League One / Balmoral Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 09 Mar 24 / 15:00

Cove Rangers







There were to be no celebrations to mark our 150th game in the SPFL as the side stuttered to one of the poorest displays of the season allowing Montrose to coast to victory. Three nil up with little over half an hour played, the visitors added a fourth with twenty minutes remaining. Connor Scully’s fine strike soon after was no more than minor consolation on what was a hugely disappointing afternoon.

Paul Hartley had named an unchanged line-up from the midweek encounter against Falkirk with Paul McGowan returning to the bench after recovering from a back problem. Blair Yule was still absent due to his troublesome ankle injury.

It was a scrappy start to the match on what was a cold, blustery afternoon, and having already come close when Lyons’ angled shot flew over the bar, Montrose took the lead in the ninth minute.

A long ball forward caused us problems – which was to be a recurring theme – and Kane HESTER dribbled past both Doyle and Kerr before shooting across Balint Demus and inside the far post.

Cove attempted to hit back quickly, but the final ball was never accurate enough and the visitors dealt comfortably enough with any potential threat. Shiels did get in behind, fastening on to a Scully pass, but Gill was quickly off his line to snatch the ball. Fyvie then had a free-kick charged down and Shiels sent in an inviting cross but failed to find a team-mate.

Montrose might have made it two midway through the half when Gardyne swung in a delivery and Graham appeared to get a flick in the midst of a sea of bodies. Demus threw himself to his left to make a fine one-handed save.

Megginson had a shot blocked and Kerr drove well over from thirty yards, but we failed to seriously trouble the visiting keeper, and our plight worsened as we conceded two more goals in the space of three minutes.

Doyle was adjudged to have pulled down Watson when Gardyne sent in a corner, and from the resultant penalty, Graham WEBSTER drove the ball low and hard into the bottom corner.

Sena had a shot charged down as the team tried to rally, but that was short-lived as Montrose again cut through us with ease. Having played a 1-2 with Webster, Kane HESTER ran clear to finish confidently.

Sena had to go off injured, Cammy Stewart his replacement with Kerr moving up into midfield, and almost immediately Hester raced away from the substitute and in on goal, Demus coming to our rescue as he saved with his left foot.

Our best chance of the first half came just before the interval, Burrell moving clear of Quinn inside the box, but his shot cannoned off the left post.

Little changed from a Cove point of view after the restart, Montrose comfortably clearing their lines whenever we attacked, but there was a big opening in the fifty-fifth minute. Fyvie and Megginson combined to set up Burrell who slipped away from Graham to create space inside the area. His shot was however weak and easily dealt with by Gill.

There was an even better opportunity in our next attack when Scully’s delivery found Josh Kerr free six yards out, but he could only head wide of the right post.

Demus denied Hester a hat-trick, quickly off his line to make a fine stop after clever play from Blair LYONS, who was to make it four within seconds, smashing a low shot beyond Demus after more slack defensive play.

Our only highlight of the day came soon after. Mark Reynolds drove forward and passed to Megginson who laid the ball off to Burrell. The striker in turn rolled it into the path of Connor SCULLY who lashed an excellent shot low into the net from twenty yards.

The only other moment of note came shortly before the end, Fyvie taking a quick free-kick and Connell collecting and cutting inside before curling his shot just over the bar.

The team could have no complaints, Montrose thoroughly deserving of their victory, and with Alloa also winning, we have been left trailing in the race for the playoffs.

COVE RANGERS (3-5-2): Demus; Doyle, Kerr (Connell 69), Reynolds; Darge, Sena (Stewart 40), Fyvie, Scully, Shiels (Jones 73); Burrell, Megginson (c)

Substitutes: Suman, Gillingham, McGowan

Goalscorers: Scully (72)

Booked: Megginson (64)

MONTROSE (3-5-2): Gill; Quinn, Dillon, Graham; Webster (Bradford 86), Machado (Hermiston 69), Watson (c) (Shrive 69), Gardyne, Steeves; Hester (Brown 69), Lyons (Batchelor 80)

Substitutes: Matthews, Paton, Donaldson, Craig

Goalscorers: Hester (9, 32), Webster (pen 29), Lyons (70)

Booked: Gardyne (88)

Referee: Ross Hardie

Attendance: 651

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