League One / Balmoral Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 23 Mar 24 / 15:00

Cove Rangers




Hamilton Academical



We fell to an undeserved defeat as Accies hit us with a late double sucker-punch to snatch all three points. An unlucky Connor Scully own goal had given them the early lead, but the midfielder levelled with a stunning long-range strike, and Cove looked the more likely to go on to win the match until the heartbreak of the last seven minutes.

Blair Yule was still missing for this one, and Matty Shiels joined him on the sidelines, but having been absent last weekend, Sena returned to the squad. The one change from the win at Kelty saw Jacob Jones in for the injured Shiels.

With Cameron Stewart also on the casualty list, the manager had just three outfield players on the bench.

On a cold and blustery afternoon, Hamilton enjoyed the bulk of the early possession and might have grabbed an early advantage when after the second of two Smith crosses was cleared, Tumilty let fly a powerful angled shot, Demus making a fine save with his foot.

Scully and Megginson then mounted our first serious attack, Mitch chipping a shot goalwards, but it carried on the gusty wind and dropped wide of the far post. Seconds later, we again came close. After Fraser Fyvie was fouled in the centre circle, Josh Kerr had an audacious attempt on goal, his free-kick from inside his own half clearing keeper Lyness but landing just over the bar.

Megginson had a shot deflected wide, then Fyvie’s corner caused mayhem as Accies attempted to scramble it away. Mitch looked to have been fouled in the melee, but referee Grainger waved away our claims.

Hamilton took the lead in their next attack. Wiliamson threaded a pass through, and Tumilty somehow appeared on the left, racing towards the byeline. His low cross took a nick off Connor SCULLY and flew past the helpless Demus.

Cove were undaunted, and after Longridge had given the ball away, Paul McGowan clipped a superb angled pass into the box, Burrell’s hitch-kick volley flying just wide. Midway through the half Fyvie’s header found McGowan and the midfielder’s twenty yard drive stung the fingertips of Lyness.

We kept up the pressure, Burrell forcing a corner and after the keeper had dropped Scully’s delivery Mark Reynolds’ overhead kick landed on the roof of the net.

The wind and driving rain made for difficult conditions, but both sides were creating opportunities. Smith sclaffed an effort wide for the visitors, then Cove came agonisingly close to equalising. After linking up with Darge, Fyvie fired in a vicious cross/shot which deceived the keeper but bounced off the back post.

Williamson shot wide from twenty yards for Accies, then Megginson set up Burrell who raced behind the Hamilton back line, but his final touch was too heavy, and allowed Lyness to gather.

We again came close just before the interval, Fyvie crossing from the right and Mitch heading inches over.

There was bright sunshine as the second half got underway and Cove dominated the early exchanges without making the breakthrough.

They might have fallen further behind though when Rose got in behind. Balint Demus saved his first effort, Reynolds blocked his second then Demus tipped over when the striker tried for the third time.

We were to level soon after. Megginson chipped the ball infield, McGowan laid it off cleverly and Connor SCULLY rifled it into the top corner from the edge of the box.

It was all Cove now. Fyvie had a shot blocked, Reynolds had a header saved under the bar then Burrell’s shot on the turn was deflected wide.

Fyvie then found Megginson with an inch perfect pass and when the keeper pushed out Mitch’s shot, Burrell looked certain to score, but his first effort was saved and the follow up blocked.

Hamilton then mounted a rare attack, O’Hara’s snapshot hitting the bar.

Megginson almost got in behind but was hauled down by Longridge, who collected the games first booking. Scully’s subsequent low free kick was blocked by the wall.

Hamilton then snatched the game with two goals in three minutes. The first came from a cross from the right which was flicked on, and Euan HENDERSON almost inadvertently guided it inside the post. In their next attack Doyle cleared off the line from Henderson, but our reprieve was short lived, Kevin O’HARA lashing the ball high into the net from outside the box.

It was a cruel end to the encounter, the team’s performance undeserving of defeat, but with both Alloa and Montrose also losing, we at least did not lose further ground in the race for the playoffs.

COVE RANGERS (4-1-3-2): Demus; Darge, Doyle, Reynolds, Jones; Kerr; Fyvie, McGowan (Connell 85), Scully; Megginson (c), Burrell

Substitutes: Suman, Sena, Gillingham

Goalscorers: Scully (56)


HAMILTON (4-2-3-1): Lyness; Tumilty, McGowan (c), Owens (Kilday 23), Longridge; Williamson, Davidson; Smith (Redfern 81), O’Hara, Barjonas (Hastie 71); Rose (Henderson 81)

Substitutes: Fulton, Winter, Hewitt, Kirk, Hendrie

Goalscorers: Scully (og 13), Henderson (83), O’Hara (86)

Booked: Longridge (79)

Referee: Graham Grainger

Attendance: 521

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