Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine says it was the heroics of Cowdenbeath goalkeeper David McGurn that prevented his side from moving off the bottom of SPFL League Two.
The Meadowbank outfit can count themselves desperately unlucky not to have taken maximum points – a 1-1 stalemate ensuring Jardine’s men remain two points adrift of the Blue Brazil and managerless Montrose at the foot of the table.
Despite their superiority for vast spells of Saturday’s match, it required a Dougie Gair strike 11 minutes from time to salvage a point cancelling out Kris Renton’s first-half header.
Jardine, though, was delighted with the application shown from his players who have now gone six matches unbeaten. But it was the form of the visitors’ No. 1 that really caught the eye of the City boss.
“Cowdenbeath have got themselves a Premiership goalie who can only play part-time,” Jardine said. “He’s fantastic and miles ahead of anybody else at our level and perhaps he should be playing in the top league. I think he had at least four top-class saves, wonder saves so what a game he had.
“But I’m really proud of the players. We started really well and created some good chances. I think we stepped up another level where other teams might have packed the tools away and just felt as if it wasn’t going to be their day. But even when we got our equaliser I felt we could go on and win it. It takes a bit of convincing when you’re telling people you are a good side but we’re getting there.
“Teams will look at the stats and see that we’re still bottom but we’ve lost two games in ten now so there’s certainly no lack of confidence within my changing room.”
McGurn’s brilliance was exposed as early as the sixth minute, the former Raith Rovers shot-stopper turning away Ross Allum’s angled shot after defender Jamie Pyper had needlessly given away possession 25 yards from goal.
Two minutes later, Pyper misjudged a long clearance allowing Allum to run through on goal but last season’s top goalscorer was again denied by the outstretched arm of McGurn who once again spared his team-mate’s blushes.
The McGurn versus Allum show reappeared in the 25th minute, the 28-year-old striker’s rasping drive unorthodoxly chested wide by McGurn as the hosts piled on the pressure.
However, a sucker punch arrived seven minutes before the interval when Cowden, on a rare venture forward, found themselves in front. Dean Brett had space on the right before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Renton to power his header down and beyond Andrew Stobie into the far corner.
Renton went close to doubling the Fife side’s advantage after the break but saw his effort come crashing back off the crossbar before Marc Laird’s threaded pass sent Ousman See clear, but this time it was the substitute’s turn to be foiled by the impressive McGurn.
City cranked up the pressure as they sought an equaliser and See again came agonisingly close from Ryan Porteous’ delivery as the towering striker’s glancing header was plucked away from the far post by the outstretched hand of McGurn.
Nonetheless, the home side’s endeavours finally paid dividends when Gair lashed home a loose ball following Laird’s inviting delivery.
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore, Harrison (Caddow 77), Mbu, Gair, Porteous, Laird, McFarland, McConnell (Cummings 63), Guthrie (See 56), Allum. Subs: Antell, Dunn, Muhsin, Gibson.
Cowdenbeath: McGurn, Brett, Todorov, Pyper, McLauchlan, Ross, O’Brien (Mullen 70), Miller, Moore, Johnston (Muirhead 75), Renton. Subs: Sneddon, Sives, Rutherford, Robertson, Murrell.
Referee: G Beaton.