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Cove Rangers




Ayr United



Another defensive horror show saw the team fall to a third heavy defeat of the month as Ayr United coasted to victory with a dominant second half performance.

After a busy week as he continued to reshape his squad for the second half of the season, Paul Hartley handed debuts to Scott Fox, Jason Naismith and Tony Weston, and there were recalls for Shay Logan and club captain Mitch Megginson.

The game started brightly enough with Naismith almost getting his head on a cross whipped in by Connor Scully, and Weston feeding a ball into the box which Leighton McIntosh only just failed to reach.

That, sadly, was to set the pattern for the match, and after an opening spell in which the team played with a level of intensity, a theme emerged which has been all too familiar in recent weeks.

The visitors almost made the breakthrough in the eighteenth minute when first Fox saved from Mitchell-Lawson, then Mullin’s shot was deflected wide.

The opening goal was delayed only briefly. A long free-kick into the box bounced off the shins of Kyle McClelland and Nicholas McALLISTER slid the ball home from close range.

We attempted to find a way back into the game, but all too often the final pass failed to find its target, or the Ayr defence cleared with ease.

The manager made a half-time switch, introducing Virtanen into midfield and removing McClelland as he reverted to a back four, and we should have been level in the fifty-second minute. Tony Weston was upended just outside the box, Scully sent in a perfect free-kick, but Naismith’s header was straight at keeper Albinson, who juggled it to safety.

Blair Yule then forced a corner on the right. Connor Scully delivered the ball, but it was headed clear, and Ayr counter-attacked with pace. Mullin gathered on the right and swept in an inch-perfect cross which Ben DEMPSEY volleyed past Fox.

Luis Longstaff was then introduced for Weston and Leighton McIntosh showed some intent, his twenty-yard shot flashing wide of the keeper’s left post.

Within minutes in was 3-0.

Mitch Megginson was caught out in midfield, Akinyemi threaded a pass through, and Josh MULLIN ran on to it to fire low into the bottom corner.

Morgyn Neill came close with a six-yard header, but Albinson saved, and there was then a lull as both sides made a flurry of substitutions.

The visitors were not finished however and capped a memorable night with two more goals.

It seemed as if every Cove mistake was being punished to the full, and after more slack defending, sub Fraser BRYDON lashed a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

The fifth came with just a minute of regulation time remaining. Ayr were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards out and Josh MULLIN capped a fine night’s work by curling his effort into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

It was another ninety minutes to forget, and the players now have just a few days to regroup and recover before taking on the same opposition in the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night.

COVE RANGERS (3-4-1-2): Fox; Naismith, Neill, McClelland (Virtanen 46); Logan, Yule, Scully (Vigurs 76), Paterson; Megginson(c) (Glass 76); McIntosh, Weston (Longstaff 59)

Substitutes: Gourlay, Ross, Reynolds


Booked: McClelland (21)

AYR UNITED (4-1-4-1): Albinson; McAllister, Kirk, McGinty, Reading (Houston 17); Dempsey; Mullen, Hewitt (Ashford 79), Smith (Bangala 73), Mitchell-Lawson (Bryden 79); Akinyemi (McKenzie 79)

Substitutes: McAdams, Bilham, Watret, O’Connor,

Goalscorers: McAllister (21), Dempsey (55), Mullin (61, 89), Bryden (82)


Referee: Graham Grainger

Attendance: 785

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