Cowden lucky not to have their cup hopes washed away by Lichties

Arbroath players mob Mark Whatley as he gives Arbroath the lead
Arbroath players mob Mark Whatley as he gives Arbroath the lead

A monsoon swept over Cowdenbeath’s Central Park but it was the Fifers who came close to having their Scottish Cup hopes washed away.

Looking down the fixture list on Saturday morning, a few ties certainly stood out as having ‘shock’ potential.

Despite Arbroath’s lowly league position in the nation’s bottom tier, those who have watched the side’s improvement in recent weeks had reason to be quietly confident about their chances.

Add to that that League One Cowdenbeath have been hardly ripping up trees this season themselves and it was set up nicely for Todd Lumsden’s side.

The team were looking to kick on from a confidence boosting 2-2 draw at Annan seven days before.

They picked up from where they had left off, taking the game to Cowden and camping out in the home side’s half.

But both sides found it tough in really brutal conditions.

It would be easy, and lazy, to blame the torrential downpours the players had to endure for what was a pretty scrappy start.

But the ferocity of the rainfall, matched by a gale force blast, did make life almost impossible for the two sides.

Behind the main stand Cowdenbeath’s locals enjoyed the opening of their ‘winter wonderland’ carnival as the game was played, but the queues for the dodgems were dwarfed by those heading out the exit again to the comfort of their central heating.

Inside the ground, and to their credit, both sides rolled up their sleeves and got on with things as best they could.

The Red Lichties were roared on by an impressive travelling support whose decision to spend the afternoon inside the ramshackle Central Park on a freezing November afternoon was utterly commendable.

On the park Arbroath looked slick going forward and had a couple of really decent opportunities to open the scoring.

Skipper Mark Whatley was the first to get a real sight of goal when the ball dropped invitingly for him eight yards from goal.

Whatley had time to get his foot over the ball but totally miscued his kick and let Cowdenbeath off the hook.

Lumsden’s side could sense the game was there for the taking with Cowdenbeath having no response to their barrage of attacks.

Darren Ramsay was the next to pester Jamie Snedden’s goal but again he couldn’t find the net.

There was a real nagging feeling that Arbroath could eventually be made to pay for their missed chances.

Cowdenbeath do have some quality in their ranks and couldn’t continue to play as badly as they had.

But those fears were dashed when the visitors grabbed a deserved lead.

Cowden just couldn’t clear their lines from an Arbroath attack and the loose ball broke to Whatley.

The midfielder picked his spot and lashed an effort past Snedden.

The goal woke the home side from their slumber, with boss Colin Nish also re-jigging things from the bench.

He brought on striker Craig Johnston and the forward wasn’t long in pulling his side level.

A neat ball was whipped into the box and Johnston was first to react, glancing his header past Allan Fleming.

But Arbroath refused to curl up and settle for a replay at Gayfield.

Again they set out to take the game to Cowdenbeath and had a couple of glorious chances to seal the tie.

Andrew Munro was the first to miss when he should have done better before Bobby Linn fired wide from eight yards out.