A Jason Cummings goal four minutes into added on time earned Hibs a much-needed victory, ending a run of three straight Championship defeats for Alan Stubb’s players.
But it was a win which left plucky Cowdenbeath devastated, the Fife club looking as if they were heading for all three points after goals from Sean Higgins and Jon Robertson had put them ahead following Jordon Forster’s first half header for the Capital club.
Debutant Dominique Malonga, a second half substitute, levelled the match from the penalty spot and then came that dramatic late winner from Cummings, his first goal at Easter Road.
Dylan McGeouch went straight into the starting line-up, but his fellow new arrivals Malonga and Jake Sinclair had to settle for a seat on the bench alongside Liam Craig and Liam Fontaine who made way for the on-loan Celtic midfielder and Paul Hanlon, back after a four match absence.
Easter Road legend Pat Stanton led out the teams as he celebrated his 70th birthday to find a clutch of former players forming a welcoming committee on the centre circle for the former club skipper and manager.
A minute’s applause as a tribute to Bobby Kinloch, the former Hibs player who died a fortnight ago, preceded kick-off.
Cowdenbeath made their intentions plain from the start, Jimmy Nicholl’s side lining up in a 4-5-1 formation which allowed the home team plenty possession with patience on the part of Alan Stubbs’ players clearly the key, particularly in the early stages of the match.
Matty Kennedy did, however, sting the hands of goalkeeper Robbie Thomson in Hibs first attack, Stubbs’s players there after retaining possession and probing for an opening against a packed defence.
Hibs were eventually rewarded in the 26th minute as Forster rose high above everyone at the back post to power home a header from Kennedy’s cross before Blue Brazil skipper John Armstrong sent a looping header over from Lewis Milne’s corner.
Cowdenbeath had rarely looked like hurting Hibs throughout the first half but they stunned the Easter Road crowd by equalising five minutes after the restart, Armstong’s low cross picking out Higgins who had the simple task of sliding the ball under goalkeeper Mark Oxley from six yards out.
Stubbs’ players were equally shocked and it could have got a lot worse two minutes later as Milne was presented with another chance, a timely challenge seeing the ball break for Higgins who beat Oxley only to see the ball crash down off the underside of the crossbar.
The Capital club didn’t heed that warning and fell behind in the 56th minute. Callum Gallagher’s cross catching Paul Hanlon’s head and dropping kindly for Jon Robertson to knock the ball into the empty net.
Referee John McKendrick had shown a marked reluctance to go for the cards and he incurred the wrath of the home support again in the 76th minute when he failed to spot Armstrong’s pull on Forster.
But his farside assistant Paul Reid did, a penalty was awarded and Malonga hammered the ball high into the net to haul the Hibees level.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray, Forster, Hanlon, Stevenson, S Allan (Malonga 57), S Robertson, Stanton (Sinclair 67), McGeouch, Kennedy, Heffernan (Cummings 71).
Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Fontaine, Craig, Handling.
Cowdenbeath: Thomson, Brett, Armstrong, Campbell, J Robertson, Gallagher (Johnston 79), Kane (Brownlie 74), Brett, Oyenuga (Miller 84), Fraser, Higgins.
Substitutes not used: Flynn, Jurisic, Lynas, Mitchell.
Referee: John McKendrick.