Edinburgh City manager Gary Jardine admitted his team’s 2-1 win at Cowdenbeath was a “massive” result as the Meadowbank men moved seven points clear of the Fifers at the foot of the League 2 table.
The hosts took the lead on 12 minutes through former Hearts striker Dale Carrick, but Dougie Gair equalised five minutes later from the penalty spot before Josh Walker won the points with a 64th-minute strike. Fraser Mullen was sent off for the Blue Brazil as they tried to find a leveller.
The result moves City above Clyde into eighth place on goal difference, although both the Bully Wee and the Blue Brazil have two games in hand over them.
Jardine said: “If I was to say it was just another three points I’d be lying. We’ve not won since December 31 so it’s massive in terms of giving us confidence and a lift. We’ve been playing well recently but sometimes it takes a bit more than that.
“Points on the board are important but we can’t go overboard. There hasn’t been many occasions this season when we’ve come back from behind so that’s a bonus and hopefully we can take that in to Saturday.”
It was two years to the day since Cowdenbeath suffered a humiliating 10-0 defeat to Hearts, but this result was far more damaging for them. Despite the games in hand, Liam Fox’s men have a improbable task on their hands in clawing back enough ground on any of the sides above them, although their manager certainly isn’t giving up the fight, saying: “People will look at the table and say ‘you are adrift’, and they are right. But we won’t stop fighting.”
Cowden took the lead in bizarre circumstances after 11 minutes. Carrick’s high cross from the right bounced off Andrew Stobie’s far post before the keeper attempted to palm it away, but ref Gavin Ross adjusted the ball to have crossed the line with the help of his assistant on the far side, despite City’s protests.
It took just five minutes for Jardine’s team to level, with the ref at the centre of proceedings again. Some pushing and shoving before Walker’s initial free-kick ended with a Cowden player on the deck, Fox claiming something untoward had occurred. Walker delivered again, and Ross was quick to blow for a perceived push by Liam Henderson, who saw yellow.
Back in the starting line up, skipper Gair stepped up and continued a fine record from 12 yards built up over the years, sending Jamie Snedden the wrong way to square things up.
The start of the second half brought a flurry of bookings for both sides. None were obvious, and given the first-half decisions, referee Ross certainly wasn’t endearing himself to either set of fans and players alike for being fussy in the extreme.
City went ahead four minutes after the hour. Walker’s initial left-foot strike was blocked. It came back to him on his weaker foot and he showed great technique to drill the ball low in to the far corner.
Then former Hearts and Hibs man Mullen shouted himself in to an early bath. Cowden wanted a penalty after they believed Kris Renton had been taken out by Stobie following a header. Mullen’s complaint was audibly X-rated and Ross’ approach to the game until then meant it was no shock when he flashed the red card.
City saw out the remaining 20 minutes and left new signing Derek Riordan on the bench. This wasn’t a game for him, but the vital three points give City some breathing space and a springboard to secure survival in their first year in the senior ranks of Scottish football.
Cowdenbeath: Sneddon, Ross, McLauchlan, Pyper, Mullen, Henderson, Renton, Rutherford, Carrick, Rumsby, Buchanan (Moore).
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore (Caddow 88), Porteous, Dunn, Walker, McKee, Mbu, Gair, Allan (Donaldson 90), Laird, Cummings (McConnell 80).