DEPLETED COVE WELL BEATEN BY HOSTS ANNAN AFTER DISMAL DISPLAY IN LEAGUE TWO CLASH AT GALABANK
EARLY BLOW: Cove defender Daniel Higgins makes his way to the dressing room after getting injured just 12 minutes into our clash with Annan.
Annan Athletic 6 Cove Rangers 1
Ladbrokes League Two
Saturday November 30, 2019
A WEAKENED Cove Rangers could have no complaints after losing heavily to in-form Annan Athletic on a day to forget at Galabank.
Cove were always going to find it tough going into the clash without six first team players because of injuries, including skipper Mitch Megginson and midfielder Fraser Fyvie.
The injury crisis meant manager Paul Hartley was only able to name two fit outfield players - Jamie Redman and Jordon Brown - on the bench.
Things would get even worse as the afternoon progressed, with centre-back Daniel Higgins forced to go off after just 12 minutes and left-back Harry Milne following him in the second period, both because of hamstring injuries.
Midfielder Declan Glass also earned a red card in the latter stages, so it was no surprise Annan ran out easy winners to maintain their unbeaten home record.
Things actually looked bright for Cove after they made the perfect start by grabbing the opening goal in just eight minutes.
It came from yet another well worked set-piece when Jamie MASSON played a corner in from the left to Glass then darted forward to collect the return pass and fire a powerful 12-yard shot home from a tight angle.
But things changed as soon as Higgins hobbled off four minutes later.
Annan began to dominate and their equaliser came in the 27th minute, when Nathan FLANAGAN was given too much space to collect a pass from Tommy Muir and beat Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie with a clever 22-yard lob.
Annan took the lead just before the half hour when Muir, who proved a real handful to the Cove defence, fed the ball through and Broque WATSON netted from 14-yards.
Jimmy Scott had a great chance to equalise almost immediately but could only steer his shot from inside the Annan area wide of the target.
Annan’s third was scored from a 33rd minute penalty, which referee Scott Lambie appeared to indicate Scott Ross had shoved an opponent, although the home players seemed as surprised as the Cove ones that it was given.
MUIR wasn’t caring as he lashed the ball home from the spot to put Annan in what already looked a comfortable position.
Cove’s hopes of recovery died when Annan were awarded a second penalty in the 56th minute, after Milne got in a tangle with one of the visiting attackers at the edge of the six yard box.
McKenzie did well to get a touch to MUIR’S penalty but was unable to stop it going high into the net to make it 4-1.
The final whistle couldn’t come quickly enough for Cove after that, even more so when Milne also had to go off in the 64th minute because of his injury.
You definitely knew it just wasn’t going to be Cove’s day when winger Fraser Aird’s shot beat the home keeper and was going in until in struck a defender and rebounded to safety.
Annan almost got their fifth when Scott McLean rattled the Cove crossbar with a well hit 22-yard free-klick.
They increased their advantage in the 78th minute when Niyah JOSEPH broke into the Cove area to slot the ball past the unguarded McKenzie.
Cove were reduced to 10 men two minutes later when Glass was rightly red carded for an over robust challenge on Mathew Douglas inside the centre circle.
Cove’s agony was compounded when MUIR completed his hat-trick, to make it 6-1, in the last minute.
Cove captain for the day Ross appeared to have been fouled as Annan played a corner into the box but the referee waved play on and when the ball broke to the towering Muir he poked it home from close range.
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Smith, Douglas, Ballantyne, Bradley, Joseph, Swinglehurst, McLean, Wilkie (Holt 85), Muir, Watson (McLear 81), Flanagan (Currie 87).
Subs: Avci, Sonkur, Barr, Nade.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Yule, Milne (Brown 64), Higgins (Redman 12), Ross, Aird, Scully, Glass, Masson, Scott, Robertson.
Referee: Scott Lambie.