Touching Distance

02 April 2012 04:13
Cowdenbeath will more or less wrap up automatic promotion to Division 1 on Saturday if they beat 2nd placed Arbroath at Central Park. A win for the Blue Brazil would mean they would have to lose their last four matches, with The Lichties winning their fin

Arbroath will hope to match the class of '72 and prevent Cowdenbeath from winning promotion this season but it will be a tall order for the Red Lichties in 2012 with The Blue Brazil within touching distance of the title. Eric Sellars and Billy Pirie scored as Arbroath won 2-0 at Central Park in the closing weeks of season 1971/2 to shatter a Cowden side that had led Division 2 for most of that season. In the 'run-in' 'Beath were to crumble and it would be Arbroath and Dumbarton overtaking the Fifers to gain a place in Scotland's top league. Arbroath of the early 70's were a memorable side, beating Rangers 3-2 at Ibrox in early '74, with names such as Gordon Marshall (father of the ex-Celtic and Killie 'keeper), Derek Rylance and of course Pirie and Sellars still legends in Lichties folklore. Saturday 26th March 2006 saw two goals in the last 17 minutes from Cowden's David McKenna secure The Blue Brazil at least a Play-off spot in season 2005/6 as Arbroath were beaten 4-2 in the Kingdom but Mixu Paatelainen's side were to push on to win a divisional title for Cowden for the first time since 1938/9 with a final day win over Elgin City giving Cowden the Division 3 Championship. Arbroath finished fourth in the league to scrape into the play-offs but were denied promotion by this route for the second season running. The Lichties play-off hoodoo was eventually overcome in 2007/8. Arbroath finished 4th in Division 3 and disposed of Cowdenbeath 2-1 on aggregate thanks to a late extra time winner from Assistant Manager, Robbie Raeside, in the play-off semi final. Stranraer were the opponents in the play off final and in undoubtedly the best performance of the season, the Lichties ran out 2-0 winners in the home tie 1st leg at Gayfield. At Stranraer, the Arbroath goal was pummelled for much of the match but only 1 goal was conceded by a resolute defence and the Lichties held on for a 2-1 aggregate win and promotion. Now these old lower division foes meet again at Central Park on Saturday with a four figure attendance assured at a ground that has seldom housed more than 350 fans in the league all season. Both Arbroath and Cowden surprisingly lost last weekend to Brechin and Albion Rovers respectively but this Saturday is a cup final and it guarantees to be one of the matches of the day outside the SPL.