Match Report - By Steven Mew
Despite taking the lead twice in the game, City were edged out narrowly by League 1 outfit Cove Rangers in our third group game of the Viaplay Cup yesterday afternoon.
City yet again did not look out of place against full-time opposition and could have easily come away with a positive result, but a late brace from former Kilmarnock forward Kyle Connell ensured Paul Hartley’s men left Brechin with the points.
Manager Andy Kirk rotated his squad for this one as young keeper Jamie McCabe made his first competitive start for the club, whilst Michael Cruickshank, Seth Patrick and Ewan Loudon also came into the starting 11.
In scorching conditions, the visitors were the first to threaten on 13 minutes when a header from Reynolds looped over the crossbar.
Almost immediately at the other end, MacLeod did well to win possession in midfield and he slid a ball through for Loudon who delayed on the shot and Suman in the Cove goal did well to come out and close the angle to block.
Tyler Mykyta, a summer signing from Formartine curled a free kick wide for the visitors whilst a slack pass from Martin allowed Cove to break forward a couple of minutes later. The ball found its way to Burrell on the left side of the box but his strike was tame and didn’t trouble McCabe.
Midway through the half, a cross swung in from Mykyta found Gallagher who rose above the challenge of Cruickshank to head against the top of the bar. Gallagher would threaten again when he skipped past a couple of challenges before producing a save down low from McCabe.
Despite the visitors knocking on the door, it was City who opened the scoring on the half hour mark. Scott flicked on a header on for MacLeod who played a neat pass through for GRADY MCGRATH who found the net with a powerful finish despite Suman getting a hand to it.
McCabe made a fine save to keep out a header from Mykyta that looked destined for the corner, however City’s lead would prove to be short lived a minute later. A free kick swung into the box was only cleared as far as MARK REYNOLDS who lashed a right footed strike into the corner from 8 yards out.
Cove were only level for five minutes as City regained the advantage again. Scott made a blistering run down the right side before releasing a pass for EWAN LOUDON who timed his run to perfection before being brought down by the keeper inside the box. Loudon dusted himself off to take the penalty himself, and he dispatched perfectly into the bottom corner.
With City ahead at the break, a reaction from Cove was expected but it was the home side that looked the more likely to add to their advantage with Loudon stinging the hands of Suman with a long range effort whilst Thomson headed wide from Loudon’s free kick.
Loudon was having an excellent game and his run down the left hand side saw him glide past several players before he teed up MacLeod on the edge of the box but his strike was deflected wide for a corner.
The visitors had been starved of opportunities early in the second half but Martin produced a fantastic block to deny substitute Josh Kerr on 65 minutes whilst at the other end, Scott made another fine run down the right flank before firing a low cross in for McGrath at the near post but his effort was blocked.
McCabe made a fine save to deny KYLE CONNELL who met a cross at the back post, however the forward was not to be denied a minute later as he pulled Cove back level again.
Former City man Mitch Megginson provided a deft flick for Connell to latch on to and he dinked the ball beyond the on-rushing McCabe to equalise.
Frustratingly for City, KYLE CONNELL got his second eight minutes later to put the Aberdeen side in front for the first time in the game. A lobbed cross from Kerr found Connell completely unmarked at the back post to lash a volley into the net.
With six minutes remaining, Andy Kirk made his only change of the afternoon as Stuart Heenan came on for Seth Patrick.
Despite the disappointment of losing the game after being ahead twice, City showed once again that they are able to mix it up with full-time sides which bodes well for the season ahead.
Next up for City is another trip to the ZLX Stadium on Tuesday, this time to face Clyde in our final fixture of the Viaplay Cup group stage (7:45pm kick off). Despite already being eliminated from the tournement, City will undoubtedly be looking to finish off with a positive result going into our opening league fixture against Formartine United on Saturday.