QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 0-1 COVE RANGERS
The team recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time in over a year and extended their unbeaten run to five matches as substitute Rumarn Burrell netted a deserved late winner at Palmerston.
The narrow victory also saw Nick Suman – who produced two more excellent saves – chalk up his first clean sheet in Cove Rangers colours.
Paul Hartley made two changes to the side which had beaten Annan Athletic three weeks ago. Trialist Michael Doyle started at right back with Kyle Connell also drafted in, Sena and Burrell dropping to the bench. The manager was without the suspended Mitch Megginson, and Cameron Stewart was also ruled out after picking up a slight ankle injury in training.
The home side kicked-off on what had become a dull, chilly afternoon and the early exchanges were tight, with both teams enjoying spells of possession but unable to make any kind of meaningful breakthrough.
There was a minor scare for Cove in the sixth minute when Reilly attempted to play McKechnie in, but Doyle got his body in front of the winger and drew a foul to halt the attack.
It was not until the fourteenth minute that we fashioned the game’s first attempt on goal. Captain Fraser Fyvie took possession on halfway and rolled an inviting pass into the path of Connor Scully. The midfielder drove forward and let fly from twenty-five yards, but his effort was straight at Botterill, and easily held.
Soon after, Williamson flashed a dangerous low ball across the box, but Church got to it before Connell to clear. Cove then forced a corner on the right, which Houston scrambled away, and McGowan was closed out as he burrowed into the penalty area looking for an opening.
With twenty-three minutes on the clock, Doyle and Williamson attempted to work something down the right, Church sliding the ball out for another corner, which again came to nothing.
Queens then had their first look at goal, McKechnie swinging in a cross from the left which Reilly headed well wide.
A few minutes later they had another half chance. McKechnie’s low driven cross from the left evaded everyone, but Logan gathered on the other wing and flashed a delivery back into the area. Will Gillingham was on hand to clear from the edge of the six yard box.
Fraser Fyvie was prominent in midfield, and he had our next attempt, gathering just inside the home half, striding forwards, then unleashing a low twenty-five yard drive which Botterill had to dive to his left to gather just inside the post.
Our next attack was set up by Paul McGowan who won the ball in the centre of the pitch and fed it wide for Williamson to run on to. Scott’s cross was however overhit and easily cleared by Houston.
Queens should have opened the scoring three minutes before the interval. Logan played an incisive pass down the right, Reilly chased it down and sent in an inviting first time cross, but Todd, sliding in at the back post, could only divert the ball wide of the upright.
It was to be the last significant action of a first half which we had largely controlled without creating many clear goalscoring opportunities.
Cove started the second on the front foot too, Yule and Fyvie sending in teasing crosses which unfortunately failed to find team-mates. We kept up the pressure, Fyvie passing wide to Doyle, but his delivery was blocked.
There then unfolded an astonishing series of events which looked certain to see us fall behind.
A straightforward pass through the middle found Paul McKay running clear. He steadied himself and shot powerfully towards goal, Nick Suman making an impressive one-handed save. The ball fell to McKechnie who guided it towards the net, only for Gillingham to clear off the line. McKay got to it first and teed-up Doherty, who shot, but Suman had recovered his position and pushed the ball away to safety.
Back came Cove and McGowan picked out Williamson with an inviting pass. Scott rolled the ball into the box for Kyle Connell to run on to, but his effort found only the side-netting.
The strikers again combined minutes later when Williamson nipped in ahead of Botterill who had gone wandering wide in his box. His pass was straight into Connell’s path, but Kyle failed to make proper contact, and Church retreated to clear off the line.
Paul Hartley then threw on top scorer Rumarn Burrell to replace Williamson in a bid to find more firepower, and the move almost paid immediate dividends.
Blair Yule clipped a clever pass towards the substitute who spun away from his marker and into the box. His powerful shot was beaten away by Botterill, but only as far as McGowan, who nodded goalwards. Houston got back on to his line to stop ball finding the net. The clearance eventually fell to Yule who raced away from a couple of challenges, his twenty-five yard drive curling just wide.
Fraser Fyvie came even closer seconds later, firing in a thirty-yard effort, but with Botterill rooted to his line, the ball missed its target by inches.
Cove were dominating, Fyvie, Yule and Scully all probing as the pressure mounted on the Queens back line, with Burrell looking dangerous every time he got involved.
Both Scully and Yule had long range efforts, but neither could get the required accuracy, and the stalemate continued.
That finally ended in the eighty-third minute.
A chipped pass forward found both Rumarn BURRELL and Kyle Connell running into the box. The ball appeared to deflect off Kyle’s back and fell for his team-mate whose first shot was blocked, but Rumarn got back to his feet, and rolled home into the unguarded net for his seventh of the season.
Queens were desperately unlucky not to equalise in the final minute of regulation time.
Substitute Lee Connelly gathered wide, faced up Doyle, then curled a superbly struck shot across the box. With Nick Suman beaten, the ball cannoned out off the back post and was cleared to safety.
The players then saw the game out comfortably, richly deserving to have taken the three points after what was an impressive away performance.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH (3-5-2): Botterill; Houston (Walker 88), Ambrose, Church; Logan (Gibson 68), Todd, McKay, Cochrane (c) (Ferguson 76), McKechnie (Connelly 86); Reilly (Hutchinson 90), Doherty
Substitutes: Stone, McGuffie, MacIntyre, Johnstone
Booked: Ambrose (90)
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Trialist, Gillingham, Reynolds, Jones; Yule, McGowan (Sena 90), Fyvie (c), Scully; Connell (Mykyta 90), Williamson (Burrell 64)
Substitutes: Demus, Darge, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Burrell (82)
Referee: Scott Lambie
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