Match Report - By Steven Mew
City slumped to a heavy 5-1 defeat against league leaders Cove Rangers at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon.
Although beaten comprehensively in the end, the scoreline perhaps didn't tell the full story with City level and very much in the game on the hour mark, before Paul Hartley’s men demonstrated a devastating lesson in finishing.
It was two ex-City players who caused much of the damage with Jamie Masson and Mitch Megginson both helping themselves to a brace.
Dougie Hill and Scott Reekie both returned to the side after serving their respective suspensions, whilst Matthew Knox came in for Kieran Inglis who was struck down by illness and was only fit enough to take a place on the bench. Despite being a major doubt prior to the game, Paul Allan came into the centre of midfield for Luke Watt who sat out through suspension.
In front of a healthy crowd of 705, City started brightly and came close after just 4 minutes. A neat passing move down the right hand side ended with McCord flighting a ball over the top for Olly Hamilton who could only drag his shot across the face of goal.
Four minutes later, an inswinging cross from Paul Allan was headed towards goal by Dougie Hill however he was unable to get any direction on it and McKenzie gathered comfortably.
After a slow start the visitors started to flex their muscles with Hill doing well to block a shot from Megginson and the striker would threaten twice again with McMinn pushing away both efforts which looked destined for the corner.
Cove’s pressure eventually told just after the half hour mark when they opened the scoring. The City defence switched off at a corner which allowed JAMIE MASSON to get a shot away on the edge of the box which deflected through a ruck of bodies and beyond McMinn.
City looked to fight back with central defender Jonathan Page somehow surging forward to latch onto a pass from Knox, deftly dinking the ball past his man but unfortunately he didn’t have the finish to match as he lashed a volley high and wide.
McMinn had to get down quickly to keep out a rasping drive from Connor Scully at his near post on 37 minutes, whilst at the other end Paul McManus did well to get the better of Ryan Strachan down the left and prodded an effort towards goal which was kept out by McKenzie. Two minutes later, the City skipper lashed a shot over the bar when a cross into the box would have been the better option.
With two minutes of the first half remaining, Megginson came agonisingly close to doubling his sides advantage when his shot cannoned off the inside of the post and he was unable to take advantage of the rebound.
Attacking the Cemetery End, City got themselves back on level terms eight minutes into the second half. A cross from Paul McManus was headed up in the air by the Cove defence and RYAN MCCORD timed his volley to perfection, guiding the ball into the bottom corner.
Unfortunately this was as good as it got for City as the visitors went on to dominate the rest of the game.
City had to rely on Dougie Hill to keep it one apiece on 57 minutes – a powerful shot from John Robertson had McMinn beaten however Hill bravely headed the effort off the line. Three minutes later, Fraser Fyvie curled a free kick harmlessly over.
The visitors got themselves back in front on 65 minutes when JAMIE MASSON picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, made some space for himself before lashing a shot in at the near post.
Manager Mark Wilson looked to change things up with the introduction of Ross Crawford as a second striker, replacing Matthew Knox. However it was Cove who went on to put clear daylight between the teams on 74 minutes. Fraser Fyvie curled a ball into the box for MITCH MEGGINSON who supplied the finish with an instinctive volley into the bottom corner.
On-loan Dundee midfielder Josh Mulligan almost had a goal on his debut however Lewis McMinn did well to get down and keep the effort out.
Cove skipper MEGGINSON wasn’t finished there as he grabbed his second on 82 minutes. He collected a pass from Connor Scully and again showed his quality with a crisp finish into the corner from the edge of the box, giving McMinn no chance.
The visitors rounded off the scoring four minutes from time when FRASER FYVIE let fly from range and although McMinn got a hand to it, he was unable to keep it out.
Overall, Cove were more than worthy winners however the scoreline was perhaps harsh on a City side who were very much in the game until midway through the second half.
Attention now turns to a crucial fixture against 9th placed Stenhousemuir at Ochilview next weekend, with Manager Mark Wilson hopeful of at least one new addition to his squad ahead of the game.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Albion Rovers 0 Stirling Albion 3
Comfortable win for the Binos at the Reigart Stadium.
Cowdenbeath 3 Annan Athletic 1
The Blue Brazil further cement their position in the playoffs.
Elgin City 0 Edinburgh City 1
Edinburgh keep the pressure on Cove at the top.
Queen's Park 2 Stenhousemuir 1
Ray McKinnon gets off to a winning start at Queens Park Manager.