COVE RANGERS 1–2 ALLOA ATHLETIC
Cove’s long unbeaten run came to an end at Balmoral Stadium following a poor performance against our visitors from Clackmannanshire.
Rumarn Burrell gave us a first half lead, but that was cancelled out just past the hour mark, and Alloa snatched all three points deep into stoppage time.
Celebrating what was his 450th game as a club manager, Paul Hartley had made two changes for this one, Nick Suman returning in goal for Balint Demus – who faces a spell on the sidelines after fracturing his hand in last week’s win at Annan – and Sena taking over from the suspended Josh Kerr. Teenage goalkeeper Jack Robertson was promoted to the bench.
Cove kicked-off and enjoyed the bulk of the early possession without offering any kind of attacking threat. It was not until the tenth minute that the visiting defence was seriously tested, Michael Doyle’s inviting cross only just evading Rumarn Burrell.
With that theme continuing, Alloa finally forced their way into the game when O’Donnell’s long range free-kick was comfortable held by Suman. The big Aussie was called into action again soon after, making a good save from Cawley’s twenty yard drive.
And then, in the nineteenth minute, we took the lead with a familiar name on the scoresheet. Sena rolled the ball to Blair Yule, who clipped it over the top of the Alloa back line. Rumarn BURRELL raced away in behind and as Morrison tried to close him down, the striker cleverly angled his shot over the keeper and inside the far post. It was the prolific Burrell's sixteenth of the season.
We might have made it two shortly after when McGowan wriggled clear and passed to Mitch Megginson. The captain made space, took a touch, then fired goalwards, his effort bouncing just wide of the near post.
Bobby Wales had the opportunity to level, but his decent shot flew inches wide of Suman’s left post from the edge of the box.
The second half began in the same subdued manner as the first had, and it took seven minutes before there was any serious goalmouth action. Connor Scully fired in a dangerous free-kick delivery which was only half cleared and Mark Reynolds struck a powerful angled volley which Morrison scrambled to safety.
We were putting together some reasonable moves, but they broke down before a shooting opportunity could be presented, and all too often the final ball went astray. The players were made to pay for that in the sixty-second minute.
Jones' pass infield was intercepted by Cawley who sped forwards and rolled the ball to Quinn COULSON. The midfielder created a yard of space then drilled a low shot beyond Nick Suman for the equaliser.
Our play deteriorated further in the wake of that, and there was only one other Cove chance. After a promising move from deep, Burrell kept the ball in play, and after it was switched, Blair Yule won a corner on the right. Scully swung it in and found the head of Will Gillingham, but the defender’s effort flew wide.
Alloa won it in the third minute of stoppage time. A hopeful ball into the box was poorly defended, substitute Sammon forced it back across goal, and Scott TAGGART slid in to net from close range.
It was a late sickener for Cove, but there could be no real complaints given the display, and the focus will turn quickly to next week’s visit of troubled Edinburgh City when the team will hope to bounce back again.
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Doyle, Gillingham, Reynolds, Jones; Yule, Sena, McGowan (Connell 67), Scully; Megginson (c) (Williamson 78), Burrell
Substitutes: Robertson, Darge, Mykyta, Gallagher, Stewart
Goalscorers: Burrell (18)
Booked: Sena (53)
ALLOA ATHLETIC (4-4-1-1): Morrison; Taggart, Devine, Neill, O’Donnell; Cawley (Sammon 79), Hetherington, Roberts, Coulson (Buchanan 73); Scougall; Wales
Substitutes: Burt, Deveney, Robertson, Roy, Rodden, Virtanen, Graham
Goalscorers: Coulson (62), Taggart (90)
Booked: Cawley (40), O’Donnell (76)
Referee: Chris Fordyce
Article Copyright © 2023. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to www.coverangersfc.com