Cove Rangers midfielder Jamie Masson hailed his side’s battling qualities after the League 2 leaders were forced to dig deep for their win against Annan Athletic at Balmoral Stadium.
The Highland League champions endured a frustrating 90 minutes as they faced a resilient and cautious Annan side but goals from captain Mitch Megginson and Masson maintained Cove’s 100% home record in the division.
Masson said: “You get days where you have to dig in every now and again but it’s not often we get them at home. Normally it’s free-flowing and lots of passing but you need to prepare yourself to dig in and battle and we got through it.
“When we were warming up it was windy and we needed to adapt our game. We had to battle through it and it was nice to be able to show that other side of our game.”
Masson could have had more than one goal for his efforts after hitting the crossbar before getting the vital second goal five minutes from time.
Cove’s win also helped make amends for the shock 6-1 loss at Annan when the sides last met, where Peter Murphy’s side took advantage of Paul Hartley’s depleted squad.
Masson said: “Getting the second goal was important as it meant we killed them off. We had a weakened squad the last time we played them so it made it sweeter to get the win this time.”
Cove’s first chance came from a Masson cross, which was met by Rory McAllister but saved on the line by Lyle Avci, who gathered the ball before Josh Mulligan could convert the rebound.
Within seconds the visitors had broken upfield and came close to a goal with Christian Nade’s spectacular 25-yard strike crashing off the underside of the bar. Broque Watson reacted quickest to the rebound but fired over.
Annan would come to rue that squandered chance, as the home side’s pressure eventually paid off in the 23rd minute.
Fraser Fyvie’s backheel gave Scott Ross the chance to switch the play and the ball was played wide to Harry Milne whose driven ball across goal was met by Mitch Megginson to score from close range.
Annan started the second half brightly with Watson failing to get enough power on a header but Cove weathered the early flurry before regaining the initiative.
Masson rattled the bar in the 62nd minute with a first-time 20-yarder before Cove finally got the second goal they craved five minutes from time.
Ryan Strachan’s sublime pass picked out Masson and he drove into the box before placing the ball through the keeper’s legs to secure a 12th straight home win for Hartley’s men.