MEGGA HIT FROM MITCH AS COVE EDGE OUT DEVERONVALE TO STAY TOP OF THE HIGHLAND LEAGUE
GOAL HERO: Mitch Megginson broke the deadlock late on at Banff.
Deveronvale 0 Cove Rangers 1
Breedon Highland League
Saturday March 9, 2019
At Princess Royal Park
MITCH Megginson's 41st goal of the season was enough to give Cove Rangers victory against a determined Deveronvale side at Banff.
Mitch found the net as the match moved into the latter stages to ensure Cove remain three points clear of nearest challengers Brora Rangers at the top of the table.
But there was never any doubt it was a deserved win against a Vale side who defended deeply from the off and had their only shot at the Cove goal three minutes from time.
The main talking point in the early stages was Vale defender Michael Dunn escaping with only a lecture from referee Matt Northcroft for a shocking late lunge on Jordan MacRae.
The striker was able to continue after lengthy treatment and went close to giving Cove the lead, in the 17th minute, with a cross/shot from the right that hit the crossbar with home keeper Robbie Mutch rooted to the spot.
Dunn got lucky again a minute later when he appeared to trip Jordon Brown just inside the Vale area. It looked a stone wall penalty but referee Northcroft was having none of it and waved play on.
Mutch then denied Cove with a top drawer save in the 26th minute.
Daniel Park's cross from the left reached Megginson and his point blank shot was acrobatically beaten away by Mutch.
Cove should have taken the lead in the 29th minute, after keeper Stuart McKenzie's long kick sent Megginson clear through the middle.
The striker rounded the advancing Mutch but then saw his 10-yard shot cleared off the Vale line by Ross Aitken.
Megginson immediately latched on to the rebound and cut the ball back to MacRae but his eight yard shot lacked power and was also cleared off the line by Aitken.
Grant Campbell then set up MacRae for a header that went just wide as Cove continued to dominate.
Megginson had a chance to break the deadlock just before the break when he latched on to a pass from MacRae but Cove's top scorer could only slice his eight yard shot wide of the target.
A tactical change, Cove moved Campbell into the heart of midfield and went 3-4-3, which ensured the pressure on Vale was even more intense in the second period.
Cove had another strong penalty claim turned away in the 53rd minute when MacRae was chopped down by Lewis Dunbar as he advanced into the Vale area.
It looked as if the foul was committed inside the box but referee Northcroft awarded it a yard outside.
Park took the resultant free-kick but his shot went well over the Vale crossbar.
Brown was then unfortunate to see a net bound 16-yard shot deflected wide as Cove turned the screw on their hosts.
Brown also saw a shot, from a tight angle on the left, go wide before he was replaced by teenage winger Hamish MacLeod.
His first contribution was a cross from the left that reached Jamie Masson at the far post but his shot was blocked by keeper Mutch.
MacLeod then missed a glorious chance, in the 69th minute, after Megginson cut the ball back from the right byline.
MacLeod had the goal at his mercy but somehow scooped his shot from the edge of the six yard box over the crossbar.
Cove kept trying though and we're finally rewarded with the lead in the 72nd minute.
Campbell won the ball in midfield and knocked it to MEGGINSON and he beat Mutch with a low, well placed, shot from fully 25-yards than sneaked just inside the keeper's right post.
Mutch held another effort from Megginson soon afterwards as Cove went in search of a second.
Vale finally threatened the Cove goal in the 87th minute, although McKenzie always seemed confident that Dunbar's 16-yard shot was going wide.
Cove went close again in the last minute when Park's shot was defected into the air and Mutch just managed to fist the ball away as Megginson prepared to nod it home from close range.
But Cove had already done enough to earn a win that sets them up nicely for their next league game, away to Brora.
DEVERONVALE: Mutch, Dunbar, Noble, Aitken, Dunn, Willox, Gauld, Allan, Scott, Noble, Robertson (Munro 68).
Subs: Adams, Buxton, Blanchard.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Campbell, Redford, Scully (Watson 75), Ross, Strachan, Park, Masson, Megginson, MacRae (Burnett 75), Brown (MacLeod 62).
Subs: C Milne, Kelly, McCafferty.
Referee: Matt Northcroft.