COVE RANGERS 1–2 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
A frustrating ninety minutes ended in a narrow defeat, with Queens scoring at the start and end of the first half, then holding up against Cove pressure to clinch the win. Tyler Mykyta finally broke through deep into stoppage time, but it was too little, too late, and our wait for a first home league victory of the year goes on.
After last week’s impressive showing at Links Park, Paul Hartley unsurprisingly named an unchanged line-up. It had been hoped Fraser Fyvie would be back in the squad, but the midfielder, who has been out since January, suffered a setback in training.
The visitors fielded former Cove loanee Kyle McClelland in central defence, alongside veteran Efe Ambrose, who had been on trial at Balmoral Stadium in the summer.
Cove kicked-off and dominated the early possession, but it was Queens who took the lead with their first attack. A swift counter saw the ball played towards the pacy Harvey WALKER and he raced beyond Sena to guide a low angled shot beyond Demus.
We suffered another blow soon after when influential midfielder Josh Kerr crumpled to the pitch holding his ankle. It quickly became clear he would be unable to continue, and Josh limped off to be replaced by Mark Gallagher.
The game might have been levelled up in the thirteenth minute when Connor Scully played in Burrell, who surged into the box. Rumarn’s first effort was blocked by McClelland and his second, a volley, flew over the bar.
McGowan then set up Sena. His effort was charged down and Burrell could not get enough purchase on the rebound, his shot saved easily by Botterill.
Cove were enjoying almost complete dominance in terms of possession, but unable to penetrate the visiting defence. Scully was next to have a go, his thirty yard shot flying just wide of the keeper’s left post.
Burrell almost pounced on a bouncing ball at the back post, and when it ran to Paul McGowan, the midfielder’s shot was diverted just wide.
Gallagher also shot wide, Scully was upended by McClelland – who was booked – and Burrell only just failed to find Williamson with a clever flick. Burrell then headed goalwards from a Scully corner, but the keeper grabbed the ball.
After all that pressure, we were to fall further behind in first half stoppage time.
The Dumfries side were awarded a free-kick twenty-eight yards out and Reegan MIMNAUGH curled his left-foot effort over and around the wall, and just inside Demus’ right post.
After the interval, the pattern remained the same, Cove seeing plenty of the ball but failing to show the incisive front play which had brought such dividends last Saturday. A succession of corners and crosses were cleared by the Queens’ defence who were coping fairly comfortably.
Just before the hour mark, Paul Hartley threw on Kyle Connell to supplement the attack, Jones coming off and Scully dropping to left back.
Connor then headed wide from a Gallagher free-kick, and in the next attack the visitors were reduced to ten men. After a skirmish in the box, keeper Gordon Botterill spat at Mitch Megginson and referee Grieve immediately flashed the red card. Substitute goalkeeper Cowie came on, as did McKay, as Marvin Bartley reverted to a back three.
The pressure continued with Mitch’s flick being deflected for a corner by Logan, McGowan had a shot blocked and Scully’s volley was also charged down.
Megginson saw his half-volley fly just over the bar and his header soon after from a Burrell flick suffered a similar fate.
Gallagher and Williamson then linked-up, Scott’s shot taking a deflection on the way through, and Mykyta’s corner flashed across the six yard box, but evaded everyone.
From the next corner, Will Gillingham was adjudged to have taken a dive and was given his marching orders following a second yellow card.
In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Mark Gallagher was scythed down twenty-three yards out and the referee awarded Cove a free-kick. Tyler MYKYTA stepped up and curled an unstoppable drive around the wall and inside the far post; his first goal for the club.
It was to be the last action, the final whistle sounding as soon as the game restarted.
COVE RANGERS (4-3-1-2): Demus; Sena (Mykyta 76), Stewart, Gillingham, Jones (Connell 59); McGowan, Kerr (Gallagher 8), Scully; Megginson (c); Williamson, Burrell
Substitutes: Suman, Darge, Golding, Reynolds, Davidson-Phipps
Goalscorers: Mykyta (90)
Booked: Gillingham (45), Scully (49), Gillingham (90)
Sent off: Gillingham (90)
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH (4-1-4-1): Botterill; Logan, McClelland, Ambrose, MacIntyre (Gibson 83); Mimnaugh; McKechnie (McKay 70), Todd, Cochrane (Ferguson 44), Walker (Cowie 70); Reilly (Doherty 83)
Substitutes: Houston, Connelly, McGuffie, Irving
Goalscorers: Walker (3), Mimnaugh (45)
Booked: McClelland (30), McKechnie (49)
Sent off: Botterill (68)
Referee: Alastair Grieve
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