Grindlay let the ball through him for the second game in a row. Their second came after we had again failed to clear the ball and it broke to the guy who had an easy chance.

Then, a minor miracle. Against the run of play and out of nothing Craig Dargo eventually made the most of a Joe Mbu mistake to score his first for Sons across the goalkeeper. It seemd to take an age to hit the net.

Faint hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Mbu was left unmarked from a free kick.

I was going to say we dominated the second half but that would only be true of possession. We threatened about twice and the keeper saved them both. At least we competed a bit better and started trying to stretch them wide.

Their fourth was a direct result of our (ridiculously late) double substitution as Cowden exploited the space left by Ryan Finnie’s removal to surge down the left and whip in a cross.

They should have got a fifth a minute later but somehow their forward hit it into Grindlay from 5 yards out.

After our straight losses to Cowden and Arbroath two weeks ago I had feared that after this one we’d be level with Stenny, but they lost today too.

Still four points ahead of fourth (with a negative goal difference!) but E Fife are coming up on the rails.

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