Match Report - By Steven Mew
Three late goals from league leaders Cove Rangers consigned City to a fourth straight defeat in League Two yesterday afternoon.
It was a game which Paul Hartley’s men dominated from start to finish, however a resolute City defence held firm right up until 12 minutes from time when ex-City forward Mitch Megginson broke the visitors stubborn resistance. Further goals from on-loan Dundee United midfielder Declan Glass and Scott Ross ensured the scoreline gave a more accurate reflection of how the game went.
After a midweek defeat down at Annan, Mark Wilson freshened things up with experienced trio Dougie Hill, Ryan McCord and Paul McManus coming back into the starting 11. With Christopher McLaughlin suspended following his red card in that match, Sean McIntosh slotted into the left back position.
With a plethora of attacking talent, Cove haven’t struggled for goals this season and they showed precisely why with some slick one-touch passing in the opening exchanges. With 7 minutes played, Megginson scooped the ball over the bar following a cutback from Fraser Fyvie and two minutes later, Fraser Aird broke free of the defence but his powerful effort was pushed away by Sinclair.
Aird was very lively down the right side and he would come close again on 13 minutes. The ex-Rangers youngster cut inside before curling a low effort which looked destined for the bottom corner, however Sinclair at full stretch was able to turn the ball round the post.
After a brief period of respite for City, Cove would turn on the style again midway through the half with Megginson shooting straight at Sinclair. A minute later, Declan Glass jinked his way through the visitors defence and with just Sinclair to beat, the City keeper came out on top as he got down well to parry the shot wide. From the resulting corner, Connor Scully had a deflected effort which again Sinclair was equal to.
The home side were relentless going forward in search of the opener and Declan Glass was again allowed far too much time to get a shot away inside the box but fortunately he was unable to hit the target with the goal at his mercy.
Any forays forward for City were few and far between with the home side quick to close down. The first real chance of the game for City arrived after 34 minutes when Kieran Inglis was unlucky to see his rasping effort fly just wide from 30 yards.
At the other end, Sinclair kept out an effort from Fyvie at his near post and the home side would come closer moments later as Harry Milne’s header struck the underside of the bar from a dinked cross from Glass.
Into the second period, Cove continued to have the lions share of possession however they were unable to test Sinclair again until around the hour mark when the City stopper kept out a vicious drive from Glass and gathered at the second attempt.
City were looking to exploit the home defence by using the pace of wingers on the break and Paul McManus was unlucky not to connect with a delivery from Matthew Knox.
Cove were being limited to shots from outside the box as the City defence continued to hold firm. Fyvie’s effort from 25 yards flew well over the bar whilst Sinclair kept out a low shot from Glass on the edge of the area.
The home side made a double substitution after 73 minutes and went with two up top as Martin Scott partnered up with Megginson. The change would pay dividends as Cove finally broke the deadlock twelve minutes from time. Fyvie played a ball into the box for Scott who intelligently back-heeled into the path of MITCH MEGGINSON who turned his man and lashed a left footed shot beyond Sinclair.
Ross Crawford, who could perhaps feel hard done by not to have started following his double against Annan in midweek, was introduced for Knox immediately after the goal as City looked to get back into the game.
However, it was the hosts who instead made sure of the 3 points with a second goal on 83 minutes. After peppering the City goal with shots throughout the game, DECLAN GLASS got on the scoresheet as he came in from the right side before arrowing a shot low into the corner.
City reacted by going with three upfront as Emile Ngoy replaced the tireless Olly Hamilton and City had their only real effort on goal two minutes from the end when McCord sidestepped his man before striking straight at McKenzie.
Paul Hartley’s side put the icing on the cake deep into stoppage time when SCOTT ROSS rose highest to loop in a header via the inside of the post.
After defending so well for much of the game, City will be disappointed to have come away with a three goal defeat. However matches such as these will not define our season. The next five matches, most of which against sides in the bottom half of the table, most certainly will. There will be a welcome break for City next weekend due to the Scottish Cup, with Stenhousemuir next up at Glebe Park in a fortnights time.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Cowdenbeath 1 Queen's Park 0
Both sides finish with 10 men as Cowden edge out the Spiders at Central Park.
Edinburgh City 3 Albion Rovers 2
Last minute winner for Edinburgh as they come from behind to defeat Albion.
Stirling Albion 2 Annan Athletic 0
Stirling pick up a big 3 points at Forthbank.