COVE RANGERS 7-0 DUNIPACE
Gerry McDonagh was the four-goal hero as Cove eased through to the Fourth Round of this season’s Scottish Cup. Substitutes Leighton McIntosh and Jamie Masson were also on target, either side of a close range Fraser Fyvie finish, as the team disposed comfortably of their East of Scotland League visitors.
Max Johnston and Jack Sanders dropped out from last week, having been prevented from playing by their parent clubs, Motherwell and Kilmarnock. Evan Towler returned at left-back with Shay Logan moving across to the right, Scott Ross was in central defence, and captain Mitch Megginson back from suspension.
Having started all previous twenty-one matches this season, Connor Scully was given a rest, and took his place on the bench.
Dunipace had already negotiated three rounds to reach this stage, and put five past Turriff United to clinch their trip to Balmoral. This is the furthest they have gone in the national knockout competition, but they never looked likely to extend their run any further.
Jim McIntyre had called on his players to adopt a professional approach, and they did that straight from kick-off.
Luis Longstaff was a constant threat to the Dunipace defence, and he won an early free-kick after being wiped out by Colley. Logan played it into the box, Mitch Megginson’s shot was partly blocked, and McDonagh pounced to fire home. The goal was ruled out for a push, but Gerry was to have better luck soon after.
After a quickly taken free-kick by Shay Logan, Megginson had a shot saved by Kane, Longstaff had a dangerous cross headed clear, and Fyvie was frustrated when he tried to find a way through.
It was one-way traffic. Luis raced into the box, but tried to take on one man too many; he then had a cross blocked, as did Logan, and in our next attack Megginson set up McDonagh, whose effort was snuffed out deep in the box.
Longstaff again danced past Whitelaw and when his cross was headed out to the edge of the box, Blair Yule pounced, his well-struck shot flying just over.
The overdue opening goal came in the seventeenth minute.
Yule and Logan linked-up well, Longstaff then fed in a pass to the bye-line, which Blair fired low towards the near post. Goalkeeper Kane got to it first, but fumbled, and from inches out, Gerry McDONAGH scrambled the ball into the net.
The wind, while not quite as strong as in last week’s encounter with Morton, was causing real problems, but Cove kept probing.
Charlie Gilmour had a powerful volley charged down, then Mitch looked likely to make it 2-0 as he raced in behind the defence following a clever through ball from McDonagh. The captain attempted to round the keeper, but Kane was brave, and dived at his feet to make a good save.
Mark Reynolds picked up the game’s only booking for what looked an innocuous challenge on Wright near halfway, and soon after, Cove doubled their advantage.
Fyvie, Yule and Gilmour were seeing plenty of the ball, Longstaff and Logan were constant threats, and it was the full-back who provided the ammunition for the second goal. He found Megginson, whose shot looked like going in, but struck the inside of the post and rebounded back out off the keeper. Mitch reacted quickly and stabbed the ball goalwards again, and Gerry McDONAGH slid in to make sure, nudging it over the line.
It was almost three immediately after. Another Logan cross found Blair Yule and the midfielder’s header from ten yards bounced agonisingly inches wide.
Within two minutes of the restart, it was 3-0.
The team won a free-kick twenty-five yards out. Shay Logan had to put a finger on the ball to prevent it from being blown away, Longstaff delivered it into the box, and with a glancing header, Gerry McDONAGH steered it past the visiting keeper to complete his hat-trick.
The fourth goal came in short order. Longstaff was brought down just outside the box near the bye-line, and when the delivery came in, Gerry McDONAGH had the freedom of the area to angle his header back across Kane and inside the far post for a superb finish.
There was to be no fifth for the big striker, who was replaced soon after by Connor Scully, with Fyvie supporting Megginson up front.
Mark Reynolds surged out of defence then played an excellent pass to Longstaff, who put on the after burners, and raced away from Whitelaw. His low cross found Megginson, but Mitch’s shot was blocked.
Reynolds came off soon after, to be replaced by Morgyn Neill, and minutes later there was a triple change with Masson, McIntosh and Dunne taking over from Longstaff, Megginson and Yule. Mitch’s last contribution had been to race on to a Fyvie pass, but he shot into the near side-netting.
Jamie Masson saw an effort blocked at source, Fyvie swung in a dangerous free-kick which curled just wide, and McIntosh and Scully were both within inches of getting on the end of yet another Logan cross.
The players eventually made their dominance count with three more goals in the final ten minutes.
Fraser Fyvie caught the Dunipace defence out with a delightful, chipped pass, and Leighton McINTOSH raced clear, beating the keeper with a perfectly-judged lob from twenty yards.
Leighton was at the heart of the sixth goal shortly after. Picking the ball up in midfield, he showed great skill and close control to dance away from three or four challenges, before playing in Masson. Jamie’s shot took a deflection and fell for Fraser FYVIE, who was alert enough to skip past the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net.
There was no let-up in the intensity of our play, and within three minutes, it was 7-0. Connor Scully switched the focus of the attack, Logan and Fyvie got involved on the right, and when Fraser delivered, Jamie MASSON climbed highest to head home his third goal of the season.
Dunipace manager, Danny Smith, took the unusual step of putting on his substitute goalkeeper, Zander Gilchrist, in the wake of that, and he was instantly called into action, diving to save Fyvie’s drive from the edge of the penalty area.
The midfielder came close again seconds later, getting a touch to a low driven cross from Cieran Dunne, but Gilchrist denied him by grabbing the ball.
Over the piece, it was a polished performance in difficult conditions, and with a place in the hat secured, the club can now look forward to Monday night’s draw with the Premiership clubs entering the fray.
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): McKenzie; Logan, Ross, Reynolds (Neill 56), Towler; Longstaff (Dunne 63), Yule (Masson 63), Gilmour, Fyvie; Megginson (c) (McIntosh 63), McDonagh (Scully 53)
Substitutes: Gourlay, Vigurs, Leitch,
Goalscorers: McDonagh (17, 38, 47, 49), McIntosh (82), Fyvie (84), Masson (87)
Booked: Reynolds (28)
DUNIPACE (4-1-4-1): D. Kane (Gilchrist 87); R. Kane, A. Grant, McCroary, Whitelaw; McNeil (Nash 61); Wright (c) (France 61), Morrison, Herron, Colley (Fleming 69); D. Grant (McGuckin 69),
Substitutes: Stevenson, McArthur,
Referee: Matthew MacDermid
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Photos by Dave Cowe