RORY AND MITCH ARE SPOT ON AS COVE RANGERS BEAT COWDENBEATH TO EXTEND LEAD AT TOP OF LEAGUE TWO
OFF THE MARK: Rory McAllister scores his first Cove Rangers goal, from the penalty spot, against Cowdenbeath.
Cove Rangers 3 Cowdenbeath 1
Ladbrokes League Two
Saturday January 18, 2020
At Balmoral Stadium
LATEST signing Rory McAllister grabbed a debut goal as Cove Rangers won an incident packed encounter to move five points clear at the top of Ladbrokes League Two.
McAllister, signed from Peterhead in midweek, netted from the penalty spot, just before the interval, to put Cove 2-0 up.
He was also fouled for the penalty, as he had been for the earlier one scored by skipper Mitch Megginson.
The 32-year-old then capped a brilliant debut by playing his part in the build-up to the goal of the game, scored by midfielder Jamie Masson, that saw Cove go three up early in the second half.
Cowdenbeath’s David Cox pulled a goal back soon afterwards but the Fife side’s hopes of recovering further were dented when the 30-year-old was then sent-off just after the hour.
Cove had chances to increase their lead but had already done enough to ensure we moved further clear of second placed Edinburgh City, who were in Scottish Cup action.
McAllister was one of two changes to the Cove line-up, with Josh Mulligan also in from the start.
There was also a place on the bench for defender Daniel Higgins, who had been sidelined for the last seven weeks by a hamstring injury.
Cove totally dominated the first half and almost went ahead after just two minutes, when Fraser Fyvie’s shot was deflected inches wide of Cowdenbeath keeper Joshua Rae’s right post.
The McAllister and Megginson partnership looked impressive throughout and they almost created the opener in the 10th minute.
That was when McAllister laid the ball perfectly into the path of Megginson and he hit a low 12-yard shot that was well saved by Rae.
Within seconds, Harry Milne was sweeping the ball over from wide on the left and Megginson almost connected with the cross at the far post.
Cove’s M & M combination played some more sweet stuff in the 15th minute, with Megginson slipping the ball through to McAllister and his 15 yard shot was parried by the diving Rae.
Masson latched on to the rebound but could only steer his 17 yard shot wide of the target.
Masson went even closer two minutes later when his cross from way out by the left touchline deceived Rae and the Cowdenbeath keeper was relieved to see the ball drop on to the top of the net instead of going in.
McAllister was certainly impressing and set up another chance for Megginson in the 18th minute, with the Cove captain racing on to the pass then advancing into the area before poking a low shot wide.
CHEEKY: Mitch Megginson clips home the opening goal from the penalty spot.
STRANDED: Cowdenbeath keeper Joshua Rae has no chance as Mitch Megginson's spot kick floats into the net.
Cove were awarded a spot-kick in the 35th minute when Cowdenbeath’s Harvey Swann clearly tripped McAllister just inside the area.
MEGGINSON was as cool as a cucumber as he took a leaf out of the book of Antonine Panenka - who scored a famous chip from the penalty spot to win the 1976 European Championship final for Czechoslovakia, to put Cove ahead.
Rae could only look on as the Cove skipper clipped the ball into the net, while the keeper dived to his right, to claim his 19th goal of the campaign.
Masson set up the next chance with a pass to McAllister who was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the area go wide of the target.
Cove were awarded a second spot-kick right on the stroke of half-time after McAllister broke clear from the half-way line and was brought down by Jamie Pyper, in the area as he prepared to shoot on goal.
There was a delay because the Cowdenbeath players and coaching staff were unhappy the referee’s assistant Stuart Hodge had raised his flag for offside against McAllister but was then correctly told by referee Scott Lambie to lower it again because the Cove front man had clearly timed his run perfectly.
Normal penalty taker Megginson then generously handed the job to McALLISTER, who opened his account for Cove by driving the ball low past the diving Rae.
Pyper was booked for the foul and was joined in the referee’s notebook by team-mate Michael Herd and Cowdenbeath manager Gary Bollan, who had continued to complain about the award.
Cove almost made the perfect start to the second period when Megginson played a clever one-two with McAllister then lashed in a low shot that was well saved by the diving Rae.
A clever set play at a corner then ended with Masson crossing from the left to McAllister and his header went across the face of the Cowdenbeath goal and inches wide in the 50th minute.
MASSON MAGIC Jamie Masson makes it 3-0 to Cove Rangers against Cowdenbeath with a memorable goal.
Cove made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute with a goal to remember from MASSON.
He began the move with a pass forward to Megginson, who quickly flicked the ball on to McAllister.
He spotted Masson had continued to make a run forward into the area so deftly clipped the ball into the midfielder’s path and Rae was rooted to the spot as the former Aberdeen and Brechin City man’s shot rocketed into the corner of the net.
The Cove fans rightly gave Masson a rousing ovation for what was one of the best footballing goals seen at Balmoral Stadium.
The Cove celebrations were cut short when COX pulled a goal back for Cowdenbeath three minutes later.
The striker looked well offside as he raced on to a long through pass but then cleverly chipped the ball over the advancing Stuart McKenzie from around 20 yards.
McKenzie then made a good save with his feet, from a shot by Michael Herd, after Cowdenbeath had broken forward again.
Masson had a great chance for his second when he ran on to a pass from McAllister but his 18 yard shot was saved by Rae.
Cowdenbeath’s hopes of taking anything from the game plummeted when Cox was sent-off in the 63rd minute for his part in an off the ball incident that was brought to the attention of referee Lambie by far side assistant Robin Taylor.
It was all Cove after that, with Fyvie seeing a free-kick saved by Rae before the keeper also turned Blair Yule’s shot from a tight angle on the right behind for a corner.
Rae also saved a low 16-yard shot from Megginson to ensure the scoreline didn’t get any worse for the visitors.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Yule, Milne, Ross, Strachan, Mulligan (Robertson 74), Fyvie, Scully, Masson, McAllister (Scott 74), Megginson.
Subs: Leighton, Higgins, Redman, Brown, McCafferty.
COWDENBEATH: Rae, Mullen, Swann (Valentine 85), Pyper (Hamilton 56), Barr, Miller, Cox, Herd (Thomas 69), Allan, Taylor, Buchanan.
Subs: Pollock, Whyte, Connolly, Glass.
Referee: Scott Lambie.
HAPPY LOON: Jamie Masson celebrates his goal.
TOP MAN: Cove Rangers defender Ryan Strachan was chosen as man of the match by sponsors Burness Paul.