Match Report - By Steven Mew
A second half brace from Jimmy Scott at his old stomping ground proved to be too little too late as a battling City side went down narrowly to league leaders Cove Rangers yesterday afternoon.
It was a game that the hosts had bossed for the most part and looked to be coasting to a fairly routine win up until the hour mark. Thereafter City started to come into it and fell just short of what would have been a remarkable comeback.
Ex-City players Mitch Megginson and Jamie Masson, who were both at the double the last time the sides met in January, proved to the Achilles heel yet again for Mark Wilson’s side.
Another familiar face in the Cove lineup was Rory McAllister who spent two goal-laden seasons at Glebe Park between 2009-2011.
The City boss made two changes from the side that fell to a disappointing defeat against Stirling Albion last weekend, with Sean McIntosh and Kieran Inglis coming in at the expense of Paul Allan and Andy Jackson who dropped to the bench.
It was a quick start at a wet and blustery Balmoral Stadium where Jamie Masson threatened with a low shot just past the post in the opening minute. Almost immediately at the other end, Ryan McCord snatched at a shot following a defensive lapse which didn’t trouble McKenzie too much in the Cove goal.
A mis-hit cross by Masson on the left side had almost caught Lewis McMinn out at his near post, but the City stopper got across his goal to palm away. McMinn was called into action again when he kept out a deflected free kick from Daniel Higgins.
Dougie Hill flicked the ball wide of goal following a Rhys McCabe free kick, but the hosts were awarded a penalty after 12 minutes after Petkov brought down MITCH MEGGINSON inside the area. The leagues top goalscorer dusted himself down to take the penalty himself and he made no mistake, slamming the ball home.
Paul Hartley’s side went on to lay siege on the City goal as they went in search of a second. Megginson had a shot deflected over and likewise Masson’s effort a few minutes later took a nick off a City body and wide of the post.
Broque Watson, a recent recruit from fellow League 2 side Annan Athletic in January nearly took advantage of a defensive mix up with McMinn well off his line, however his lobbed effort dropped just inches past.
At this stage City were finding it difficult to get out of their own half however Ryan McCord did manage to conjure up an effort however he could only drag wide.
Cove continued to pepper shots at the City goal and Megginson came agonisingly close with a rasping 20 yard effort which cannoned off the post and McAllister was next to threaten for the home side with a shot into the side netting.
Play was halted briefly after Jimmy Scott’s attempted overhead kick had caught the head of former team mate Ryan Strachan, who was able to return back onto the field a few minutes later.
Cove kept up the pressure with Fyvie, Megginson and Masson all shooting wide whilst Daniel Higgins headed over from a corner.
City managed to conjure up a couple of chances before the break with Jimmy Scott’s strike from range off target and Olly Hamilton was next to threaten with an effort which flew over the crossbar.
The one-goal difference at the break certainly wasn’t reflective of how the first half had gone, however the hosts ensured their dominance would count with two goals early in the second half to more or less put the game to bed.
On 48 minutes a neat passing move resulted in Higgins laying the ball off for MITCH MEGGINSON who sidestepped Dougie Hill before lashing a low shot beyond McMinn.
Cove threatened to run riot as they extended their lead six minutes later. Megginson played the ball inside the area for JAMIE MASSON who, under pressure from Jonathan Page, managed to squeeze a shot through the legs of the City defender and into the far corner.
Many would have expected City heads to drop at this stage however they battled back to give themselves a lifeline shortly after the hour mark. JIMMY SCOTT tried his luck with an audacious volley which flew over but he was not to be denied shortly after. Sean McIntosh made a good run down the right hand side and his low cross was prodded high into the net by the experienced frontman.
A combination of slack play from the hosts and some dogged determination from City meant Cove’s opportunities started to dry up – although McMinn had to be alert to push away a powerful effort from Masson on his weaker right foot.
Midway through the second half Scott knocked the ball down for Olly Hamilton but his dangerous looking cross flew across the face of goal with no takers.
With a few minutes remaining, Rhys McCabe swung an inviting ball into the box which was met by substitute Lee Duncanson but the youngster couldn’t connect properly and the ball was easily gathered by McKenzie.
As the match entered stoppage time, City were awarded a penalty in what can only be described as one of the ‘soft’ variety. A ball over the top resulted in Scott and Higgins clashing together in the box and with many supporters expecting a free kick to be awarded to Cove, referee Gavin Williams pointed to the spot
JIMMY SCOTT took the penalty himself and he dispatched with aplomb, firing crisply into the corner despite McKenzie guessing the right way.
Unfortunately there wouldn’t be enough time for City to rescue an unlikely point but they could take great credit in the manner they fought their way back into the game after looking dead and buried early in the second half.
Next up for City is another tricky trip as we head north again to face Elgin City at Borough Briggs next Saturday.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Annan Athletic 0 Cowdenbeath 0
Stalemate at Galabank.
Edinburgh City 3 Albion Rovers 0
Comfortable win for Edinburgh against 10-man Albion.
Elgin City 3 Stirling Albion 1
Elgin boost their playoff hopes with a fine win over Stirling.
Stenhousemuir 0 Queen's Park 0
No goals at Ochilview.