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Cove Rangers




Ayr United



An improved performance by the team, but our Cup hopes were ended by Ayr United after the side had to play for more than half an hour with ten men, following the sending-off of captain Mitch Megginson.

Paul Hartley had limited options for the game, his squad down to the bare bones with Fraser Fyvie and Blair Yule injured, Jason Naismith and Tony Weston cup-tied, and Miko Virtanen ineligible as he was signed after the original date for the tie.

The manager switched to a back four with recalls for Scott Ross and Mark Reynolds, Kyle McClelland moved into midfield, Iain Vigurs – who would be named man of the match – made his first start in four months, and Cieran Dunne was back wide on the left.

The visitors made half a dozen changes to the side which romped to victory last Friday.

We got off to a promising start. Logan’s throw was flicked on, Megginson attempted a hook shot and the ball ran free to Cieran Dunne, but the winger’s low angled shot ran wide of the far post. McIntosh and Logan then had dangerous crosses blocked as the team attempted to snatch an early advantage.

Ayr’s first effort came in the twelfth minute when O’Connor found space to shoot from fifteen yards, but Reynolds reacted quickly to avert the danger. Akinyemi then shot from the edge of the box, his effort saved comfortably by Scott Fox.

Vigurs’ deliveries were causing problems. First, his free-kick was headed behind for a corner, then his next ball found the head of Kyle McClelland who nodded down, but Reynolds and Dunne both saw their efforts blocked.

Ross was harshly booked for a challenge on Bangala, but minutes later referee Kirkland waved play on for a similar tackle on the centre-half by Akinyemi, and that led directly to the opening goal. Reynolds slid in to make a superb interception, but the ball ran to Mark McKENZIE, and typical of the way things have been going for the side of late, his shot took a deflection off Paterson and looped over Fox.

Dunne terrorised the Ayr defence with a driving run, but his cross was overhit, then Vigurs fired in a twenty-five yard strike which McAdams held.

Scully then crossed from the left and found McClelland, but he was closed down, and McGinty diverted his shot for a corner. In first half stoppage time, Vigurs sent in a looping free-kick which McIntosh got his head to but could only send over the bar.

Ayr began the second half with a quick counterattack, and when he got the break of the ball, Ashford made space and unleashed a fifteen-yard effort, but Scott Fox pulled off an excellent save diving low to his right.

We were still playing some decent football and enjoying plenty possession, but all too often the final delivery failed to find its target, with Paterson and McIntosh sending in inviting deliveries, but being denied by Kirk and McGinty.

The decisive moment of the match came in the fifty-seventh minute. McClelland was penalised for a strong challenge, a decision disputed by Megginson. Mitch was booked for dissent, but continued to berate the referee, who then pulled out the red card, sending him off for foul and abusive language.

Despite being down a man, the team continued to enjoy plenty possession and were showing a level of intensity missing last Friday, but Ayr eventually made their advantage count and killed the game off.

A swift breakaway saw our defence outnumbered and the ball was rolled across goal for Dipo AKINYEMI to tap home from close range.

Still, the side battled and after a powerful run, during which he beat three men, Leighton McIntosh laid the ball off to Connor Scully, the midfielder’s shot deflecting just wide of the keeper’s right post.

The tie was won with thirteen minutes left on the clock. Vigurs’ pass was intercepted, Bryden fed the ball through, and Sam ASHFORD drilled it low past Fox.

Another disappointing result, but more signs for optimism in the performance, and the team can now concentrate fully on the season’s main objective, that of retaining their place in the Championship.

COVE RANGERS (4-3-3): Fox; Logan, Ross, Reynolds, Paterson (Longstaff 76); Scully, Vigurs (Glass 85), McClelland; McIntosh, Megginson(c), Dunne

Substitutes: Gourlay, Neill


Booked: Ross (18), Vigurs (47), Megginson (57), Logan (71), Scully (79)

Sent off: Megginson (57)

AYR UNITED (4-2-3-1): McAdams; McAllister (Reading 32) (Bilham 85), Kirk, McGinty, Houston; Bangala, Dempsey (Smith 76); Ashford (Watret 85), McKenzie, O’Connor; Akinyemi (Bryden 76)

Substitutes: Albinson, Mullin, Mitchell-Lawson

Goalscorers: McKenzie (23), Akinyemi (68), Ashford (77)

Booked: Reading (63), Ashford (67), McGinty (75), Bangala (78)

Referee: Steven Kirkland

Attendance: 433

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