League One / Balmoral Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 24 Feb 24 / 15:00

Cove Rangers




Annan Athletic



Birthday boy Josh Kerr was the Cove hero, coming on from the bench in the early stages to put in a man of the match performance, capped by the crucial winning goal just four minutes from the end.

Rumarn Burrell had put us ahead on the half hour mark, acrobatically forcing the ball over the line, only for Ndiweni to level matters after defensive slackness. The game looked to be heading for a frustrating draw until Kerr linked-up with Mitch Megginson before showing composure in the six yard box to score.

The big team news was the return to the starting line-up of Fraser Fyvie after a three month absence, the midfielder pitched straight back in having missed fourteen matches. Cameron Stewart dropped out, and with Nick Suman still injured, Balint Demus continued in goal.

It was a quiet start, both sides mounting attacks without seriously threatening until the fifth minute. Fyvie, Yule and Megginson combined down the right and when Fraser’s cross was knocked out, Connor Scully was first to react. He could not get the ball on to his left foot, but shot with his right, and it took an alert clearance from the line by McIntyre to thwart the midfielder.

Cove were then forced into an early change, Mark Reynolds taking a sore one in a head clash with Tommy Goss and having to be replaced by Josh Kerr.

In our next attack, Rumarn Burrell was brought to the ground thirty yards out, and from the resultant free-kick Fraser Fyvie fired in a low effort just wide of the left post.

Despite their league position, Annan had clearly been buoyed by recent results, and were holding their own in the match, forcing a number of corners. From the latest of those, the ball was rolled out to the edge of the box, Gibson catching his shot well, but denied by Demus who made a fine save, tipping over the bar.

The opening goal came soon after.

Sena gained possession in midfield and linked with Megginson, who spread the play wide to the right. Fyvie swung in the cross, and with Matty Shiels challenging, a defender knocked it back into the danger area. Rumarn BURRELL hooked in a volley, which Heraghty saved superbly, but the striker was alert, and while still falling, somehow got his foot to the ball to knock it over the line, despite the keeper’s attempts to keep it out.

Fyvie then had a shot charged down, but Annan were still a threat, and Gillingham, Kerr and Doyle were working hard to limit their openings, the half drawing to a close with Cove still enjoying their narrow advantage.

The boys started strongly after the interval, Burrell winning a free-kick twenty-eight yards out. Fyvie shaped to shoot, but cleverly flicked the ball over the wall, Megginson unable to make decisive contact, allowing Heraghty to make the save.

Goss then missed a big chance for Annan, heading over from six yards when free in the box, and seconds later we were agonisingly close to doubling our advantage. Mitch gathered a loose ball and played in Burrell, who finished with ease, but his celebrations were cut short by the assistant’s flag.

Annan went straight up the pitch to equalise. Gillingham failed to deal with a cross, the ball falling for Michael NDWIENI who finished with an angled shot into the bottom corner.

Back came Cove, and when Fyvie’s corner was cleared, he returned the ball to the danger area where Gillingham shot high over the bar. Shiels then sent in an inviting delivery but with Burrell waiting to pounce the keeper gathered at full stretch.

Scully shot over from twenty yards, and in our next attack we might have regained the lead. Josh Kerr played a superb ball out of defence, Blair Yule cleverly nodded it past Douglas and fired in a low cross which Megginson ran onto, but could only shoot into the side netting.

Annan then had a glaring opportunity to go in front, Goss finding himself clear in the box, but Balint Demus raced from his line to make an excellent save.

Gillingham was then replaced by Arron Darge as Paul Hartley reverted to a back four.

The next big opening again fell to the visitors when a ball through the middle found Walker running clear but the midfielder shot well over the bar from just fifteen yards.

Annan were made to pay for that minutes later. Substitute Kyle Connell hurled in one of his long throws and when the ball fell to Josh KERR he fed it wide to Megginson. Mitch steadied himself and crossed low into the box, the defender taking a touch before flicking past Heraghty.

It might have been three just before full time when Kerr played a long ball out from defence and Megginson ran in behind the away rearguard. With the keeper off his line, Mitch lobbed him from thirty-five yards, but his effort cleared the crossbar by inches.  

The team might not have hit the heights, but it was a hugely important first league win of 2024, one which kept the side very much involved in the play-off battle.

COVE RANGERS (3-5-2): Demus; Doyle, Gillingham (Darge 72), Reynolds (Kerr 10); Yule, Sena, Fyvie (Connell 79), Scully, Shiels; Burrell, Megginson (c)

Substitutes: Robertson, Jones, McGowan, Stewart, Lawal

Goalscorers: Burrell (30), Kerr (86)

Booked: Scully (85)

ANNAN ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Heraghty; Galloway, Douglas (c), T. Muir, MacIntyre; Nugent, Hunter, Gibson, Docherty (Walker 34); Goss, Ndiweni (Luissint 79)

Substitutes: Fleming, R. Muir, McMenamin, Maxwell, Watson

Goalscorers: Ndiweni (53)

Booked: Nugent (61), Galloway (84)

Referee: Scott Lambie

Attendance: 506

Article Copyright © 2024. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to www.coverangersfc.com