COVE RANGERS 1–0 MONTROSE
Rumarn Burrell’s ninth goal of the season proved enough to clinch the three points for Cove in what was a hard-fought encounter against Montrose. Our visitors had the bulk of the play in the second half, but could not find a way through, as the defence racked-up a fourth straight clean sheet.
Having fielded the same eleven in the wins over Hamilton and Kelty Hearts, the manager was forced into making one change for this one after captain Mitch Megginson took ill. Scott Williamson stepped up from the substitutes bench.
On a bitterly cold evening, and with rain driving across the pitch, it took both teams time to settle and it was not until the fifth minute that either was able to create anything going forward.
Fraser Fyvie played the ball from deep, Jacob Jones helped it on, and Williamson drove at the Montrose rearguard before passing back infield. Fyvie gathered and unleased a twenty-five yard shot which forced Gill into a decent save low at his post.
Within a minute we came close again, Burrell flicking the ball on for Williamson to chase down. The striker was forced wide by Quinn and could only shoot into the side netting.
It was Montrose who might have broken the deadlock in the twelfth minute. In attempting to pass back from halfway, Burrell overhit his effort and the ball skidded beyond Gillingham for Hester to run on to. Nick Suman was alert to the danger and out quickly to clear, the away striker booked for a late challenge on the keeper.
Seconds later, Brown gathered a through ball, swivelled, and fired a volley goalwards forcing Suman to dive to his right to make a fine stop. It was to be his only significant save of the match.
With seventeen minutes on the clock, Cove should have gone in front. Mikey Doyle took a throw-in, gathered the return ball, and played in Rumarn Burrell. The striker raced to the byeline and crossed, Scott Williamson taking a touch to create space, but he was denied by Gill who dived to his right to make the save.
Mark Reynolds then pinged a forty yard pass towards Burrell, who cushioned the ball into the box. Paul McGowan ran on to it and tried to lob the keeper but could only nudge his effort into Gill’s hands.
We then put together a fine five-man move with Fyvie and Yule both involved, the former winning a free-kick out wide on the right. The midfielder’s delivery was half-cleared, but Reynolds’ right foot twenty-five yard shot flew over the bar.
Montrose came close when Lyons shot too high from a tight angle, then Gardyne floated a free-kick on to the head of Waddell, but Suman dealt with the situation comfortably.
With two minutes of the half remaining, Thomson set off on a mazy run deep in the box and flashed in a powerful low cross, but Hester, at the back post, could only divert the ball wide from two yards out.
The visitors were to pay for that in first half stoppage time.
With Kerr Waddell having limped off, they were down to ten men when Mikey Doyle forced a corner at the back post. The goal that followed came straight off the training ground.
Connor Scully played it short to McGowan, who had run out of the box, and when Paul returned the pass, Scully curled in an inviting cross. Reynolds flicked it on, and Rumarn BURRELL was on had to smash home from point blank range.
With conditions worsening, it was a quiet start to the second half, but we had a big opening in the fifty-first minute. Jones headed out a Montrose corner on the left and Burrell gathered, still deep in his own territory. The striker then set off to run virtually the length of the pitch, defenders trailing in his wake, but with Yule calling for a pass, Rumarn went for goal himself, his twenty yard effort sailing over the bar.
Montrose took a grip on the match in the wake of that, and after Lyons had shown superb skill, weaving through the penalty area, the ball rolled out to Thomson who fired just wide from the edge of the box.
Paul Hartley then took off Williamson and introduced Cameron Stewart as he switched to a back three, but still the visitors were enjoying the bulk of the possession and pressure. They came close again when Suman punched out Thomson’s dangerous driven cross, Steeves gathering before seeing his shot charged down by the outrushing Cove defence.
As the game moved into its final ten minutes, we at last began to see a bit more of the ball and were able to take the steam out of the visitors’ forward momentum. And we might have settled matters with five minutes remaining. Fyvie played a pass out wide, Scully sent in a superb delivery, and Burrell headed goalwards only to see Graham deflect the ball out for a corner.
Fyvie then had an audacious effort from a free-kick wide on the left, his expertly struck delivery looked to be curling in at the back post only for Gill to stretch back and tip the ball for a corner.
From there, the players saw the game out comfortably enough, despite the referee inexplicably adding on six minutes of stoppage time.
It was an evening when the team failed to hit the heights they have managed of late, but dug in, and found a way to win, extending the unbeaten run to eight matches while securing a fifth successive victory, a result which moved them clear into third place in the League One table.
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Doyle, Gillingham, Reynolds, Jones; Yule (Darge 78), McGowan, Fyvie (c) (Sena 90), Scully; Williamson (Stewart 72), Burrell
Substitutes: Demus, Connell, Kerr, Mykyta, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Burrell (45)
Booked: Scully (42)
MONTROSE (4-4-2): Gill; Dillon (Watson 86), Waddell (Graham 46), Quinn, Steeves (c); Brown, Thomson, Gardyne, Shrive (Webster 67); Hester (Batchelor 67), Lyons
Substitutes: Matthews, Williamson, Hermiston, Callaghan
Booked: Hester (12), Lyons (82), Webster (86)
Referee: Alastair Grieve
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