DUNDEE 0–0 COVE RANGERS
A superb defensive display earned the side a point which could be vital in the late bid to retain our Championship status. Man of the match Mark Reynolds and his team-mates limited Dundee to few clear cut scoring chances, and every player involved gave everything for the cause on a night which was all about grit, determination and organisation.
The team now know that a win in our final match of the season against Morton will at the very least guarantee a place in the play-offs.
Paul Hartley’s injury nightmare had continued with both Michael O’Halloran and Leighton McIntosh added to the casualty list for the trip to Dens. With Fyvie, Paterson, Yule and Virtanen out for the season, it meant the manager was without six key players for this crucial encounter.
Shay Logan returned to the line-up, playing at left wingback, with Jackson Longridge pushed further upfield, and there was a start for the goal hero in Arbroath, Morgyn Neill. Cieran Dunne, who had been struggling with a shoulder injury, was fit enough only for a place on the bench.
Dundee were unchanged from last week’s 1-1 draw in Inverness.
Backed by a sizeable and noisy support, the home side kicked-off shooting down the slope, but it was not until the seventh minute that they made any headway. Jakubiak burst away from a challenge near the centre circle, and after a 1-2 with McCowan, raced in behind the Cove back line. His low cutback fizzed across the six yard box, but Robinson, sliding in, could only divert the ball wide of the back post.
In the wake of that opening, the boys began to frustrate Dundee, and the stadium quietened down considerably. Containment was clearly the name of the game, but we fashioned a half chance in the eighteenth minute. Shay Logan delivered a long throw into the area which was headed clear. Mark Reynolds was quick to react, nudging the ball back into the area, and Jackson Longridge sent in a shot which bounced wide.
Dundee then came close when Marshall’s curling cross found Lee Ashcroft, but the central defender’s looping header from ten yards landed on top of the net.
Another Logan throw in caused problems for the home defence in the twenty seventh minute, the scrambled clearance falling in front of Scully, but his half volley on the slide arced high over the bar.
Generally, the players were finding it hard to get up the park, and Megginson was having to drop deep to get any kind of possession. When he did, that inevitably meant he had nowhere to go, and it was proving to be a lonely battle for the captain who all too often found himself as the first line of defence.
With five minutes of the half left, our injury curse struck again as Jackson Longridge failed to get up after a strong challenge. He received treatment and attempted to continue but had to admit defeat and was replaced by Cieran Dunne.
Mitch then very nearly sprang a counter-attack as he danced between two Dundee players, only to be tugged to the ground by Maguire, who was booked for the offence.
Dundee had one last foray into our penalty area, Megginson eventually clearing the danger after McCowan’s corner had sparked a scramble, and over the piece it had been a strong defensive showing during which the back line had coped comfortably enough with the title chasers’ attack.
There was a corner for the home side soon after the interval following good link up play between Mulligan and McCowan, Vigurs clearing the danger, but Dundee kept up the pressure, winning another corner from which Maguire fired goalwards, his volley blocked by the head of Logan.
It was all Dundee now, but the defence stood firm with first Reynolds, then Ross, making headed clearances.
In the fifty seventh minute we forced a corner of our own, but Vigurs’ delivery was knocked out and the home side broke away. Having overhit the ball, Cameron went in late on Logan, flooring the Cove defender, but referee Aitken allowed the challenge to go unpunished. Robinson then shot high over from close range after Dundee had worked their way into the box.
We ventured forward on occasion, but in the main it was a backs-to-the-wall performance, and as the game moved into its final twenty minutes, the frustration of the home fans could be heard quite clearly around the stadium.
Declan Glass came on for a rare appearance, taking over from Iain Vigurs, and the midfielder found himself quickly involved, winning the ball and feeding it out to Longstaff. Luis cut in, then fired for goal, but his twenty yard effort was charged down.
With eight minutes remaining, Mulligan crossed from the right and McCowan got his head to it, but Scott Fox gathered comfortably. It was one of few saves he had to make all night.
We then enjoyed a period of possession further up the field with Glass and Longstaff heavily involved. Luis won a corner, which was partially cleared, but the front players quickly regained the ball, and kept Dundee penned back, allowing our defence some much needed respite.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time Cameron smashed a shot from twenty-five yards, Fox pushing it over the bar, and from the resultant corner the ball was deflected against the post and rolled behind.
The final whistle blew a few seconds later, confirming the side had secured a brave draw, a result which means survival is still in our own hands. The main concern for the manager in the coming week will be patching together a team for the climax against Morton at Balmoral Stadium.
DUNDEE: (4-4-2) Legzdins; Mulligan, Ashcroft, Sweeney (c), Marshall; McCowan (Clampin 87), Maguire (Williamson 87), Cameron, Hannant (McMullan 72); Jakubiak (Thomas 72), Robinson
Substitutes: Lawlor, Kerr, Byrne, Fisher, Reedy
Booked: Maguire (45), Marshall (86)
COVE RANGERS: (5-4-1) Fox; Naismith, Ross, Neill, Reynolds, Logan; Longstaff, Vigurs (Glass 71), Scully, Longridge (Dunne 43); Megginson (c) (Weston 83)
Substitutes: Gourlay, Bangala
Booked: Neill (23), Megginson (53), Scully (59), Glass (86)
Referee: Greg Aitken
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