ALLOA ATHLETIC 1–0 COVE RANGERS
The team fell to a third defeat in five matches as a Conor Sammon goal proved enough to earn all three points for Alloa in a fixture lacking in quality and excitement.
With a number of players unavailable through injury and suspension, the manager made four changes from last week’s home defeat to Queen of the South. Nick Suman was given the nod in goal ahead of Balint Demus, Mark Reynolds replaced the suspended Will Gillingham and there were also starts for Arron Darge and Tyler Mykyta.
On a hot, sticky afternoon in Clackmannanshire, the home side were the first to threaten, Steven winning a free-kick wide left after going down when challenged by Cameron Stewart. The Alloa striker swung in a dangerous delivery which Taggart got on the end of in the six yard box, but the central defender could only divert the ball wide.
Both sides then enjoyed spells of possession, but neither were able to make it count, in what was a scrappy, untidy start to the game.
Our first decent move came in the fourteenth minute. McGowan chipped the ball forward for Burrell to run on to, Rumarn played a 1-2 with Megginson, and the captain wriggled free of two defenders to shoot goalwards. Morrison was however able to beat away his effort.
That sparked Alloa into life and the overlapping Deveney sent in an inviting cross which Sammon got a touch to, bringing a fine save out of Suman who dived full-length to his left to push the ball to safety.
Cove should have taken the lead in the twenty-first minute. Arron Darge won a crunching tackle before threading an excellent pass down the right. Williamson got to it and skipped past Neill, raced into the box, then squared for Mitch Megginson ten yards out, but the striker took a touch rather than shoot first time, and Debayo was able to close him down.
Alloa were constantly trying to find left wing-back Euan Deveney and from their latest attack he fired in another dangerous delivery which Reynolds positioned himself well to clear to safety.
The home side did make the breakthrough in the thirty-third minute. A corner on the left was swung high outside the box, Neill headed it into the area, and after the ball took a deflection, Conor SAMMON was standing unmarked six yards out and had the easiest of tasks to nudge it past Suman.
Steven then sent in a menacing cross from the left which Reynolds did well to knock over his own crossbar.
We were offering little in the way of an attacking threat, causing few, if any, problems for the Alloa rearguard, our forays forward ending generally in a misplaced or overhit pass. There was some hope in the final minute of the half when Megginson gathered the ball and switched play to Scully. Connor teed it up for Mykyta and the youngster controlled before firing in a decent shot which had PJ Morrison scrambling across his line to gather.
There was an equally positive start upon the resumption. Scully found Mykyta who sent in an inviting delivery. Scott Williamson nodded it down and McGowan attempted a hook shot which Morrison saved. There were loud appeals for a penalty, the midfielder having been caught late when shooting, but referee White waved them away.
Alloa countered quickly and Steven rolled the ball back to the edge of the box from where Scougall left fly. Suman dived low to his right to make a decent save.
We then forced a couple of free-kicks in dangerous areas, but Mykyta was unable to find a team-made from his deliveries.
Tyler then made way for the introduction of Kyle Connell, the substitute coming on wide left, Rumarn Burrell going to the right with Megginson supporting Williamson through the middle.
There followed a period of sustained Cove pressure, but the team was unable to make any serious breakthrough, the ball being played back and fore in front of the resolute Alloa defence.
Connell and Burrell did link up well, finding a way into the penalty area in the sixty-seventh minute, but Kyle was closed down before he could get a shot away, then Darge played the ball in from the right, but Megginson’s first time effort was blocked by Devine.
A Connell free-kick found Burrell who laid the ball off to Williamson, but his effort was deflected behind for a fruitless corner.
Cameron Stewart then needed treatment for a knee injury, the defender being forced to limp off to be replaced by Mark Gallagher. Sena dropped from midfield into the back line.
Soon after, McGowan, Scully and Gallagher combined on the left, the latter feeding the ball infield for Megginson. Mitch gathered and shot from twenty-three yards, but his effort bounced wide of the keeper’s right post.
Deep into stoppage time, Gallagher curled in a cross from the left but Williamson only just failed to connect and the ball ran through safely to Morrison. Connell then probed down the left, crossing for Burrell, but the striker’s header cleared the bar in what was the final action of another desperately disappointing afternoon.
ALLOA ATHLETIC (3-5-2): Morrison; Taggart (c), Neill, Debayo (Devine 29); Cawley, Roberts, Hetherington, Scougall (Coulson 76), Deveney (O’Donnell 66); Steven (Donnelly 66), Sammon (Cannon 76)
Substitutes: Ogayi, Graham, Robertson, Buchanan
Goalscorers: Sammon (33)
Booked: Cawley (49), Scougall (73), Cannon (80)
COVE RANGERS (4-3-1-2): Suman; Darge, Stewart (Gallagher 84), Reynolds, Scully; McGowan, Sena, Mykyta (Connell 55); Megginson (c); Burrell, Williamson
Substitutes: Demus, Ochmanski
Booked: Megginson (82)
Referee: Colin White
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