STAR MAN: Harry Milne wins the ball during a top class performance by him for Cove Rangers in the Betfred Cup clash with Peterhead.

Peterhead 2 Cove Rangers 1

Betfred League Cup, Section D
Saturday July 13, 2019
At Balmoor Stadium.

COVE Rangers can count themselves unlucky to have fallen to a narrow defeat against last season’s League Two champions in a keenly contested Betfred League Cup tie up in the Blue Toon.
Peterhead’s winner came from a hotly disputed penalty and they were also fortunate to see two Harry Milne efforts come back off their crossbar instead of going in during a second half that was totally dominated by Cove.
That was despite Cove manager Paul Hartley having to go with a squad severely depleted because of injuries and striker Jimmy Scott having to serve a one match ban carried over from last season.
Cove also had to cope with skipper Mitch Megginson having to go off injured too,  after just 17 minutes, so the players deserve huge credit for making their League One hosts sweat for their victory.
Cove got off to the perfect star when they were awarded a fourteenth minute penalty, after Blue Toon defender Jason Brown clearly handled the ball as Megginson attempted to take it past him and create space for a shot.
Jamie MASSON took the spot-kick and calmly slotted it past home keeper Greg Fleming.

FIRST STRIKE:  Jamie Masson slots home from the spot to put Cove Rangers 1-0 up at Peterhead.

Cove’s hopes of building on that received a set-back when main striker Mitch was forced to go off  in the 17th minute because of a calf injury.
Their frustration was compounded when Peterhead drew level three minutes later when Derek LYLE nodded home after Jack Leitch had fired a corner over from the left to the back post.
Cove were far from overawed though and went close again in the 28th minute, when Harry Milne’s cross from the left was cut back from beyond the far post by Blair Yule and Jordon Brown saw his close range shot blocked by a Peterhead defender.
Cove left-back Milne, the best player on the park by some considerable distance, was then the hero at the other end when he bravely got his face in the way of Rory McAllister’s close range pile driver to clear the ball off the line.
Cove were right to feel hard done by when referee Gavin Duncan awarded the Blue Toon a penalty in the 38th minute.
Darryn Kelly appeared to have won the ball when he challenged home striker McAllister from behind and was understandably dismayed when the official pointed to the spot.
It was a soft decision, to say the least, but McALLISTER wasn’t caring as he hammered the penalty home to ensure his team went in at the interval ahead.
Cove showed real courage to come back out and dominate Peterhead for the bulk of second period and were unlucky not to win the game.
Milne almost equalised in the 52nd minute when his cross from wide on the left got caught up in the wind. Blue Toon keeper Fleming could only look on helplessly as the ball bounced back to safety off the face of his crossbar.
Milne was even unluckier in the 58th minute, after he ran on to a Jamie Masson pass.
His deft volley from 16-yards beat Fleming but then rattled the crossbar as well, with the rebound hastily booted clear by a Peterhead defender.
Peterhead simply couldn’t cope with Milne’s strong running down the left and he almost set up the leveller in the 60th minute.
He finished another great forage forward with a fine cross that Brown was only inches away from slotting home at the far post.

SO CLOSE: Jordon Brown just fails to connect with a cross by Harry Milne during Cove’s Betfred Cup clash with Peterhead.

It was all Cove, with their next chance coming when Connor Scully fed the ball to Blair Yule and he steered a 16-yard shot off target.
Masson then saw his low shot from the edge of the area held by Fleming as Cove showed no fear and worked hard to get back on level terms.
Peterhead’s only real chance of the second period came in the 82nd minute when Lyle nodded wide from Jamie Stevenson corner.
Cove were still full of running right up to the last minute but Peterhead held on for the win.
Cove’s next group game is at Balmoral Stadium on Wednesday, 7.45pm, against Championship full-timers Dundee, who opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory away to Raith Rovers.

PETERHEAD: Fleming, J Brown, Boyle, Eddie, Hooper (Stevenson 19), Ferry, Lyle, S Brown, McAllister (Armour 65), Leitch (Gibson 78), Smith.
Subs: Henderson, Dunlop, Willox.

COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Yule, H Milne, Ross, Kelly, Scully, Park (MacLeod 78), Burnett, Megginson (C Milne 17), Brown, Masson.
Subs: Wood, McCafferty.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

Attendance: 744.