Huge Win As Cove Return To Playoff Spot

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The team pulled off a massive victory which, thanks also to Falkirk’s thrashing of Montrose, saw us climb back up into the playoff places. Albion helped, scoring two own goals, while Sena notched his first for the club and Rumarn Burrell netted his twentieth league goal of the campaign.

The big team news was the absence of captain Mitch Megginson, who pulled up in training on Thursday night with a groin injury. Kyle Connell took over up front. There was a change in goal too, Nick Suman back in for the first time since the Scottish Cup defeat at Kilmarnock.

Blair Yule and Matty Shiels were also posted missing, but fit-again Cameron Stewart returned to take his place on a depleted bench.

Stirling kicked-off in bright sunshine, but it was Cove who enjoyed the bulk of the early possession without creating any clear openings. The closest we came to doing so was when Fyvie chipped a clever ball over the top for Burrell to run on to, but his cross was gathered by Currie with Connell lurking.

The visitors then threatened for the first time, McPake cutting in from the left to curl a twenty yard effort wide of the right post.

Jones sent in a couple of crosses, the first too long for Burrell, the second headed out for a corner by McGregor, then a Scully delivery found McGowan but the midfielder headed well wide.

Our next attack came from direct play, Suman firing the ball downfield towards Connell who flicked it into the path of Burrell. The striker laid it off for Scully, but after darting into the box, Connor shot over from just inside the box.

Sixty seconds later we were behind. McPake again cut in, but this time sent a crossfield pass into the path of Kieran OFFORD who took a touch before firing low into the bottom corner from twenty yards.

The Cove players responded well to that setback, continued to enjoy most of the possession, and were level midway through the half. Mark Reynolds, a rich source of assists this season, drove forward and angled a long ball across the area. Rumarn BURRELL took a touch, moved clear of Clark, and sent his shot beyond Currie just inside the far post. It was his twenty-third goal in all competitions.

He might have netted again soon after, narrowly failing to get a shot away after an excellent Fyvie pass, then from a Scully corner Josh Kerr’s volley flew just wide. Soon after, the midfielder tried again, his shot charged down as the team kept up the pressure.

We might have scored an excellent goal in the thirty-fifth minute following a superb move. Kyle Connell switched play with a clever diagonal, Arron Darge fed in Burrell, and the striker’s low cross found Connell, but his first time effort was saved by Currie. The lead was however delayed only by seconds.

Scully whipped in the resultant corner from the right, and under pressure from Kerr, Jordan McGREGOR could only send a powerful header soaring past his own keeper.

Five minutes before the interval, Burrell looked to have been fouled on the edge of the box, but the referee waved play on. The striker required lengthy treatment and had to be helped from the pitch, Sena his replacement.

Fraser Fyvie dominated the start of the second half. His pass wide allowed Jones to win a corner, and from the midfielder’s low delivery – a move which worked to perfection against Edinburgh City a few weeks ago, Scully’s shot was blocked. Fyvie then whipped in an inviting cross from the left, but there were no takers.

We did however extend our lead in the fifty-sixth minute. From a long Connell throw-in, the ball was half cleared, and after some interplay, SENA gathered, made space, and shot low across Currie into the bottom corner of the net.

In no time at all, our advantage was reduced as Albion hit back in spectacular fashion. The ball was played to Cammy CLARK, and with too much space to run into, the left-back smashed a thirty yard effort high past Suman.

There was a scare soon after when the big keeper fell heavily collecting a high ball, and Doyle had to block a shot on the line. Referee McFarlane waved away Stirling shouts for a penalty, and Nick was eventually able to continue after lengthy treatment. Arron Darge also required the attention of physio Charlotte Clark, but he too carried on, and sent a superb ball over the top for Fyvie to chase, his cross being diverted for a corner.

Will Gillingham then replaced Paul McGowan as Paul Hartley looked for a bit more defensive insurance, but we continued to look dangerous on the counter, only the final ball letting us down on a number of occasions.

McPake created an opening for Albion, his cutback finding Hilson, but the substitute’s shot was half blocked by Darge and Suman gathered the ball. Again, the visitors claimed for a penalty, again they were rebuffed.

The boys finally secured the three points with the game moving into stoppage time. A long ball forward caused issues for McGregor, and with Kyle Connell pressurising the centre-half, he played a hurried pass back towards keeper Blair CURRIE, who got a foot to it, but could only divert it into his own net.

It was a deserved, if hard-fought, victory for Cove, and with champions Falkirk putting seven past Montrose at Links Park a few hours later, the team moved back up into fourth place with just five games remaining.

COVE RANGERS (4-1-3-2): Suman; Darge, Doyle, Reynolds, Jones; Kerr; Fyvie (c), McGowan (Gillingham 78), Scully; Connell, Burrell (Sena 44)

Substitutes: Demus, Stewart

Goalscorers: Burrell (22), McGregor (OG 35), Sena (56), Currie (OG 90)

Booked: Connell (82), Kerr (90)

STIRLING ALBION (4-2-3-1): Currie; McGeachie, McGregor, McLean (c), Clark; Banner (Cooper 84), Crane; Offord, Leitch (Milne 84), McPake; Spence (Hilson 72)

Substitutes: Weir, Cummins, Molotnikov, Moore

Goalscorers: Offord (17), Clark (58)

Booked: McGregor (34), Crane (60), McPake (67)

Referee: Dan McFarlane

Attendance: 536

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