Alan Brazil (left) tries to evade Cowdenbeath's Jay Stein
Cowdenbeath and Stenhousemuir were forced to settle for a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Second Division play-off final at Central Park.
Stenhousemuir's Willie Lyle and Scott Dalziel saw efforts saved by Cowden keeper David Hay before the home side's Jay Shields clipped the top of the bar.
Chris McLeod received a second booking for the visitors on 82 minutes.
And, six minutes later, Cowdenbeath's Darren McGregor was shown a straight red card for violent conduct.
The two sides meet again at Stenhousemuir's Ochilview on Saturday.
Cowdenbeath manager Danny Lennon: "These games are never classics but was disappointing was that it was a beautiful surface out there and I felt the ball could've been passed a little bit better from out point of view.
"We knew their game-plan, we knew they would come and make it very difficult for us and look to use their height advantage over us at set plays. They defended well.
"I was disappointed in my own team's performance. We tended to make the wrong decisions. I can't ever fault their effort and commitment.
"We're going to Ochilview and it's nothing each and I think Saturday's a whole different ball game. It's like a cup final.
"We've got to go and play on Saturday and show what we've got.
"We've got to go with the same commitment and same desire and if I get that with a wee bit more composure, then I think we'll give ourselves a better opportunity."
Stenhousemuir manager John Coughlin: "I think both teams in a perfect world would have liked to have played a bit better and knocked the ball about.
"But with the dimensions of the pitch at Cowdenbeath, it's usually tight. You get two seconds on the ball before somebody clatters you and there was a bit of that tonight - a lot of perspiration and very little inspiration.
"We had to make sure we came here and tried to take some advantage back to Ochilview on Saturday and, by advantage, I mean making sure we didn't concede a goal which is what we did.
"We're quite happy going back to Ochilview all square. I'd like to think that our pitch will give us an advantage.
"Chris McLeod was sent off for two for fairly two soft fouls, we felt.
"The challenge that Darren McGregor made probably wouldn't have been deemed as reckless at all two years ago but unfortunately in the climate we're in, it seems to result in a red card all the time. I think he was a wee bit unfortunate."
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