COVE RANGERS 2–0 QUEEN’S PARK
The players put on a five star show for the BBC Scotland cameras to secure three valuable Championship points, with Connor Scully once again the two-goal hero. The midfielder was on hand to convert Luis Longridge’s cross early on, and slid home his eighth of the season with fourteen minutes remaining from a pinpoint Blair Yule pass.
Jim McIntyre had made one change to the starting line-up, Stuart McKenzie returning for his first league appearance in place of Kyle Gourlay, following last week’s 4-4 draw at Hamilton.
Injury victims Scott Ross and Kyle McClelland were still out, and they were joined on the sidelines by Evan Towler, but Leighton McIntosh was back from suspension, and there was a welcome return for Fraser Fyvie, who took his place on the bench after a seven-game absence.
Having lost to Cove in all three League Two encounters in 2019/20, the Glasgow side had dominated the fixture since, winning two and drawing three of the more recent matches.
And it was the visitors who started the brightest, with Josh McPake immediately putting pressure on the Cove back line. After running from his own half, the winger slipped in Murray, who cut inside before firing a low shot which brought a save out of McKenzie within thirty seconds, the restored keeper blocking the effort with his legs.
Danger averted, the home side pushed forward, and opened the scoring after a fine move. Jack Sanders passed out of defence to Max Johnston, who showed superb skill to create space on halfway, then fed the ball down the line to Longstaff. Luis took it towards the bye-line and crossed, Connor SCULLY ghosting in at the back post to give Ferrie no chance with his first time strike.
Grant Savoury tried to hit back, his run and pass setting up McPake whose angled shot was deflected away by Johnston.
Simon Murray was next to threaten, but Mark Reynolds reacted quickly to clear. Seconds later, the centre-half found himself in the left-wing position, his cross clutched by Ferrie.
Queen’s were playing some attractive football, and Stuart McKenzie was called into action again, diving to his right to gather Thomson’s low drive. Reynolds thwarted the visitors’ next attack, heading a Savoury cross away, then Murray, stumbling in the box, hooked a shot goalwards, but it trundled wide of the far post.
Back came Cove. Scully sent the ball wide, Megginson gathered and slipped the ball back inside, and Connor got on the end of it, his low angled shot being saved down by the post.
McKenzie started our next move, rolling the ball out to Sanders. Jack held off a challenge, then surged forward, running fifty yards upfield until he reached the edge of the box. With the fans expecting him to shoot, the central defender instead passed to Megginson, whose angled shot flew over the bar.
In the twenty-seventh minute, Cove passed up a glaring opportunity to double their advantage.
Gerry McDonagh gathered on halfway and played in Scully, who ran free, and sent an inch perfect pass to Longstaff, free in the box, but with defenders converging, Luis took a touch, and Ferrie was quickly off his line to smother the ball.
Mitch Megginson then got on the end of a Scully knock-down, but again fired over.
Having had to defend for a spell, Queen’s Park got back on the front foot, Savoury’s effort from twelve yards sailing over the bar, before Jarrett’s low shot was deflected wide.
Gerry McDonagh then suffered a head knock, and with blood pouring from a wound, had to leave the pitch to be bandaged-up by physio Aimee Clark.
He was off for five minutes, during which time McPake came close at one end, his curling shot going just wide, and Scully threatened at the other, Bannon desperately blocking his effort.
Megginson was then thwarted by Ferrie, who saved by his post after the captain had created space and unleashed an angled shot.
Gerry returned to the fray having been patched-up and Eze twice got his head to dangerous crosses before Megginson again came close, his volley flashing inches wide. Mitch was then booked for a challenge on McPake, a decision which will count him out for next week’s visit to Gayfield.
The visitors began the second half brightly, Thomson’s pass freeing up McPake, but McKenzie again made a superb save with his feet.
Longstaff was bundled over in the box by Eze, but referee Irvine waved play on, then another fine flowing Cove move came to nothing, Robson booting the ball to safety with Yule attempting to reach a Megginson pass.
McKenzie was smartly off his line soon after, diving at the feet of the onrushing Eze and Jarrett to prevent Queen’s from levelling.
It was to be Eze’s last contribution as he and Jack Sanders were left prone on the ground after a nasty collision, both players requiring lengthy treatment. Jack was eventually able to play on, but the Queen’s defender had to be replaced by Jake Davidson.
Longstaff and Johnston were causing havoc for the visitors’ back line, and after their latest combination, McDonagh turned and fired just over. Scully did likewise moments later, then it was Queen’s on the attack, McKenzie again pulling off an excellent save from Murray’s low shot.
In the seventy-fifth minute, Scully delivered an inviting cross from the left and Megginson’s glancing header flew agonisingly wide of the far post, but the goal was delayed only momentarily.
After good possession play, and a good advantage given by the referee, Blair Yule split the Queen’s Park defence with a finely judged pass. Connor SCULLY met it first time, his low angled shot too hot to handle for Ferrie, who got fingertips to it, but couldn’t prevent the ball from finding the net just inside the far post.
In the 80th minute, Fraser Fyvie made his long-awaited return, replacing Gerry McDonagh, who had put in a power of work, and Fyvie was to be prominent in the closing stages.
The midfielder shot just over from twenty yards, and later came even closer, his flashing header skimming the top of the bar. In between, Blair Yule had a big chance to score his first of the season following a brilliant run and pass by Max Johnston, but after steadying himself, fired over from the edge of the box.
The referee had signalled six minutes of stoppage time, but the boys ran the clock down in a professional manner, keeping the ball up by the corner flag for most of the additional period.
There was one last opportunity for Queen’s, but Stuart McKenzie capped an excellent return to the side by scooping a headed effort over the bar to preserve his clean sheet.
It was an open game, one which must have been enjoyed by the BBC Scotland viewers, but after a much improved defensive performance, and some thrilling attacking play, the team trooped off having secured a well-merited victory.
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): McKenzie; Johnston, Sanders, Reynolds, Logan; Longstaff, Yule, Gilmour, Scully; Megginson (c), McDonagh (Fyvie 80)
Substitutes: Gourlay, Neill, Masson, McIntosh, Vigurs, Leitch, Dunne,
Goalscorers: Scully (3, 76)
Booked: Megginson (45), Reynolds (57)
QUEEN’S PARK (4-1-4-1): Ferrie; Bannon, Eze (Davidson 62), Kilday, Robson (D. Boateng 72); M. Boateng; Savoury, Thomson, Jarrett (Williamson 66), McPake; Murray
Substitutes: Herraghty, Naismith, Fox, Longridge, Kenny, Bruce,
Booked: D. Boateng (84), McPake (90)
Referee: Grant Irvine
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