League One / Balmoral Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 20 Apr 24 / 16:30

Cove Rangers




Alloa Athletic



Another late sucker-punch cost us what might prove to be a valuable point as Alloa snatched the win despite a thrilling Cove second half comeback. Virtanen and Wales had carved out a two-nil lead for the visitors, but the boys rallied and dominated the final half hour, drawing level through Megginson and Burrell.

Only the heroics of Alloa keeper PJ Morrison prevented us from going in front, but it was Andy Graham’s side who would emerge victorious, the unmarked Wales heading home in the eighty-ninth minute.

With Fraser Fyvie likely to be out for the rest of the season, there was a timely return for Blair Yule after an eight-game absence. Fit-again Nick Suman replaced Balint Demus, who had picked up a knock in training, and skipper Mitch Megginson was back having missed the last three. Kyle Connell dropped to the bench.

It was a quiet start to the game, both sides enjoying possession but unable to create any openings. Paul McGowan did cut through with a clever pass to Blair Yule, the midfielder winning a corner which came to nothing.

We came close in the eleventh minute when Arran Darge slid the ball down the touchline for Burrell to run onto, but Blair Yule’s header from the resultant cross flew wide of the back post.

Alloa threatened for the first time soon after. Taggart played a long diagonal, Coulson collected and crossed, and Donnelly’s shot was deflected behind by Josh Kerr. Taylor Steven then fired in a thirty yarder which Nick Suman touched over the bar.

Cove hit back and after Burrell had been closed down Darge sent in an excellent cross but Megginson failed to guide his header on target.

Alloa went ahead in the twenty sixth minute. From the latest of a series of corners Miko VIRTANEN flashed a header goalwards, Suman getting a hand to the ball but unable to keep it out.

Cove were dominating possession at this stage but unable to penetrate a well drilled Alloa defence. Megginson did almost get away inside the box but Virtanen stopped him, getting an important touch on the ball.

Sena then sent in a twenty-five yard shot which Morrison saved comfortably. Just before the interval McGowan crossed from the right and Mitch Megginson caught the ball sweetly with a left foot volley, but Neill was able to block his effort.

We started the second half strongly, McGowan finding Burrell in the box, but the striker took a touch and was closed down. Minutes later Alloa showed a ruthlessness lacking in our play when Steven crossed from the left and Bobby WALES was able to tap in at the back post.

The game swung after that, and we began to create chances. The first came from a Connor Scully cross, but with Burrell waiting, Alloa were able to scramble the ball for a corner. Scully then worked Morrison seriously for the first time in the game, the keeper diving to make a fine save from his low angled twenty yard shot.

He was called into action almost immediately afterwards when Kerr crossed from the right, substitute Connell returned the ball into the danger area, and Rumarn Burrell shot on the turn. The ball looked to be flying into the net, but the keeper made an outstanding one-handed save.

The breakthrough finally came with twenty minutes left on the clock. From Kyle Connell’s long throw the ball dropped to Mark Reynolds. His stabbed shot was saved by Morrison, but Mitch MEGGINSON was first to react to net from close range.

It was all Cove now. Megginson had a shot blocked, Sena’s dangerous cross was headed behind by Virtanen, then Connell’s dangerous delivery was grabbed by Morrison.

We levelled moments later. Josh Kerr played a long pass forward, Neill failed to deal with it, and Connell played in Rumarn BURRELL who finished confidently from inside the area, giving Morrison no chance.

The boys came close to going in front in our next attack. Kyle Connell’s pass was collected by Scully who shot from the edge of the box, Morrison diving to push his effort behind. Connell then unleased a superb curling twenty yard drive which looked to be flying into the roof of the net only for the keeper to tip it over.

In a rare attack, Alloa might have regained the lead, Darge getting an important touch on Buchanan’s shot to divert it wide.

Back came Cove, and Doyle found Scully with a cross from the right but Connor’s header was easily saved.

Then came the late heartbreak. Sutherland found space to drive down the left and when his cross arrived at the back post, Bobby WALES was unmarked and able to head past Suman for the winner.

The battle for the one remaining playoff place now goes to the penultimate afternoon when Kelty Hearts and Montrose go head-to-head in Fife, and we take on Queen of the South in Dumfries.

COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Darge, Kerr, Reynolds, Doyle; Yule (Connell 66), Sena, McGowan, Scully; Burrell, Megginson (c)

Substitutes: Demus, Jones, Gillingham, Stewart

Goalscorers: Megginson (69), Burrell (74)

Booked: Sena (41), Megginson (53), Darge (80), Kerr (89)

ALLOA ATHLETIC (4-2-3-1): Morrison; Taggart (c), McKay, Neill, Sutherland; Roberts (Hetherington 90), Virtanen; Steven (Sammon 90), Wales, Coulson (Scougall 66); Donnelly (Buchanan 66)

Substitutes: Ogayi, Cawley, Roy, O’Donnell, Robertson

Goalscorers: Virtanen (26), Wales (51, 89)

Booked: Virtanen (59)

Referee: Chris Graham

Attendance: 463

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