Although Owen Coyle had indicated that it would be a younger side that would travel to Cowdenbeath there was still plenty of experience in the starting line-up and it was the manager himself who set up the best early chance with a lovely lay off to Ryan Stevenson who curled his powerful parting shot just wide of the goal.
The 10th minute brought the opening goal and it came after the manager had seen his long range free kick bring out a great save from home keeper Orr. From the resultant corner the ball made its way to Steven Anderson and his peach of a cross back across goal was headed home by Martin Hardie.
Within five minutes we had increased our lead courtesy of Stephen Dobbie who produced a crisp finish from 20 yards to make it 2-0.
It was proving to be an open, entertaining game with the home side knocking the ball around well and in 28 minutes they reduced the deficit when Laurie Ellis rose unchallenged to head home a cross from the right. The goals continued to flow and the home side’s momentum brought them an equaliser ten minutes before the break when a rasping Graham Guy free kick was deflected into the roof of the net by Neil Janczyk.
‘The Blue Brazil’ had the bit between their teeth now and had a couple of good opportunities to take the lead before the break but Kevin Cuthbert produced a great save from a Markus Paatelainen long-ranger and the brother of former Saint Mixu brought the first half to a close by striking the post with a low drive. It was a somewhat bedraggled Saints side that left the pitch at the interval.
The second half saw Steven Doris and the trialist Norwegian on in place of Owen Coyle and Andy Jackson but it couldn’t turn the tide and the home side took a deserved lead in 50 minutes when Liam Buchanan was given far too much room at a corner kick and he headed home from 8 yards.
Saints got back on level terms in 63 minutes in this entertaining encounter and it was substitute Neil McCallum – on the pitch for just three minutes as a replacement for Dobbie – who got the goal. A lovely Stevenson pass found Martin Hardie and although his shot was parried by Cowden keeper Orr, the Saints youngster was on hand to fire the loose ball into the goal.
For just over an hour the game had been a good spectacle with both sides playing some good football but after that sixth goal the tempo did go out of the match somewhat and the final 25 minutes were played out at a lesser pace and with fewer incidents.
An excellent workout for the players involved and Saints were made to work hard for their draw by well organised, dangerous Fife outfit who can surely make an impression at their new-found higher level if this performance was anything to go by.
For Saints, the quality of finishing was a real plus but the manager will be disappointed to have seen his side turn a two goal lead into a 2-3 deficit. The trialist was played in a striker role in the second half but struggled to make any sort of significant impact.
SAINTS: Cuthbert, Anderson, Dyer (Barr), Rutkiewicz, Weir, Janczyk, Stevenson, Hardie, Jackson (Trialist), Dobbie (McCallum), Coyle (Doris).
Subs not used: O’Donnell, O’Brien