FANTASTIC FOUR FROM COVE PUTS THEM IN STRONG POSITION IN PROMOTION PLAY-OFF WITH BERWICK
THE OPENER: Sam Burnett celebrates scoring Cove’s first goal against Berwick Rangers.
Cove Rangers 4 Berwick Rangers 0
SPFL Pyramid Play-off final, first leg
Saturday May 11, 2019
At Balmoral Stadium.
COVE Rangers have left themselves with a fantastic chance of becoming the first Highland League side to earn promotion via the Pyramid Play-offs after a stunning 4-0 victory over Berwick Rangers.
Sam Burnett, Mitch Megginson, substitute Jordon Brown and Jamie Masson scored as Cove stunned the League Two side in the first leg of their play-off final in front of a bumper crowd of 1,955, the biggest so far at Balmoral Stadium.
The way that Liverpool and Spurs recovered from deficits in midweek to reach the European Champions League final will be enough to remind Cove they can take nothing for granted when the sides meet again at Shielfield Park next Saturday.
But if Cove play even half as well as they did in this enthralling 90 minutes they will take some stopping.
The Cove players received a massive prematch boost when co-manager John Sheran, who is recovering from a heart attack, had a chat with them in the dressing room.
John, who also watched the match from the Alan McRae Stand, will have been impressed by the way the Cove lads managed the game from start to finish
Cove were aggressive from the off and put the Berwick defence under almost constant pressure in the first half.
Harry Milne wasn’t too far off target with a low shot that went across the face of the Berwick goal and wide.
Burnett then saw a shot booted away from the line by Darren O’Kane.
Blair Yule maintained the pressure with a 20 yard shot that was held Berwick keeper Ryan Goodfelllow.
Cove almost snatched the lead in the 15th minute when Scott Ross nodded Daniel Park’s free kick down to Megginson.
Goodfellow managed to save the striker’s eight yard shot but then allowed the ball to squirm out of his grasp before grabbing it again right on the line.
Cove’s pressure paid off when they took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a Burnett shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Park took it and the ball reached Ryan Strachan beyond the far post.
Megginson had a poke at goal from his cutback before the ball was battered into the net by BURNETT.
It was 2-0 in the 38th minute when Darryn Kelly sent a magnificent cross over fro the right and MEGGINSON nipped in at the far post to net with a close range diving header for his 49th goal of the campaign.
Cove were even more dominant in the second period, during which they played some breathtaking passing football.
Megginson almost made it 3-0 when he collected another top notch pass from Kelly then lobbed Goodfellow but his shot came back off the crossbar.
Harry Milne was next to have a go with a looping header that dropped just behind the crossbar.
Masson then sent one shot just wide and saw another saved by Goodfellow as Cove laid siege on the Berwick goal.
Goodfellow also scooped away a Megginson effort in the six yard box as Berwick hung on.
The visiting keeper followed that with an excellent diving save to keep a drive from Daniel Park.
The woodwork denied Cove again in the 69th minute when Scott Ross rattled the bar with a header from a Scully corner.
Cove got their just rewards in the 78th minute when sub Jordan MacRae had a shot blocked and BROWN bundled the rebound home with a shot that went in off a Berwick defender.
MASSON capped an unforgettable afternoon for Cove with the goal of the game, in the 83rd minute.
Milne played a fine ball down the left wing to the midfielder who then cut inside and whipped in an unstoppable 20 yard shot that found the net via the inside of Goodfellow’s left post to ensure Cove will travel with the advantage their total domination deserved.
The magnificent Masson was also voted man of the match by sponsors ACE for a brilliant shift, particularly in the second half.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Kelly (Redford 84), H Milne, Scully, Ross, Strachan, Yule, Park, Megginson (MacRae 62), Burnett (Brown 46), Masson.
Subs: Watson, McManus, MacRae, McCafferty.
BERWICK RANGERS: Goodfellow, Forbes, Orru (Cook 58), O’Kane, Wilson (Barr 62), Brydon, Brown, Healy, Blues, Adamson, Hume.
Subs: See, Ogilvie, Aloulou, McDuff, Brennan.
Referee: David Lowe.
TOP MAN: Jamie Masson with the man of the match trophy presented to him by Terry Cobban senior, of sponsors ACE.