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Cove Rangers



The wait for our first away win of the season in the cinch Championship goes on, but Blair Yule’s late strike earned the side a richly deserved point from a game they largely dominated after Michael McKenna’s early header had given Arbroath the lead.

Jim McIntyre was forced into one change from last week’s impressive win over Queen’s Park, Fraser Fyvie making his first start in almost two months in place of Luis Longstaff, who failed a late fitness test after rolling his ankle in training on Thursday night.

The manager had the luxury of a full complement on the bench, long-term injury victim Kyle McClelland the only other absentee.

On a mild, bright and, unusually, wind-free afternoon it was Mitch Megginson who got the game underway, Cove shooting towards a troublesome low early winter sun.

It wasn’t until the fourth minute that either side threatened. A long driven free-kick was nodded on by Michael McKenna. Allan gathered, rolled a pass out to Linn, and when the winger fed the ball back infield, McKenna shot wide from twenty yards with a low angled effort.

Seconds later, the home side had better fortune. Linn swung in a cross and McKENNA got away from Shay Logan at the back post, his downward header deflecting off the full-back and into the net.

Cove almost levelled immediately.

After a good break down the right, Max Johnston’s cross was half cleared, and Charlie Gilmour let fly from twenty-five yards, Gaston diving to his right to clutch the ball just inside the post. Soon after, Megginson peeled to the right, stretching the Arbroath back line, and when the ball was delivered, Gerry McDonagh headed over.

The big striker came closer in the fourteenth minute.

Fyvie was sent tumbling to the ground for a Cove free-kick inside the Arbroath half. Logan sent in an inviting ball, Sanders nodded it back into the danger area, and McDonagh’s header beat the home keeper but crashed off the crossbar. It rebounded out to Mark Reynolds, but his shot was blocked.

The team was seeing plenty of the ball now, and keeping the pressure on the home defence, with Megginson and Fyvie regularly involved, but we were finding it difficult to breach the Arbroath rearguard.

In the twenty-fourth minute, we looked to have a rock solid penalty claim rejected by referee Graham.

Scully had been injured in a challenge some forty yards out, but the ball broke to Gilmour who fed a pass in front of McDonagh. Gerry took a touch to create space, and was sent sprawling by O’Brien, his legs swept from beneath him, but the official simply waved play on.

Arbroath were still threatening on the counter, and right-back Marcel Oakley was causing problems with his pace and trickery. After one run and cross, Bobby Linn picked up on the left, teased Max Johnston, then fired a dangerous ball across the six yard box which Reynolds did well to boot clear.

Charlie Gilmour then required treatment, but was thankfully able to resume play.

In the thirty-fourth minute, Blair Yule robbed McKenna in midfield and set Mitch Megginson running free, the captain upended by Thomas O’Brien just outside the box for the game’s first booking. Max Johnston stepped up to take it, his shot blocked, and when the full-back fastened on to the rebound, his cross was gathered by Gaston.

Gold was then booked for a challenge on McDonagh, and Fyvie’s floated free-kick was marginally out of Scully’s reach in the penalty area.

It was the home side’s turn to appeal for a spot-kick in the fortieth minute. Gilmour looked to catch Gold with a high boot in the box, but Arbroath were rebuffed by the referee, who handed out a third yellow in quick succession to Ricky Little for the ferocity of his protest.

With half-time approaching, Connor Scully won a corner on the left and took it himself. Little headed clear, but only as far Fyvie, whose twenty yard strike flew over.

McDonagh then picked up Cove’s first booking for kicking the ball away in disgust after being penalised for an aerial challenge.

With the sun having dipped below the stand, and the temperature more fitting for mid-November, Arbroath got proceedings back underway.

After a quiet start to the second half, Cove were denied another strong penalty claim.

Good battling by Megginson deep inside his own half saw the captain win the ball and feed Fraser Fyvie. The midfielder lifted a perfect ball forward for Yule to run on to, and under pressure from Little, Blair battled his way into the box, only to be upended as Gaston raced from his line. Again, the official waved play on.

Jim McIntyre made a change in the fifty-sixth minute. After being penalised for a challenge on O’Brien, but not shown a second yellow, Gerry McDonagh was withdrawn to be replaced by Arbroath old boy, Leighton McIntosh.

Just past the hour mark, Megginson and McIntosh linked up well, Leighton laying the ball off for Yule, but the midfielder shot over from the edge of the box.

There was chaos soon after. The assistant raised his flag to signal Fyvie was offside, and the referee appeared to blow his whistle, but play carried on, and Charlie Gilmour sent in a powerful downward header which Gaston only just managed to stop down by his post with Megginson in close attendance.

Mitch was at the centre of yet another huge penalty shout when bundled over in the box, but referee Graham was once more oblivious to the claims.

Cove were enjoying significant dominance, Stuart McKenzie only rarely troubled, but Little and O’Brien were proving a real barrier, winning most crosses into the penalty area, and play was then interrupted as Dick Campbell made a series of substitutions.

With fourteen minutes remaining, Jim McIntyre shook things up. Jamie Masson took over from Fraser Fyvie on the right and Cieran Dunne replaced Connor Scully on the other flank.

Megginson almost snatched an equaliser in the eighty-fourth minute. Picking up on the right, he skipped away from two challenges before unleashing a left-footed strike from twenty yards, Gaston clutching the ball just under his crossbar.

Shay Logan then launched a long free-kick, Sanders nodded the ball on, and Gaston only just got to it with McIntosh sliding in.

Then came the late drama.

Shay Logan crossed from the left, McIntosh challenged, but was beaten by Little, and as the ball rebounded across goal Mitch Megginson headed it into the path of Blair YULE. The midfielder composed himself, and fired low across Gaston into the bottom corner.

It was the least the team deserved on what could prove to be a pivotal afternoon, and extended the unbeaten run to four matches.

ARBROATH (4-2-3-1): Gaston; Oakley (Fosu 71), Little, O’Brien (c), Hamilton; Gold, Jacobs (Tait 71); McKenna, Allan (Hilson 64), Linn (Corfe 58); Shanks (Hoti 64)

Substitutes: Gill, Hancock, Isiaka,

Goalscorers: McKenna (5)

Booked: O’Brien (34), Gold (37), Little (39), Hilson (88)

COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): McKenzie; Johnston, Sanders, Reynolds, Logan; Fyvie (Masson 71), Yule, Gilmour, Scully (Dunne 76); Megginson (c) (Vigurs 90), McDonagh (McIntosh 56)

Substitutes: Gourlay, Towler, Ross, Neill, Leitch,

Goalscorers: Yule (90)

Booked: McDonagh (45)

Referee: Chris Graham

Attendance: 1,706

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