League One / Indodrill Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 17 Feb 24 / 15:00

Alloa Athletic




Cove Rangers



An error-strewn display saw the team fall to another defeat as our run without a win in the league stretched to seven matches. The loss also saw us drop out of the play-off places for the first time since the early part of the campaign.

Having taken a knock late on at Rugby Park, Nick Suman was ruled out for this one, Balint Demus returning for the first time since breaking his thumb at Annan in December. Arron Darge was also missing due to a hamstring injury, while in the other change, Josh Kerr dropped to the bench.

Matty Shiels and Ola Lawal, cup-tied last weekend, both returned, Matty in at left wingback with Ola among the substitutes, while Cameron Stewart lined-up alongside Gillingham and Reynolds in the back three.

Cove got the game underway on a damp, miserable afternoon in Clackmannanshire, but it was the home side who threatened first, a forceful Sena challenge stopping Steven’s break down the Alloa right. O’Donnell swung in the resultant corner, easily gathered by Demus, the young keeper no doubt happy to have had an early touch.

We began to probe, Megginson and Burrell linking up, and Mikey Doyle prominent on the overlap, but were unable to make a breakthrough, and the early stages suggested a tight encounter was in store.

In the ninth minute, Blair Yule surged away from two opponents and jinked into the box, but his cross from the byeline was clutched by Morrison. The midfielder was again involved soon after, fastening on to a Megginson pass into the area, but Neill half-blocked his shot, and the keeper was able to gather.

Cove were now enjoying a period of dominance, albeit without creating any clear cut openings, and a flowing move involving Megginson, Scully, Shiels and Yule again ended without us getting a shot away.

The opening goal very nearly came with seventeen minutes on the clock. Mitch sent an angled pass for Doyle to run on to, the defender standing up an inviting cross to the back post. Burrell was able to get a flick on the ball, and it looked goalbound, only for Neill to clear off the line.

Megginson was again the provider in our next attack, Burrell chasing down his pass and shrugging clear of his marker, but his effort was too central, and Morrison was able to tip it over.

With the rain now falling heavily, Alloa finally enjoyed some respite, forcing their second corner of the afternoon, but Demus was again equal to the task, confidently catching O’Donnell’s dangerous delivery.

Normal service was soon resumed, Cove enjoying a high percentage of the possession, and our latest move very nearly paid dividends.

Having battled for the ball on the halfway line, Rumarn Burrell chipped a clever pass down the line for Matty Shiels to run on to, O’Donnell heading his cross out for a corner. Scully swung it in, Shiels nodded the ball back into the danger area, but Burrell could only divert it over the crossbar.

Megginson and Doyle then combined, Mikey’s low cross cut out by Morgyn Neill on the six yard line, and seconds later Burrell jinked into the area, his powerful shot diverted for a corner by the retreating Neill.

Out of the blue, Alloa snatched the lead. On a rare counter-attack, Steven got on the wrong side of Mark Reynolds, and as the central defender tried to recover, he clipped the winger. Referee Grainger pointed immediately to the spot, and Scott TAGGART stepped up to send Demus the wrong way, finding the bottom left corner.

We finished the first half on the attack, but were unable to fashion any chances, and had to settle for a scoreline which was hardly a fair reflection of the balance of play.

The team seemed undaunted, resuming on the front foot and seeing plenty of the ball, but the final pass was missing, and we were unable to threaten Morrison in the home goal. We were to be punished as Alloa doubled their advantage soon after the interval.

Will Gillingham failed to deal with a through ball and the on-form Bobby WALES finished confidently from the edge of the area, showing the clinical edge which had been missing in our play.

The manager made his first substitution soon after, Kyle Connell replacing Stewart as the side reverted to a back four. Within a few minutes, he was forced into another, Connor Scully requiring lengthy treatment before limping off, Josh Kerr taking over in midfield.

Alloa were now the team in charge, Wales’ pace and directness stretching our back line, and Demus did well to smother one dangerous low cross which skidded across the box.

But, as the game moved into its final twenty minutes, we snatched a lifeline. Doyle fed the ball out to Yule and Blair’s cross was inch-perfect, Kyle CONNELL meeting it powerfully with his forehead to find the bottom corner.

The home side hit back immediately, Demus pulling off a superb one-handed save to deny Taylor STEVEN, but our relief was short-lived, the winger cutting in from the right in their next attack to curl an unstoppable shot into the net from twenty-five yards.

Connell then let rip from long range, Morrison beating his effort away, and as Megginson attempted to pounce on the rebound, the keeper recovered to claw the ball to safety. He was again called into action almost immediately, racing from his line to deny Burrell.

Kyle Connell then delivered our latest corner, Josh Kerr meeting it first time, his effort flying just wide of the near post.

But any hopes of a late comeback were finally extinguished with six minutes remaining, Taylor STEVEN finding space in the area to fire low past the despairing Demus.

The home side were reduced to ten men, McKay sent off for a challenge on Ola Lawal. Sena might have snatched a consolation soon after, having one shot saved and another, from the rebound, bundled off the line.

It was to be the last action of another disappointing afternoon.

ALLOA ATHLETIC (4-2-3-1): Morrison; Taggart (c), McKay, Neill, Coulson (Sammon 55); Roberts, Virtanen; Steven, Scougall (Cawley 83), O’Donnell (Sutherland 58); Wales (Buchanan 83)

Substitutes: Ogayi, Robertson, Donnelly, Roy, Graham

Goalscorers: Taggart (pen 42), Wales (53), Steven (73) (85)


Sent Off: McKay (89)

COVE RANGERS (3-5-2): Demus; Stewart (Connell 60), Gillingham, Reynolds; Doyle, Yule (Lawal 82), Sena, Scully (Kerr 65), Shiels; Burrell, Megginson (c)

Substitutes: Robertson, Jones, McGowan

Goalscorers: Connell (71)

Booked: Reynolds (41)

Referee: Graham Grainger

Attendance: 568

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