League One / Falkirk Community Stadium / Attendance:
Sat 06 Apr 24 / 16:30





Cove Rangers



The title winners put on a five star showing to clinch the points as they showed why they have run away with League One this season. Two-nil down after twenty-five minutes, the boys rallied and might have gone in level at the break, but defensive slackness after the restart cost us dear, and Falkirk capitalised in clinical fashion.

With Mitch Megginson still missing, the captain joining Blair Yule and Matty Shiels on the sidelines, there was mixed injury news on the injury front for Paul Hartley.

Josh Kerr had recovered in time to play, but top scorer Rumarn Burrell was fit enough only for a place on the bench. Sena started, having come on for the striker last week, and Will Gillingham returned to the side in place of Paul McGowan, the manager opting for a back five.

Having given the newly crowned champions a guard of honour ahead of the match, the Cove players were hemmed in for the first few minutes as Falkirk dominated the ball, looking to give the big crowd an early goal.

While they had plenty possession, we held them off comfortably enough, and might have caught them out with a swift counter-attack. Fyvie and Connell exchanged passes in midfield, but when Fraser swung in a cross from the right, it was slightly overhit, and the striker could not make contact at the back post.

The home side resumed their onslaught, forcing a corner in the ninth minute, but Spencer’s delivery was caught in the blustery wind and sailed behind for a goal kick. Cove hit right back, Doyle finding Connell in the box and Kyle won our first corner, his cross deflecting behind off Mackie.

Connor Scully curled in an inviting ball which Josh Kerr met with his head, but his effort flew over the bar.

Falkirk took the lead in their next attack. From a short corner routine, the ball was rolled out to Miller, and his cross was inch perfect for Coll DONALDSON to glance beyond the helpless Nick Suman.

It was one-way traffic at this stage, Falkirk dominating, and when MacIver got in behind, it took a last gasp challenge from Kerr to take the power off the cross, allowing Suman to gather. Miller then raced through on to a long clearance from Hogarth before trying to find Morrison in the box, Fyvie tracking back to prevent the winger from making contact just a few yards out.

McCann then found MacIver on the edge of the area, the striker stepping away from Gillingham and Kerr to make space for the shot. Thankfully, he fired wide of the left post.

The second goal was delayed only briefly. With far too much freedom in which to operate, Spencer threaded a pass through for Callumn MORRISON who found himself unmarked in the box. His low shot was powerful and accurate; it flew into the far corner.

We had an opening with half an hour gone when Kerr fired a free-kick forward for Doyle to gather in the area, but with Connell and Darge waiting in the middle, Mikey’s cross hit the first Falkirk defender. Arron Darge then battled through a couple of challenges and delivered to the back post where Scully steadied himself before shooting, his effort deflecting off Yeats for a corner.

We were enjoying our best spell of the match, and Doyle was next to have a go, his shot cannoning off Mackie for another corner. It was from that, that the side grabbed a potential lifeline. Connor Scully whipped the ball in and Josh KERR, unmarked five yards out, powered a header down and into the net.

We might have equalised in the thirty-ninth minute when Falkirk gave the ball away in midfield. Sena gathered, played a one-two with Connell, then shot low from eighteen yards. It was a fine strike, but Hogarth dived to his left to make an important save.

Having been on the back foot since scoring their second, the home side suddenly sprang to life when, out of nowhere, Morrison took possession, wheeled twenty yards out, and unleashed a well-struck shot which smashed against the face of the cross bar. MacIver attempted to convert the rebound but sliced his effort wide.

We made a strong start after the interval, Fyvie taking possession in midfield and driving at the Falkirk defence before spreading the play wide left. Scully gathered and delivered to the back post where Darge met the ball, heading it goalwards, his effort unluckily getting caught between Mackie’s legs just short of the line.

McCann then fired wide from fully thirty yards before the home side snatched their third in controversial fashion. During a sustained attack, the main stand assistant, Gordon McCabe, raised his flag to signal offside, only to then lower it again. Nesbitt’s powerful shot crashed off the underside of the bar, Miller failed to convert, but Ross MacIVER was on hand to nudge it over the line from close range.

The goal sparked a period of sustained Falkirk pressure, and they broke through again just past the hour mark. From the latest of a succession of corners, the ball was fed out to Dylan TAIT and the midfielder, unmarked twenty yards out, curled a superb effort beyond Suman.

Paul Hartley made his first change soon after, Paul McGowan replacing Kerr as the manager reverted to a back four. Either side of that, John McGlynn put on all five substitutes, and one of those, Alfredo Agyeman, had a big chance immediately as he ran in behind. Nick Suman was alert to the danger, racing from his line to make the save. Falkirk should have snatched their fifth in the next attack, McGinn side-footing wide after the ball was cut back to him.

Shanley was next to have a go, his powerful shot from the edge of the box being headed over by Doyle, then Ross ran at our defence before shooting from twenty yards, his effort well held by Suman.

In a rare foray forward, we might have reduced the arrears when Connell got in behind on the right and sent over an inviting cross. Scully met it, but his header lacked pace, and was easily held by Hogarth.

Our misery was compounded in stoppage time when Alfredo AGYEMAN, who looked well offside, ran on to a long ball and chipped it beyond Suman.

FALKIRK (4-2-3-1): Hogarth; Yeats, Donaldson, Mackie, McCann; Spencer (McGinn 65), Tait; Morrison (Agyeman 72), Nesbitt (Oliver 65), Miller (Ross 72); MacIver (Shanley 65)

Substitutes: Long, Henderson, Bisland

Goalscorers: Donaldson (13), Morrison (25), MacIver (50), Tait (62), Agyeman (90)


COVE RANGERS (5-4-1): Suman; Doyle, Gillingham, Kerr (McGowan 69), Reynolds, Jones; Darge, Sena, Fyvie (c), Scully; Connell

Substitutes: Demus, Burrell, Stewart

Goalscorers: Kerr (34)

Booked: Fyvie (90)

Referee: Peter Stuart

Attendance: 4,810

Article Copyright © 2024. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to www.coverangersfc.com