DUNDEE 3-0 COVE RANGERS
What had been a strong and disciplined defensive display was undone in the space of two minutes early in the second half as the promotion favourites took a stranglehold on the game with a quickfire double. Despite Scott Fox saving a penalty, Dundee were in charge from that point, and ran out comfortable winners.
With Fraser Fyvie ruled out for the season, the manager was also without Blair Yule and Brody Paterson, who picked up ligament damage in training during the week.
Recent signings David Bangala and Gime Toure were both included for the first time, David replacing Leighton McIntosh in the only change to the starting line-up, while Gime was handed a place on the bench.
It was a quiet start to the encounter, both sides getting a feel for the ball, but neither able to create any meaningful openings, and it was not until the eleventh minute that anything of note happened. Connor Scully controlled a bouncing ball and laid it off to Mitch Megginson, and the skipper set off towards the home goal, wriggling his way just inside the box before shooting wide of the near post.
Cove were settling in nicely now, and after a sustained period of possession in which they were dominating the ball, Logan set Dunne clear on the left. Cieran drove the ball in, and there were loud shouts for handball and a penalty, which referee Napier was quick to wave away.
Dundee threatened for the first time in the twentieth minute. McCowan and Cameron linked up well to fashion some space in the box, but when the latter shot from ten yards, Scott Ross was quick to react and diverted the ball for a corner.
Morgyn Neill was almost caught out soon after while trying to let the ball through, forcing Scott Fox to race from his line to clear. The ball was gathered by Cameron thirty-five yards out, but thankfully the youngster shot high over the bar.
It was Dundee’s turn to apply a bit more pressure now, and from an inviting McMullan cross, Neill relieved the danger with a powerful headed clearance at the back post.
Kwame Thomas won the home side a succession of free-kicks, tumbling to the ground whenever a Cove player made any kind of challenge, but McMullan was unable to take advantage with his deliveries.
He was given another opportunity shortly before the interval, Miko Virtanen booked for a clear foul on Kerr twenty-six yards out, but the ball into the box was easily dealt with, Scully hammering it clear.
Over the piece, it had been a first half low on quality, with the highlight coming in the third minute of stoppage time. The impressive Cameron controlled the ball and unleased a thirty-yard drive which looked headed for the top corner only for Scott Fox to leap across his six-yard box and claw it for a corner with his outstretched left hand. It was another outstanding save by the Cove keeper, following on from his superb performance at Firhill last weekend.
Having made two substitutions, the home side were quickly on top after the interval, but the boys again defended well. Dunne blocked a McMullan cross, Scott Ross cleared an effort and Longstaff averted the danger at the back post before Ashcroft headed over from eight yards.
The breakthrough came in the fiftieth minute. After good interplay on the right, substitute Zach ROBINSON raced to the bye-line and fired low and hard to the near post, Fox unable to prevent the ball from squirming in.
Almost immediately in was two-nil, with the two Dundee substitutes linking-up to double their advantage. Robinson turned provider this time, teeing up the opportunity perfectly for Alex JAKUBIAK who drilled his shot low into the corner of the net from fifteen yards.
Paul Hartley then made a double switch, Bangala and Dunne being replaced by McIntosh and Toure, for his debut. Gime’s first contribution was to concede a penalty for a foul on Cameron. The Dundee midfielder took the spot-kick himself, and struck it well enough, but Scott Fox dived to his right to pull off another excellent one-handed save.
With twenty minutes remaining, Mitch Megginson limped off holding his hamstring to be replaced by Tony Weston, and the new man had an almost immediate opening. Toure showed what he has to offer, collecting the ball on halfway and driving forward before teeing up Weston, but Tony’s sixteen-yard shot was too close to Legzdins.
Longstaff then flashed in an inviting cross which the keeper clutched inside the six-yard box.
Gime Toure’s eventful debut continued with a booking for a foul on Fisher, then Fox pulled off another superb save, tipping over Sweeney’s strong header.
The third Dundee goal came with eleven minutes to go, expertly set up by Paul McMullan who clipped a ball perfectly into the box for Lyall CAMERON to run on to and beat Fox with a low angled drive.
The remainder of the game petered out with Dundee never in any danger of letting their advantage slip.
DUNDEE: (4-2-3-1) Legzdins; Fisher, Ashcroft (Williamson 81), Sweeney (c), Kerr; Maguire (Mulligan 81), McGhee; McMullan (Hannant 81), Cameron, McCowan (Jakubiak 46); Thomas (Robinson 46)
Substitutes: Sharp, Marshall, Anderson, Tolaj
Goalscorers: Robinson (50), Jakubiak (52)
COVE RANGERS: (4-3-3) Fox; Naismith, Ross, Neill, Logan; Bangala, (McIntosh 59) Virtanen, Scully; Longstaff, Megginson (c) (Weston 69), Dunne (Toure 59)
Substitutes: Gourlay, McClelland, Vigurs, Glass, Reynolds
Booked: Virtanen (41), Fox (61), Toure (75), Neill (86)
Referee: Craig Napier
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