COVE’S OLD AND THE NEW LEAVE VALE WITH A DOSE OF THE CUP BLUES
Deveronvale 1 Cove Rangers 3 (aet)
Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup semi final
Wednesday September 12, 2018
At Princess Royal Park
GOLDEN oldie Alan Redford and teenager Hamish MacLeod were the extra-time goal heroes for Cove Rangers as they booked their place in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup final for the third season in a row.
Cove were never at their best but looked to have won what was a tense tussle thanks to a marvellous individual goal from Mitch Megginson.
All credit to Vale, though, for snatching a last gasp equaliser - through Matthew Wallace - to force the extra 30 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Banff side, Cove finally came alive in that and the goals from 38-year-old Redford and 18-year-old MacLeod, who both came off the bench, were enough to see them through to the final, which will take place on Saturday October 6.
Their opponents in that will be Aberdeen Junior side Banks 'o Dee, who annihilated Turriff United 7-0 at The Haughs in the other semi.
Cove will need to play far better than they did in the first 90 minutes at Princess Royal Park if they hope to end the club's eight year wait to get their hands on what is one of the oldest trophies in world football.
The first 45 minutes made grim viewing as both sides struggled to keep the ball or create chances.
Cove's best opportunity came just after the half hour, when Jordan MacRae's pass left Jordon Brown with a clear shot at goal from 12-yards, but his weak effort was easily gathered by home keeper Errol Watson.
Cove could even have gone in a goal down at the break were it not for their keeper Stuart McKenzie racing out of his box to make a brave save at the feet of Robert Scott, who had broken clear from the halfway line.
Cove centre-back Scott Ross, who was their best performer on the night, also made an astonishing last gasp saving tackle on Vale striker Scott in the 55th minute to ensure things stayed level.
The value of those two interceptions was underlined when MEGGINSON broke the deadlock two minutes later with yet another wonder goal.
The former Aberdeen striker picked the ball up just inside the Vale half and raced away from a posse of chasing defenders before somehow squeezing a 10-yard shot past Watson from a tight angle on the right.
The stadium announcer actually credited the goal to "Mike Megginson " - much to the amusement of the crowd and the watching Cove legend, who, of course, is the father of the current wearer of the club's No9 shirt.
It was certainly one worthy of winning any tie and it would have were it not some slack defending right at the death.
That was after the outstanding Ross almost made it 2-0 with a header from Daniel Park corner that Vale keeper Watson just managed to tip over the bar.
Watson's heroics were rewarded when Vale grabbed a dramatic equaliser with just three minutes left on the clock.
Robert Allan's corner from the left was fired to the edge of the Cove six yard box and should have been cleared but WALLACE was given the space needed to bundle the ball home from close range.
Young MacLeod, who spent last season on loan to Junior side Hall Russell, was brought on for the start of extra-time and made an immediate impact.
His 18-yard shot was going in until Watson dived full length to his left to push the ball to safety.
MacLeod then sent a cross in from the right for Megginson to poke a shot inches wide of the front post.
Cove's renewed energy was rewarded when long serving defender REDFORD fired them back into the lead in the 93rd minute.
Park's pass in from the right caused panic inside the Vale six yard box and when the ball broke to the former Huntly man he lashed it high into the net before being engulfed by grateful teammates.
MACLEOD then sealed victory for Cove by scoring a stunning third, in the 98th minute.
He collected the ball outside the Vale area, on the left, then danced passed two defenders before battering an unstoppable 18-yard shot beyond the reach of Watson.
That was enough to see Cove through, although McKenzie did make another great save, and Harry Milne nodded another effort off the line in the dying stages of the tie.
DEVERONVALE: Watson, Dunbar, Noble, Aitken, Dunn (Brailsford 100), Willox, Nowosielski (Robertson 64), MacLennan, Scott, Wallace, Allan.
Subs: Middler, Noble, Adams, Sutherland.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, C Milne, H Mikne, Yule, Watson, Ross, Brown (Park 57), Scully, Megginson, MacRae (MacLeod 91), Masson (Redford 83).
Subs: Gray, Strachan, McCafferty.
Referee: Billy Baxter.