COVE RANGERS 3–1 STIRLING ALBION
Rumarn Burrell’s first senior hat-trick secured the points for Cove and extended our unbeaten run to nine matches. The striker notched his opener just before the interval, cancelling out Carrick’s well-taken goal for Albion, who had been the better side in the opening half. The team was much improved in the second, Rumarn’s treble clinching what was, in the end, a deserved victory.
Paul Hartley had been forced into making two changes with Mark Reynolds unwell and Fraser Fyvie failing to recover from a knock picked up in the midweek win over Montrose.
Josh Kerr – making his first appearance since breaking his ankle at the end of August – returned in central defence with Arron Darge taking over from Fyvie in midfield.
And there was a further alteration, captain Mitch Megginson back from illness to take the place of Scott Williamson alongside Burrell.
The driving rain and strong winds had subsided somewhat by the time the visitors kicked-off, but it took both sides a little while to settle, Cove threatening first when Darge played in Jones and the full-back’s cross was deflected for a corner by Leitch.
The pair combined again soon after, but after some interplay between McGowan, Yule and Doyle, the move broke down. It was to be a familiar theme through the opening forty-five.
Jones had another cross deflected for a corner, Scully’s delivery finding the head of Will Gillingham, but his effort was clutched comfortably by Currie. Another decent move foundered when, after play had been switched from left to right, Megginson and Doyle linked-up, but failed to find a way through.
Josh Kerr then chipped a nice ball over the top for McGowan to chase, but frustratingly, the ball skidded on the wet surface and through to Currie.
Burrell sent in a dangerous cross from the right which was headed clear, and Jones saw the same outcome when he delivered from the left in the next attack.
Out of nowhere, midway through the half, Stirling took the lead. Burrell misplaced his pass, Darge was dispossessed by McLean, and the Albion captain fed through an inch-perfect pass. Dale CARRICK ran on to it before curling a fine effort beyond Suman, the first goal we had conceded in 392 minutes.
The players continued to enjoy decent possession, but crosses and corners continually failed to find their intended target, and we were unable to seriously threaten the visitors’ goal.
Dunsmore might have made it 2-0, in the clear at a tight angle, but Suman made the save and Leitch scrambled his shot wide from the rebound.
Two minutes later, we were level.
Connor Scully was brought down wide on the left and picked himself up to take the delivery. Rumarn BURRELL got a first touch on the ball, steadied himself, then hammered it past Currie from eight yards.
We were much improved almost immediately after the resumption of play.
McGowan fed the ball wide to Blair Yule who set off on a run and fired in a cross. Mitch Megginson only just failed to make contact, but Burrell did, his flick saved by the keeper. Burrell then forced McLean into conceding a corner which Gillingham won at the back post, but his looping header failed to find the net.
The second goal arrived sixty seconds later, and it was of the highest quality.
Connor Scully took control of the ball in midfield, switching it to the left for Jacob Jones to run on to. The full-back raced past McGeachie to the bye-line and stood up an inviting cross, Rumarn BURRELL climbing high to power a header down then high up into the roof of the net.
Soon after, Megginson broke away from three defenders, despite clearly being pulled back, and fed a pass into the box which Burrell only just failed to reach.
Albion had a rare attack in the sixty-sixth minute, Cooper breaking down the left, cutting-in and unleashing a powerful shot, Suman diving out to punch the ball to safety.
Megginson then attempted to play in Scully, who bundled past a couple of challenges, but was eventually closed down. The third goal did however finally arrive in our next attack.
Blair Yule collected the ball wide right and played it infield. Megginson gathered and ran at two defenders, surging between them and into the box. With the stadium expecting him to shoot, the skipper unselfishly squared it for Rumarn BURRELL who slid the ball into the net to complete his hat-trick.
Burrell then superbly controlled a long ball and laid it off for Mitch, who played it into the box. Blair Yule took it in his stride, smashing his effort goalwards, but was denied by the diving Currie.
Kyle Connell came on as a late substitute, his first action to take a free-kick from out on the left which he whipped in to trouble Currie, the keeper scrambling it to safety. Kyle was adopting a shoot-on-sight policy, his next effort, a powerful thirty-yarder, again spilled by the keeper before being cleared.
Megginson was at the heart of our next move, a great touch and pass finding Connell, who rolled it into the area for Burrell. The striker shot, but Currie was quickly off his line, and made the save.
Mitch very nearly got what would have been a deserved goal in the final minute. He gathered the ball, skipped past two challenges and shot low, but Currie got a touch to divert the shot just wide of the far post.
It was to be the last action of what had been a strong second half showing, Burrell’s treble securing a sixth straight win which kept us clear in third place in the table and added to the team’s confidence ahead of next weekend’s Scottish Cup tie between the pair.
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Doyle, Kerr, Gillingham, Jones; Yule, Darge (Sena 73), McGowan (Connell 78), Scully; Megginson (c), Burrell (Williamson 90)
Substitutes: Demus, Mykyta, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Burrell (43, 55, 71)
Booked: Megginson (37), Williamson (90)
STIRLING ALBION (4-4-2): Currie; McGeachie, McGregor, McLean (c), Wilson; Dunsmore (Clark 82), Miller (Banner 74), Leitch, Cooper; Moore, Carrick,
Substitutes: Weir, Curtis, Isaac, Omobude
Goalscorers: Carrick (21)
Referee: Peter Stuart
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