MONTROSE 1–1 COVE RANGERS
The players battled through horrific conditions to secure a point, Rumarn Burrell earning the draw as he cancelled out Kane Hester’s early opener. We might have snatched the win after creating some good opportunities, particularly in the second half, but also had to thank Nick Suman, the big Aussie saving a penalty for the second week in a row.
With Fraser Fyvie and Balint Demus ruled out, and Luke Strachan edging closer to fitness, Paul Hartley made two changes for the trip down the coast. Free from suspension, Josh Kerr returned in place of Mark Gallagher, and having come on as a substitute last weekend, Cameron Stewart started instead of Will Gillingham.
On a miserable afternoon, with the wind and rain driving down the pitch, it was the home side who made the better start, forcing a couple of early corners. Stewart made a timely challenge to prevent Hester from running clear in the box, then after good work by Lyons on the right, Shrive shot over from ten yards.
We finally got up the park in the eighth minute, Yule’s crossfield pass finding Scully in the box, but Connor’s angled shot was blocked.
Montrose took the lead soon after on the counter-attack. Lyons got in behind, skipped away from a couple of challenges and passed to Kane HESTER. The striker, free in the box, showed composure as he chipped the ball over the diving Suman into the net.
It might have been 2-0 in the seventeenth minute. Webster lifted the ball over our back line for Shrive to run on to, but Nick Suman was quickly off his line to save bravely at the midfielder’s feet.
With conditions worsening, Yule forced a corner down the right, and Scully’s delivery caused havoc in the home penalty area before the Montrose defence finally scrambled the ball to safety.
Mikey Doyle then made headway with a driving run before being brought down. Scully swept in the free-kick, but it was cleared easily. Minutes later, Josh Kerr broke through and cut the ball back, Burrell cleverly laid it off, but Blair Yule’s shot was deflected over.
We very nearly equalised in our next attack. Mitch Megginson was brought down twenty-five yards out and it was Josh Kerr who stepped up to take the free-kick, his well struck effort whistling just wide of the far post.
And we came agonisingly close immediately after. Megginson fed Scully, who lifted his pass into the box and Burrell’s angled volley flew inches wide of the same upright.
The equaliser finally came shortly before the interval.
Suman cleared, the ball swirling in the wind, and when it finally bounced down, Yule flicked it forwards. Rumarn BURRELL took a touch in the centre circle and raced away from Quinn, driving into the area before sweeping his angled shot low past Gill. It was the striker’s nineteenth of the season.
The rain had thankfully gone off as Montrose got the second half underway, but the wind was still causing mayhem for the players. Despite that, we very nearly snatched the lead. Doyle clipped the ball into the box and Burrell got ahead of his marker to flick a shot goalwards. Gill saved, and as the home side half-cleared, Scully unleashed a twenty-yarder which was charged down.
Scully and Burrell both caused problems for Montrose in our next attack, and when the ball fell for Megginson the captain curled an inviting pass into the six yard box, Steeves heading it narrowly wide of his own post. The resultant corner was picked up by Reynolds and when he returned it into the danger area, Burrell spun and hooked his effort inches past.
Despite shooting into the gusting wind, Cove were dominating, and came close again after a flowing move. Scully, Megginson and Yule were all involved in the build-up, Burrell laid it off, and Josh Kerr fired goalwards, bringing a good save out of Cammy Gill.
Out of nowhere, the home side were handed a golden opportunity. Cameron Stewart challenged substitute Ben Hermiston and referee Duncan pointed immediately to the spot. Veteran midfielder Michael Gardyne stepped up to take the award, shooting low to the keeper’s left, but for the second successive week, Nick Suman pulled off a superb penalty save.
The rain was back on again now, the conditions making it increasingly difficult for the players, and free-flowing football was at a premium. We did put together one move, Doyle and Scully combining to find Burrell, but Rumarn was closed down before he could shoot.
With the game moving into its final ten minutes, the manager made his first switch, Scott Williamson on for Mitch Megginson.
We created another opening with just four minutes remaining. Scully set Burrell free down the left, but his cutback was just behind Yule. Kerr gathered and chipped the ball into the box, but Williamson’s looping header was grabbed by Gill.
There was an even better chance seconds later when Kerr curled a superb pass to the back post, but Williamson took a touch rather than shoot first time, and the keeper rushed out to smother the ball.
It was to be the final opportunity of a difficult afternoon, the players deserving great credit for seeing the game through and emerging with what could yet be a vital point.
MONTROSE (4-3-3): Gill; Williamson, Quinn, Graham, Steeves (c) (Watson 74); Callaghan (Hermiston 65), Gardyne, Shrive (Waddell 74); Webster, Hester, Lyons (Brown 65)
Substitutes: Matthews, Craig, Dillon, Bradford, Batchelor
Goalscorers: Hester (10)
Booked: Graham (90)
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Doyle, Stewart, Reynolds, Jones; Yule, Sena, Kerr, Scully; Megginson (c) (Williamson 90), Burrell
Substitutes: Robertson, Gillingham, McGowan, Connell, Darge, Mykyta, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Burrell (42)
Booked: Doyle (54), Yule (90)
Referee: Gavin Duncan
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