Sunday 24 July 2016, 12.30, Pennypit Park

Day two of the Preston tournament hosted by Preston Athletic. The teams involved are Arniston Rangers, Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare, Cowdenbeath Under 20 and Preston.

A two day event where the semi-finals took place the day before and saw the hosts lose 2-0 to Easthouses Lily and Arniston win 5-2 against the young Cowden side.  Today sees beaten teams play for third place and Easthouses Lily and Arniston face each other for the trophy.  The 12.30 kick off therefore sees Preston Athletic up against Cowdenbeath Under 20.

A second viewing of Preston Athletic after seeing them win against Crossgates Primrose in the Tranent Tournament the Sunday before.  Sad to see that the Pennypit ground had been the victim of vandals with graffiti scrawled across the dugout and paint thrown across the stands and masonry, while broken bottles of alcohol were strewn on the ground.  Reports that it was all caught on CCTV, so hopefully the culprits will be caught.

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Cowdenbeath are currently in Scottish League Two, the fourth tier of the Scottish football league system after two consecutive relegations.  Formed in 1881, the club has played at their Central Park home since 1917, where they share the facilities with stock car racing. They first joined the Scottish Football League in 1905. Although they have never won any of the major honours in Scottish football, they have won lower tier titles on five occasions. They competed in the top division of the SFL from 1924 to 1934, but have only completed one further top flight season since, in 1970–71.

They were relegated from the Championship on the last day of 2014-15 when they lost to fellow strugglers Alloa Athletic.  With Livingston also winning, they went from eighth to bottom.  A play off defeat to Queens Park last season saw another demotion.  New manager Liam Fox took over in the close season, leaving his youth coaching duties at Hearts to join the club.  He has made several signings for the new season.

Despite my best efforts, Cowdenbeath have not been forthcoming with their team.

The Cowdenbeath team seemed to arrive about 5 minutes before the allotted kick off time, already with their strips on as they got off the bus.  They had to borrow a ball from Preston and their coach told them to “kick it about the now until the ref is ready”.  Not the ideal preparation.

Cowdenbeath should maybe prepare like that for every game as they took the lead straight from kick off.  Number 2 played the ball forward and Muirhead turned away from Wilson and hammered the ball into the corner for an early lead.

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They almost made it two a minute later when Sutherland had a chance, but Callan blocked with his knees.

Cowdenbeath continued to force the play and Number 10 found number 7 who hit the ball well and Callan managed to push the ball behind.

A good move by Cowdenbeath in 14 minutes ended with number 10 laying the ball off to Sutherland on the right hand side of the box and he drilled the ball low into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.

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Number 2 for the Fifers received the ball on the right and cut inside before curling the ball goalwards, but it went just wide.

In 25 minutes, a great ball by number 15 sent Muirhead clear again, but Callan saved with his feet to prevent Preston going further behind.

Lawson came forward for Preston in 26 minutes and stepped past Wilson, but he tried to square the ball rather than going himself and Cowdenbeath cleared.

Back up the other end a minute later and number 10 plays a one two with Sutherland to create another chance for Cowden, but Callan blocked.

Good skill by Cowdenbeath’s number 7 in 29 minutes released number 2, who made a great run forward, but Callan saved again.

Cameron made a powerful run forward for Preston in 37 minutes, but he shot into the side netting.

In 39 minutes, number 10 played the ball through for Muirhead with the Preston defence all over the place.  Muirhead went round Callan, but his shot was blocked.  It came straight back to him and he rolled the ball into the empty net for number three.

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The best chance of the half for Preston came with four minutes to the break.  Lawson had a clear sight of goal but saw his effort come back off the bar.

With four minutes gone in the second half, Preston got a lifeline.  McLeod crossed in to the box and the keeper dropped the ball at the feet of Henderson, who put it in the net.

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Preston looked like they saw a way back into the game following their goal and in 56 minutes they broke quickly and Cameron shot for the top corner but the keeper did well to push it away for a corner.

Sutherland broke forward for Cowdenbeath down the right in 59 minutes and despite it looking like he was being held, fired into the corner to make it 4-1.

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In 63 minutes, a good ball into the box by Preston’s number 17 was met by the head of fellow sub 12, but it was straight at the keeper who gathered at the second attempt.

A great sliding tackle by Cowden’s number 15 stopped Preston being clean through in 64 minutes.

Cowden’s Sutherland and Muirhead found themselves through on goal in 76 minutes and the former passed to the latter who slid the ball under Callan for the sixth goal of the game.

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Preston’s number 12 found himself through on goal in 83 minutes and took it round the keeper, but off balance and from a tight angle, he shot over.

In the last minute, Cowden’s number 2 came forward and after a number of stepovers, was brought down in the box for a penalty.  With the last kick of the game, Sutherland stepped up and put the penalty wide.

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Number 2 and 6 were very good for Cowdenbeath, with 4 and 7 also impressive.  A bad day for Preston, with Callan preventing an even bigger defeat their only real plus.  They looked flat and were chasing shadows for most of the game against an energetic and sharp team.

Full Time: Preston Athletic 1 Cowdenbeath 5

Admission: £5 (which included both games)

Preston Athletic: 1 Bruce Callan, 2 McLeod (12 61), 3 Reece Cochrane, 4 Darryl Wilson, 5 Scott Siegel, 6 Ross Colquhoun, 7 Brandon Cameron, 8 Scott Barclay, 9 Ritchie, 10 Lawson (17 61), 11 Frazer Henderson.  Subs: 12, 14 Kenny Erskine, 15 Summers 17.

Cowdenbeath Under 20:  1 Sean, 2 Jack, 3 Louis (16 45), 4 Hamish, 15 ?, 6 Charlie, 7 ?, 8 Josh Wilson (14 70), 9 Scott Sutherland, 10 Wayne (McManus 58), 11 Cammy Muirhead. Subs: 12 Sean McManus, 14 Deano, 16 Gary.

Referee: Daniel Graves

Programme: None.

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