Cove Rangers 2 Montrose 2 (Montrose win 4-3 on penalties)
A Montrose side showing ten changes from the team that beat Airdrieonians on Saturday advanced to the second round of the Irn Bru Cup at the expense of Highland League Champions Cove Rangers. The match took place at the highly impressed Balmoral Stadium Cove Rangers new ground. It was the first time Montrose at beaten Cove Rangers in three competitive matches.
It took penalty kicks to separate the sides with Jordan Millar coming to his side’s rescue brilliantly saving Cove Rangers fifth kick from Jordan Brown.
Montrose were on top for most of the first half but a goal on the stroke of half time changed the complexion of the match.
There was a mixture of agony and ecstasy for home keeper Stuart McKenzie, who made a series of outstanding saves against his former club, including during the dramatic penalty finale, only to then miss from the spot to open the door for the Gable Endies to steal victory.
The pain was even worse for Cove because Montrose were gifted a first half lead when one of the referee's assistants signalled for a penalty for a push by McKenzie on Allan.
There was little to choose between the sides in the early stages of the first half.
The visitors created the first real chance, on the half hour, when McKenzie made a fantastic block from Josh Skelly's close range shot.
Montrose then went ahead two minutes later, thanks to their dubious penalty.
Referee Graham Beaton saw nothing untoward when Cove cleared a corner by the visitors but awarded the spot-kick on the advice of assistant Anthony Cooper, who appeared to indicate home keeper McKenzie had shoved an opponent inside the six yard box.
McKenzie was also booked, as was Watson for protesting the decision, before IAIN CAMPBELL battered the penalty straight down the middle into the net.
Cove refused to buckle though and equalised just before the interval.
Jamie Masson picked out Connor Scully from a corner on the left and when his shot was blocked the ball fell for PAUL McMANUS to drive it low into the far corner of the net from eight yards.
The second half was a real roller coaster, with Cove going ahead in the 49th minute thanks to an unbelievable strike from PAUL McMANUS.
Nicky Gray used his strength to knock the ball down to the 35-year-old, who then turned one of the Montrose defenders inside out as he advanced into the area then unleashed an unstoppable shot from a tight angle on the right high into top corner of the net.
McKenzie prevented Montrose drawing level almost immediately with two top drawer saves inside 30 seconds.
The first was when he dived full length to his left to beat away a net bound shot from Skelly.
McKenzie followed that with an even better save from Craig Johnston's point-blank header.
McManus went close to making it 3-1 for Cove with a looping header that dropped just off target after a Brown cross had found its way to him.
Ryan Ferguson was booked for a late tackle on Harry Milne near the touch line.
The Gable Endies made the best of that let off by equalising in the 69th minute.
The Cove defence and midfield gave LIAM CALLAGHAN far too much space to cut in from the right and fire a low 22-yard shot beyond the reach of McKenzie for his first goal for Montrose.
Montrose almost snatched a spectacular third, in the 74th minute, when Martyn Fotheringham shot from near the half way line but McKenzie managed to tip the ball over the crossbar.
McKenzie also made splendid late saves from Danny Cavanagh and Fotheringham, but there was to be no just reward for his heroics in the end.
Megginson, McManus and Masson all found the net or Cove in the shoot out with ex Montrose keeper McKenzie firing wide before Millar made a fine save from Brown to win the tie for the Gable Endies.
Iain Campbell scored his second penalty of the night before Steeves, Ross Campbell and Craig Johnston found the net to win the match for Montrose after Martyn Fotheringham had missed Montrose’s second effort.
Team Lineup & Stats
Wednesdy 15th August 2018
|4||Connor Scully (s78)
|7||Luke Emmett (s45)
||9||Martin Rennie (s66)
|10||Nicholas Gray (s70)
||24||Josh Skelly (s77)|
|12||Mitchell Megginson (s70)
||10||Ross Campbell (s77)
|14||Cameron Milne (s45)
|15||Blair Yule (s78)
||3||Andrew Steeves (s66)
|22||John McCafferty (GK)
|1||Allan Fleming (GK)|
Anthony Cooper, Filippo Mazzoni
Cove Rangers - Paul McManus (44,49)
Montrose - Iain Campbell (34pen, Liam Callaghan (69))
Cove Rangers - Harry Milne (21), Stuart Mckenzie (33), Eric Watson (33), Mitch Megginson (83)
Montrose - Ryan Ferguson (67)