FRUSTRATED: Cove Rangers defender Darryn Kelly (Pictures by Richard Forbes).

COVE Rangers defender Darryn Kelly reckons First Division Forfar Athletic were fortunate to edge them out in their friendly meeting at Station Park.
A late striker from Murray Mackintosh, at the end of a move that looked offside, gave the Loons a 2-1 victory in what was our final pre-season friendly.
Cove had taken the lead in the second minute when Harry Milne played a brilliant pass through the middle of the park to send skipper Mitch MEGGINSON clear and he kept his cool to run on and slot the ball past Forfar keeper Marc McCallum from the edge of the area.
Forfar were back on level terms by the fourth minute when Ross FORBES gave Stuart McKenzie no chance with a screamer of a strike from 25-yards out.
McCallum and McKenzie were then forced to make saves in what was a highly entertaining and competitive encounter.
A draw looked the likeliest outcome until the 82nd minute.
Forfar winger Matthew Aitken looked to have strayed offside when the ball was played through to him on the right but he was allowed to run on and his cross was slotted home from close range by MACKINTOSH.
“I felt losing the game was pretty harsh on us,” said Darryn.
“We all thought the guy was offside before he put his cross in, which was disappointing.
“But we more than matched Forfar for the bulk of the game, which is encouraging when you consider they are seen as one of the stronger sides in League One.
“There was plenty for us to be encouraged by.”

FIRST STRIKE: Mitch Megginson gave Cove Rangers a second minute lead in the friendly against Forfar Athletic.

The Cove players are adapting to a new system under manager Paul Hartley, with the emphasis on pressing high on opponents and playing at a fast  tempo.

“It’s quality and something all of us are really enjoying,” said Darryn.
“It’s about getting on the ball as much as you can and keeping on the move to provide as many  options as possible for passes to be made.
“We are also being asked to perform in different formations to what we were more used to last season, the one we started with against Forfar was different to the one against Montrose last weekend.

“It will take a little time for all of us to adapt and become used to doing what the manager wants us to be doing, but I feel we have done that pretty well so far.

“I’m sure we will get even better as we move through our fixtures in the Betfred Cup.”

Cove have it tough in their programme of  Betfred Cup Group ties, which start with an away trip  to Peterhead on Saturday then meetings with  Dundee, Inverness Caley Thistle and Raith Rovers, all of whom are full-time clubs.

Darryn said: “We had some pretty tough opponents last season as well and gave a pretty good account of ourselves.
“A lot of people were predicting we would finish bottom of our group, but we didn’t.
“But we aren’t kidding ourselves on, we know it is going to be very tough, especially up at Peterhead.
“They are a top side full of very good players who will fancy their chances of getting out of the group but we enjoy the challenge of testing ourselves against full-time clubs.”

SUPPORTERS are reminded the Betfred League Cup clash with Dundee on Wednesday July 17 is all-ticket because a bumper crowd is expected.
The remaining tickets will be on sale at Balmoral Stadium at the following times.

Thursday July 11 - 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

Friday July 12 - 1pm to 3pm.