COVE RANGERS 2–2 KELTY HEARTS
Despite a much improved performance, the team had to settle for a draw against their visitors from Fife, defensive lapses allowing Kelty to move into a 2-0 lead before captain Mitch Megginson rescued a point with a double, including a serious contender for goal of the season.
With Blair Yule having made his return last weekend and Fraser Fyvie fit again after an eight-month absence, Paul Hartley made four changes for what was the first ever league meeting between the sides.
Blair and Fraser both started and there were recalls for Cameron Stewart and Jacob Jones. Gillingham, Darge, Gallagher and Williamson dropped to the bench.
Cove opened brightly, Yule sending in an inviting cross which our former keeper, Kyle Gourlay, took confidently, but it was Kelty who were to snatch an early lead.
Owens delivered from the left and two visiting players were unmarked as the ball came in. Biabi got a flick to it, pulling an outstanding save out of Nick Suman. From the resultant corner, there was more poor defending as first O’Ware then Adam CORBETT were given free headers. Suman superbly saved the initial effort but could do nothing as the full back nodded home from close range.
The team responded positively as McGowan and Megginson combined to make headway, the ball being played out to Yule. His infield pass teed-up Mark Reynolds who let fly from twenty-five yards, but his effort was charged down.
Jacob Jones was enjoying his comeback and played a lovely ball over the top for Rumarn Burrell to run on to, but the striker was crowded out. That was typical of this period of the game, Cove dominating possession with Fyvie, Scully and Yule heavily involved. There was more energy and a freshness to the performance, but no killer final pass at the end of the various moves which were being constructed.
They might have been punished in the seventeenth minute when after a rare foray forward, player-manager Michael Tidser drove a powerful effort towards the bottom corner, Suman diving to his right to hold it impressively.
After more good link-up between Burrell, McGowan and Jones, the full back’s cross found Yule at the back post, but his shot was deflected for a corner, and from Scully’s resultant delivery, Blair headed wide.
Jones had an excellent cross cleared and a low angled shot blocked, then Fyvie drove well over from thirty yards. It was all Cove, but out of nothing, Kelty went 2-0 ahead. As they countered, Billy OWENS played the ball forward, Biabi laid it off, and the defender ran free of his marker to shoot home off the inside of the back post.
The home side finally got a foothold with six minutes of the half left, and it was a goal of the highest quality. Fyvie swung in a corner which Gourlay punched out. Fraser gathered it again and played a pass infield towards Scully, who moved it to the right with a clever flick. Mitch MEGGINSON controlled the ball then unleashed an unstoppable shot high past the keeper.
The players began the second half in similarly dominant fashion, Gourlay having to save at Megginson’s feet, then after a good move involving half the team, Scully shot over from twenty-five yards.
Cove had all of the ball and had Kelty hemmed-in, but the visitors were defending stoutly. Megginson and Burrell found a way through, Rumarn setting up Yule, but the midfielder’s shot – which looked goal-bound – was blocked by Owens for a corner.
We finally got a richly deserved equaliser a couple of minutes later.
Scully took a short corner to Fyvie, who drove into the box and sent in a powerful angled shot which Gourlay beat away. Sena got first to the rebound and his effort struck the arm of one of the Kelty defenders. Referee McFarlane pointed immediately to the spot.
After a delay as the visitors protested the award, Mitch MEGGINSON stepped up to confidently sent the ball high beyond Gourlay’s despairing reach.
Mitch then required treatment after a heavy challenge by Thomson, but was able to continue, and came close soon after. After a well-worked move down the left, the captain took a touch and made space for himself in the box, but O’Ware charged his shot down.
Yule fired over at the back post, then Fyvie took a touch rather than shoot and he was closed out. Kelty were defending with their lives, Cove launching wave after wave of attacks, and we so nearly grabbed the lead in the eighty-sixth minute.
McGowan lifted a superb ball over the top for Williamson to run on to, and just as Scott was setting himself to shoot, the substitute was cynically brought down by Jason Thomson, who was instantly red-carded.
As the match moved into a lengthy period of stoppage time, Williamson had a fine effort saved by Gourlay low at the post, then soon after, from a Megginson pass, Scott turned and shot, the keeper beating the ball away to safety.
It was a frustrating conclusion to a game the team certainly deserved to win, but having put on a much better display, the players should be in a more positive mood for next week’s trip to Edinburgh.
COVE RANGERS (3-5-2): Suman; Sena, Stewart, Reynolds; Yule (Connell 83), McGowan, Fyvie (Williamson 77), Scully, Jones; Megginson (c), Burrell
Substitutes: Demus, Gillingham, Ochmanski, Darge, Mykyta, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Megginson (35, pen 52)
Booked: McGowan (45), Connell (85)
KELTY HEARTS (4-5-1): Gourlay; Corbett (Cameron 59), Thomson, O’Ware, B. Owens; O’Donnell (L. Owens 87), Lyon, Tidser, Cunningham, McCluskey; Biabi (Daramola 66)
Substitutes: Hunter, Campbell
Goalscorers: Corbett (3), B. Owens (35)
Booked: McCluskey (20), Cunningham (50), Corbett (52)
Sent Off: Thomson (87)
Referee: Dan McFarlane
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