Nov 5 2008 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
PROMOTION challenges are built on keeping the home fires burning.
And if Rovers are to gatecrash the play-off party at the end of the season, form at Cliftonhill will need to be improved considerably.
Performances like this one help. An excellent display saw Paul Martin’s determined players wear down the Fifers in the final quarter of the match.
At 1-1, this was a contest that could have gone either way until long-range rockets from Alan Benton and Ross Harris ensured the three points stayed in Coatbridge.
Incredibly, this was only Rovers’ second win of 2008 in front of their own supporters.
But more afternoons such as this at Cliftonhill will go a long way to remedying that statistic and enhancing the club’s hopes of Second Division football next season.
“I thought the game was a great advert for Third Division football,” said Martin. “This was a real step forward for us.
“We felt hard done by when we lost to Cowdenbeath back-to-back earlier in the season.
“But what pleased me most about this performance was that we got a result that our good play has deserved.
“We had a lot of chances and I actually think we took the hardest ones so there is still some work to do on that front.
“We know there is a long way to go but we are getting our rewards just now and if we can keep this up, we can be optimistic about winning more games at home.”
With the euphoria of Scottish Cup success over Berwick Rangers still hanging in the air, Rovers started positively with Tommy Coyne denied by keeper Scott Gallacher.
The Fifers goalie then scrambled to save from Alan Reid but was beaten for the first time in the 16th minute.
Bobby Barr has been on fire since he joined Rovers in the summer and his stock rose further when his 20-yard strike from the corner of the box flew past Gallacher.
It was a goal that spurred the Blue Brazil into action but they created little to trouble Chris McCluskey while the hosts probed and plotted.
Gallacher blocked a Coyne volley at the start of second half but it wasn’t long before Cowdenbeath equalised.
In the 58th minute, ex-Rover John Gemmell’s header from a corner was parried by McCluskey into the path of John Armstrong who fired home.
Martin’s men shrugged off that setback to dominate again and following some impressive build-up by Benton and Barr, Coyne nodded just wide.
Marc Pollock and Barr then came close before defender Todd Lumsden’s header skimmed across goal.
Rovers needed something special – it duly arrived in the 74th minute.
Callan Adam’s corner eventually reached Benton who blasted home a stunning strike that almost burst the net.
Both sides played their part in an exciting finale which saw Rovers round off victory when Harris reproduced a dipping drive similar to the one he netted at Berwick.
More of this and it will be time to rename the ground – Cliftonhill for thrills, anyone?
Advertiser man of the match: Bobby Barr. Another wonderful display from the youngster who bagged a fine goal.
Moment of the match: Alan Benton’s screamer swung the contest back in favour of Rovers.
Albion Rovers: McCluskey, Reid, McGowan, Donnelly, Benton, Lumsden, Harris, Coyne (Pollock 61), Canning, Barr (Eaglesham 89), Adam (Ferry 79). Subs not used: Walker, Mitchell(gk).
Cowdenbeath: Gallacher, Droudge (Ramsay 61), Fleming, McGregor, Armstrong, Hodge, Fairbairn (Adamson 45), Tomana, Dempster, Gemmell (Stein 85), McQuade. Subs not used: Linton, Hay(gk).