COVE RANGERS 3-1 DUNDEE
On a memorable night at Balmoral Stadium, for the second time in seventy-two hours, Connor Scully was Cove Rangers’ two-goal hero, his stunning acrobatic strikes earning the side three richly deserved points.
In what was the first league meeting of the clubs, Cove got stronger as the game went on, and after Mitch Megginson cancelled out Max Anderson’s opener for the visitors, Connor’s double settled the encounter.
For only the second time this season, Jim McIntyre was able to name an unchanged starting line-up, following the impressive victory over Arbroath.
Fraser Fyvie remained on the sidelines as a result of his hamstring injury, while a knock on the ribs at the weekend ruled Jamie Masson out. Morgyn Neill returned to the bench.
Both sides attempted early forays forward, Charlie Gilmour’s cross for Cove being cleared at one end, then Kyle Gourlay clutching a deflected McMullan delivery at the other.
We nearly opened the scoring in the eighth minute, Mitch Megginson heading narrowly wide from Blair Yule’s cross from the right, but it was the visitors who were to grab the early initiative.
Cieran Dunne looked to have been fouled out wide, but referee Walsh waved play on, and Williamson’s shot was deflected over by Kyle McClelland. From the resultant corner, the ball fell for Max ANDERSON, who had the freedom of the box to finish comfortably.
Dundee had the momentum, and McGhee drove into the penalty area, Jack Sanders blocking his effort for a corner.
At that stage, we were finding it hard to get any rhythm in our play, the pressing of the Dundee players denying any space, but the side began to settle, and slowly the tide turned.
First, a Shay Logan free-kick was scrambled clear, then his cross was blocked for a throw-in. Charlie Gilmour was now seeing more of the ball, and he and Yule started finding routes through the visiting midfield.
Blair fed Mitch, and the captain’s twenty-five yard strike was well saved by Legzdins, but it was clear that Cove were growing in confidence, and the equaliser came in the twenty-eighth minute.
Yule was bundled over in the middle of the park by Williamson. Logan floated in the free-kick, Sanders’ header was stopped, but Kyle McClelland got to the ball, and his return header was glanced into the bottom corner by MEGGINSON for his fourth of the season.
Cove were now dominating. Logan fired in a superb delivery, Yule only just failing to make contact, then Gilmour blasted over from twenty yards.
Dundee attempted to hit back and won a corner, but Kerr’s header was directed wide of Gourlay’s left post.
Zach Robinson picked up the game’s first yellow card for a late challenge on McClelland, then just before the interval, we should have taken the lead.
Scully won the ball in midfield and fed Megginson, who rolled a pass wide to Longstaff. Luis waited for Max Johnston to make the overlap, and set up the full-back, whose cross took a deflection, and fell perfectly for Dunne. But with the defence closing in on him, Cieran’s right-footed shot flew over the bar.
Cove were first to threaten after the break and won a free-kick down the left. Logan took it, and Kyle McClelland rose to meet the ball. His header glanced wide, but the big defender looked to roll his ankle as he landed, and required treatment from physio Aimee Clark.
He was still off the park when the team took the lead.
The move did not start promisingly when Gilmour passed across his own box and Gourlay had to scramble the ball clear. That launched a counterattack, Yule played a pass to Megginson, and Mitch rolled the ball wide to Dunne. Cieran drove to the bye-line and sent in an inviting cross towards the back post, where SCULLY made perfect contact with a mid-air hitch-kick volley. Legzdins could only stand helpless as the ball flew past him into the bottom corner.
Cove were flying now. Longstaff cut in from the right and had a shot blocked, then he sent in a cross which forced Kerr to head out for a throw-in with Dunne lurking.
From that, Logan teased the full-back, then played a backheel pass for Cieran. From down by the corner flag, Dunne whipped in the cross. It was blocked by French, but only as far as SCULLY, whose first shot took a deflection, flying high into the air. The midfielder leapt acrobatically off the ground and executed a perfect overhead kick, the ball flashing past a stunned Legzdins.
Logan and Dunne were causing havoc on the left wing, then Yule, Gilmour and Dunne combined before Shay fired in a dangerous cross which was nudged behind for a corner.
Kyle McClelland had attempted to carry on, but his ankle was clearly painful, and he had to admit defeat, Scott Ross taking over in central defence.
The play was flowing almost exclusively towards the Dundee goal and Megginson unleashed a twenty-yard angled drive which Legzdins pushed wide.
Mitch and Zak Rudden were both booked after an altercation, and manager Gary Bowyer also earned a yellow card for protesting the decision.
On a rare Dundee attack, Ross got a toe to a low cross from the right, but it fell for Rudden, who stabbed the ball goalwards, Kyle Gourlay diving to his right to pull off a fine save. The visitors were desperate to give themselves a foothold in the match, and when McMullan crossed from the right, Rudden connected with a powerful diving header, Gourlay making an even better one-handed stop.
Ross had quickly adjusted to the pace of the game, and he put in a fine performance at the back alongside Jack Sanders to repel Dundee. Their final effort came two minutes from the end, Mulligan’s shot blocked by Sanders to break the visitors’ hearts.
Cove saw the game out comfortably, and the final whistle prompted noisy celebrations as the home fans marked a night to remember at The Balmoral.
The win was a second in a row for the team, extended the unbeaten league run to four matches, and moved the side up to sixth in the Championship table; just reward for two outstanding displays in the space of three days.
COVE RANGERS (4-3-3): Gourlay; Johnston, Sanders, McClelland (Ross 61), Logan; Yule, Gilmour, Scully (Vigurs 85); Longstaff (Leitch 90), Megginson (c) (McIntosh 90), Dunne
Substitutes: McKenzie, Towler, Neill, McDonagh, Reynolds,
Goalscorers: Megginson (27), Scully (50, 54)
Booked: Megginson (75)
DUNDEE (4-3-3): Legzdins; Kerr, French, Ashcroft, McGhee (c); Anderson (McCowan 59), McGowan (Mulligan 59), Williamson (Marshall 88); McMullan, Robinson (Rudden 46), Cameron (Sheridan 59)
Substitutes: Sharp, Byrne, Strachan, Grayson
Goalscorers: Anderson (10)
Booked: Robinson (41), Rudden (75)
Referee: Nick Walsh
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