COVE RANGERS 2-2 HAMILTON
Jamie Masson and Leighton McIntosh played the roles of super-subs as we twice fought back from behind to earn a point in a rip-roaring cinch Championship encounter with Accies at Balmoral Stadium.
Midfielder Masson had only been on the pitch for thirty-one seconds when he scored a wonder goal to make it 1-1 early in the second half.
Masson then set up fellow substitute McIntosh for 2-2, after Hamilton had regained the lead, to ensure Cove ended the afternoon with something for our efforts.
The players made it hard for themselves though, with poor defending allowing Jean Pierre Tiehi and Daniel O’Reilly to score the goals for the visitors.
Despite that, we might have won it had a Connor Scully effort not been controversially chalked off by referee Alan Newlands, and had Fraser Fyvie not seen his spectacular long range free-kick crash back off the Hamilton crossbar.
But the character showed in fighting back was enough to earn the Cove players an ovation from the home fans in the 661 crowd at the end.
Manager Jim McIntyre made three changes to the line-up from the previous game, with skipper Mitch Megginson, defender Scott Ross and midfielder Robbie Leitch all in from the start.
Hamilton had the first real chance, when Lewis Smith lashed a left foot shot from the edge of the area just wide of Cove keeper Kyle Gourlay’s right post in the ninth minute.
Gourlay was then forced to make a great save from Smith two minutes later, when he dived to his left to push the midfielder’s fourteen-yard shot behind for a corner.
We were close to opening the scoring in the twenty-first minute, following a great break forward by Charlie Gilmour.
He fed the ball up to Megginson, who laid it off for Fraser Fyvie to fire a powerful eighteen-yard shot inches off target.
Gilmour also started our next attack, with a marvellous long pass to Shay Logan, who was out on the right. The full-back showed some nifty footwork to get past Dario Zanatta, but Logan’s cross into the middle evaded Megginson at the edge of the Hamilton six yard box.
Logan underlined his defensive qualities with a fantastic last gasp tackle to stop Andy Winter shooting from ten yards, just after the half hour.
Hamilton appealed for a penalty when Zanatta tumbled after being tackled by Ross, but the referee waved play on.
Hamilton’s Scott Martin was booked in the 37th minute, for a clumsy tackle on Gilmour.
We threatened again a minute later, when Fyvie’s excellent cross from wide on the right required Hamilton keeper Ryan Fulton to dive and make a brave save at the feet of the inrushing Megginson in the six yard box.
Mark Reynolds was cautioned in the fortieth minute, for fouling Martin – and the visitors took the lead from the resulting free-kick.
Steve Lawson took it out on the right and TIEHI nipped in ahead of Reynolds to lash the ball past Gourlay from the edge of the six yard box.
Hamilton were unlucky not to go in at the interval two ahead.
Gourlay did well to save a shot from O’Reilly, with Logan then diverting the loose ball off the inside of his own right post before it was cleared from the danger area.
Scully had a decent chance just after the restart when he raced on to an Iain Vigurs pass over the Hamilton defence, but the left-back opted to attempt to cut the ball back rather than shoot, which gave the visitors the chance to clear.
Hamilton scorned a good opportunity in the 52nd minute when Zanatta broke into the box and rounded Gourlay, but he then took a poor touch, which resulted in the ball running harmlessly behind for a goal-kick.
Jamie Masson was introduced for Cieran Dunne in the fifty-fifth minute, and made an instant impact.
The ball fell to the midfielder fully twenty-five yards out and MASSON’s unstoppable strike flew into the top corner to send the Cove fans into raptures.
The joy for the home support was short lived because Hamilton went back in front just four minutes later.
Lewis Smith crossed from the right and O’REILLY was allowed to run in unmarked at the back post to score with a close range header.
We had the ball in the net again in the 65th minute when Logan’s cross was met by a great header from Masson and his nod on was tapped home by Scully, but referee Newlands disallowed the effort.
The official indicated he felt there had been a push by Gilmour as the ball came over, but video evidence appeared to prove otherwise.
McIntosh came on for Leitch in the 73rd minute and it would also prove to be a significant move by manager McIntyre.
We claimed for a penalty soon after when a shot from Vigurs was blocked by a Hamilton defender, but the referee judged no foul had been committed.
Fyvie was desperately unlucky not to draw us level a minute later.
His stunning thirty-five yard free-kick beat Fulton, but then rebounded to safety off the Hamilton crossbar.
Cove kept at it though and were rewarded with a second equaliser, in the 84th minute.
Masson swung a free kick over from wide on the left and McINTOSH ghosted in at the back post to power home a great header.
Accies had the game’s final opportunity, Lawson going close with a twenty-two yard free kick which flew wide of Gourlay’s left post.
Over the piece, the players picked up where they had left off against Queen’s Park, and another strong performance ensured the losing streak was brought to an end.
COVE RANGERS (4-1-4-1): Gourlay; Logan, Ross, Reynolds, Scully; Gilmour; Leitch (McIntosh 75), Fyvie, Vigurs, Dunne (Masson 56); Megginson(c)
Substitutes: McKenzie, Towler, Neill, Longstaff, Thomas
Goalscorers: Masson (57), McIntosh (85)
Booked: Reynolds (40)
HAMLTON (4-4-1-1): Fulton; Doyle, O’Reilly, Easton(c), Shiels; Smith, Martin, Lawson, Zanatta (One 63); Winter; Tiehi (Ngandu 82)
Substitutes: Smith, Brown, Owens, McGinn, Newbury
Goalscorers: Tiehi (41), O’Reilly (60)
Booked: Martin (37)
Referee: Alan Newlands
Attendance: 661Hamilton Draw Can Be Turning Point »