COVE RANGERS 2–0 ARBROATH
The boys put in a commanding performance to end the two-month wait for a victory and claim what could be three valuable points in the bid to consolidate our place in the cinch Championship.
A double from Connor Scully not only carved out an advantage over Arbroath, but thanks to results elsewhere, it saw Cove move up to seventh position in the table.
Apart from the injured Fraser Fyvie, boss Jim McIntyre had a full squad to choose from, and he made half a dozen changes from last week’s cup defeat against Raith.
Kyle Gourlay returned in goal, Jack Sanders and Kyle McClelland made their first starts for the club, Shay Logan came in at left back and Charlie Gilmour at the heart of the midfield, and Mitch Megginson was in his usual place leading the line.
There was a quiet start to the game, both sides enjoying spells of possession, but neither able to make it count.
Arbroath were first to foray forward, Scott Allan and Bobby Linn combining, but as the winger moved into the box, Jack Sanders made a good block, and the ball rebounded off Linn for a goal-kick.
It took until the tenth minute before we threatened, Blair Yule heading on for Mitch Megginson, and the skipper’s flick set Cieran Dunne free in behind the visiting defence, only for the linesman to raise his flag to signal what looked a marginal offside.
Charlie Gilmour had taken an early grip on the midfield, and after showing good skill he sprayed the ball wide to Luis Longstaff. The resultant cross was inviting, but headed clear by Hamilton.
It was to be a theme of the match as Luis looked to build on last week’s impressive showing against Raith, and he was a constant danger for the Arbroath rearguard.
For only the second time this season, Cove scored the opening goal in a game, and when it came, in the sixteenth minute, it was as a result of a well-worked move.
Dunne rolled the ball to Blair Yule, who fired a pass wide to Max Johnston. The full back raced past Hancock and delivered a delightful cross which Connor SCULLY met flush with his forehead to give Gaston no chance from eight yards.
Jack Sanders was settling in alongside Kyle McClelland at the heart of the defence, and after initially being caught out, he made a superb recovery tackle to dispossess Hilson in the box when the striker was readying to shoot.
The players seemed to have gained confidence from taking the lead, and they very nearly doubled their advantage midway through the half.
Gilmour and Yule were at the heart of the move, Max Johnston took possession and passed infield to McClelland, and Kyle spread the play wide to Logan. From his unfamiliar left-back role, Shay sent in a fine cross, which Johnston reached at the back post, but could only head into the side-netting.
Gilmour then sent Longridge away again, Little got a block on his delivery, and as Megginson battled for scraps, keeper Gaston managed to scramble the ball away.
Charlie then tried a more direct route, firing in a powerful low thirty-yarder which took the slightest of deflections off Mitch, and flew marginally wide of the post.
In the thirty-fourth minute it was two-nil, and again, it was a well-constructed goal.
Blair Yule and Connor Scully were involved as the move began in midfield, the ball was played out wide to the overlapping Logan, and Shay raced in on goal before shooting with his right foot from an angle. Gaston pushed the ball out, but only into the path of SCULLY, and the midfielder gleefully smashed in his second of the afternoon.
Yule then robbed the ball off Tait in a dangerous area and played it goalwards for Megginson to run on to, but as the captain steadied himself to shoot, the linesman’s flag stopped him in his tracks.
Early in the second half it was so nearly three.
In a rapid counterattack, Gilmour linked with Scully, and Connor rolled the ball wide for the pacy Dunne to run on to. With Oakley trailing in his wake, Cieran sent in a superb ball, but the sliding Megginson failed marginally to make contact on the edge of the six yard box.
Dylan Tait then picked up what was to be the game’s only booking, for a blatant bodycheck on Gilmour as he tried to spring another Cove attack.
It was a measure of how difficult Arbroath were finding it to contain Charlie, and his understanding with Yule and Scully at the heart of the midfield helped to ensure Cove maintained a grip on the game.
Connor then came close to completing his hat-trick, his left-footed snapshot flying wide of the far post after Megginson’s effort had been blocked. Then Dunne raced in behind the Arbroath back-line, his shot from just inside the box deflecting narrowly wide for a corner.
Clearly unhappy with his team’s performance, Dick Campbell then took the highly unusual step of making all five substitutions in one fell swoop, with McKenna, Shanks, Corfe, Bitsindou and Fosu all entering the fray.
They were to do little to affect the flow of the play. Megginson had a shot on the turn saved by Gaston, then Scully only just failed to direct his header goalwards from another Johnston cross.
Ricky Little did get a header in for the visitors, which Logan cleared over the bar, and there was a clear opening for Colin Hamilton, who could only head wide from seven yards, but the game ended with substitute Jamie Masson firing in a low twenty-yard shot which Gaston held near the base of his post.
The final whistle confirmed a convincing and thoroughly deserved win for Jim McIntyre and his team; a performance and result which should stand them in good stead for Tuesday’s encounter with Dundee.
COVE RANGERS (4-3-3): Gourlay; Johnston, Sanders, McClelland (Ross 75), Logan; Yule, Gilmour, Scully; Longstaff (Masson 82), Megginson, Dunne
Substitutes: McKenzie, Towler, McDonagh, McIntosh, Vigurs, Leitch, Reynolds
Goalscorers: Connor Scully (16, 34)
ARBROATH (4-4-1-1): Gaston; Oakley, Little, Hamilton (c), Hancock; Linn (Corfe 63), Jacobs (Shanks 63), Gold, Tait (Bitsindou 63); Allan (Fosu 63); Hilson (McKenna 63)
Substitutes: Gill, Isiaka,
Booked: Dylan Tait (54)
Referee: Euan Anderson
Article Copyright © 2022. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to www.coverangersfc.co