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Championship / Gayfield Park / Attendence:
Sat 22 Apr 23 / 14:00





Cove Rangers



Makeshift striker Morgyn Neill was the Cove hero as he struck late on at Gayfield to ensure our bid to remain in the Championship will go to the final evening of the season.

Manager Paul Hartley was still without a host of first team regulars with Fyvie, Paterson, Yule and Virtanen all ruled out for the season, and Shay Logan again posted missing. Scott Fox returned after his enforced concussion lay-off and there was a start at right back for Jason Naismith, with Scott Ross moving to central defence. Kyle Gourlay and Morgyn Neill dropped to the bench.

With the wind whistling down the pitch, and the early afternoon sun having given way to dark clouds, the conditions were more akin to winter than early spring as Mitch Megginson kicked-off for Cove into the teeth of the gale.

Arbroath were first to threaten when, in the third minute, a McKenna flick found Stewart racing clear. His powerful shot from just inside the box was well saved for an early corner. McKenna took it, his delivery curling in viciously towards the near post, Fox again called in to action to scramble the ball clear.

Our first attack came moments later when Leighton McIntosh gathered and spread play wide to Longstaff on the right. Luis jinked into the box, beat the first defender, then fired an angled right-footed shot to the near post which Gaston turned behind. From the resultant corner, Scully tried his luck from twenty yards, the ball curling just over the bar.

Back came the home side, and a clever flick by Hilson found Dow in space, his sixteen yard shot well held by Fox diving to his left.

The team put together a fine move in the nineteenth minute which might have paid dividends. Megginson fed the ball out to Longstaff, Vigurs took over and played a clever pass into the box which Naismith gathered, then ran clear of his marker to the bye-line, and flashed his cross into the box. Sadly, none of his team-mates could get the vital touch.

The home side again came close soon after, Stewart’s angled drive from the edge of the area deflecting off Scully and carrying on the wind wide of the far post.

McIntosh then started and very nearly finished another fine Cove move. He initially laid the ball off for O’Halloran who drove past three opponents before passing wide to Longstaff. Luis curled in a cross which Leighton gathered, then created a yard of space for himself. His shot was well struck, but deflected over the crossbar.

We suffered another injury setback on the half hour mark, Michael O’Halloran limping off to be replaced by Cieran Dunne.

Seconds later, Arbroath came close to breaking the deadlock. A long ball over the top caught us out, and with Fox racing from his line, Hilson got there first, his header looping beyond the keeper, but thankfully bouncing up and over the bar.

Megginson sprang our next attack, giving Dunne his first opportunity to run at Banks, and when Cieran whipped his cross in, it took an acrobatic clearance from O’Brien to prevent McIntosh from getting a touch.

Mitch Megginson collected the first booking of the afternoon in the forty-first minute for a late challenge on Balde in midfield.

The manager was again forced into making a first half change in what has become a recurring theme of late, when McIntosh crumpled to the deck. After treatment, he too limped off, with Tony Weston taking over.

Naismith was cautioned for kicking the ball away after conceding a free-kick. From that, Scott Fox, having safely gathered, was bundled into the net by a group of Arbroath players. As they wheeled away in celebration, the referee correctly disallowed the goal.

It was to be the last action of an even first half, the home side failing to capitalise on what had been a significant wind advantage.

Immediately after the restart, Weston ran at the home defence and laid the ball off to Megginson who was brought crashing to the ground. Vigurs stepped up, but his free-kick cannoned back off the wall.

In the fifty-third minute, Stewart got to a bouncing ball first, his header falling at the feet of McKenna, but the midfielder’s shot from the edge of the box flew well wide of Fox’s right post.

Soon after, following a short pass from Scully, Megginson curled the ball out to the right. Longstaff took possession and drifted inside, but his angled effort soared over the bar.

Jackson Longridge was then booked for a trip on Hilson, the resultant free-kick comfortably cleared. Cieran Dunne required treatment, physio Aimee Clark attending to his troublesome shoulder, but the wide man was able to continue.

As the match moved into its final quarter, it was low on quality, the wind continuing to wreak havoc on attempts to construct any meaningful moves.

Out of nowhere, we did suddenly create an opening, Longstaff and Weston both involved before Megginson was blocked, the ball running out for a corner. Vigurs’ delivery was headed over by Scott Ross, but the referee awarded another corner. Again Vigurs took it, Reynolds returned the ball into the danger area, and Naismith’s diving header cleared the bar by inches.

The manager then made a switch, taking off Dunne and putting Morgyn Neill on up front. It was to be a move which would pay immediate dividends.

Longstaff cut in from the right, his powerful shot deflected wide for a corner. Again, it was Iain Vigurs with the delivery, and this time Morgyn NEILL met it flush with his forehead, Gaston unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

The big man peeled away to celebrate with the sizeable travelling support, everyone well aware of the potential importance of his goal.

In keeping with what had been a solid defensive display, the players comfortably saw the game out, claiming three points which could be vital in our bid for survival.

ARBROATH: (4-2-3-1) Gaston; Banks, Little, O’Brien (c), Hetherington; Balde (Allan 90), Gold (Tait 79); Stewart, McKenna, Dow (Linn 57); Hilson

Substitutes: Gill, Jacobs, Komolafe, Olusanya, Ben El-Mhanni, Bitsindou,


Booked: McKenna (61)

COVE RANGERS: (4-4-2) Fox; Naismith, Ross, Reynolds, Longridge; Longstaff, Vigurs, Scully, O’Halloran (Dunne 30) (Neill 81); Megginson (c), McIntosh (Weston 45)

Substitutes: Gourlay, Bangala, Glass

Goalscorers: Neill (84)

Booked: Megginson (41), Naismith (45), Longridge (64)

Referee: Matthew MacDermid

Attendance: 2,451