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Cove Rangers beaten at Montrose and head into split third in League One

Montrose's Chris Mochrie and Cove's Connor Smith.
Montrose's Chris Mochrie and Cove's Connor Smith.

Cove Rangers slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Montrose to head into the split third in the League One table.

An own-goal in the first half from Fraser Fyvie was the only thing separating the two sides at Links Park, in what is Cove’s first defeat since they returned to action last month.

A late red card for Ryan Strachan ensured Cove finished the game with 10 men.

Falkirk’s 1-0 defeat at Peterhead and Partick Thistle beating Dumbarton means for the second time in seven days, Cove will face the Bairns, however this time at The Falkirk Stadium.

Cove’s Connor Smith shoots wide.

Cove made one change from the 2-0 win over Falkirk at the weekend as Kieran Ngwenya dropped to the bench for fellow loanee Cammy Logan.

Paul Hartley’s side began the night in second place and started the game with intent, as Connor Smith missed two early chances.

After goalkeeper Allan Fleming spilled Blair Yule’s cross at his near post Smith was first to it, however his shot from a tight angle was comfortably blocked by the stopper.

He spurned an arguably better opportunity after Rory McAllister played him in, slicing wide at the near post as he attempted a left-foot shot.

Montrose were in front from their first foray forward. After Connor Scully’s clearance behind, Liam Callaghan’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Fyvie into his own net.

The first half was played at a frantic pace and while Montrose held the lead, Cove enjoyed the majority of possession without further testing Fleming.

Smith was an influential presence coming in off the left flank and trying to find pockets of space, but a shot over from the edge of the box from Logan was their final chance of the half.

The tempo and temperature did not simmer with the second half getting underway, with neither side giving an the rush for precious points.

Smith was again in the thick of things and was brilliantly picked out by Yule just outside the six-yard box. Unfortunately for him and Cove, he planted his header wide of the post.

Cove Rangers' Rory McAllister is tackled by Montrose captain Andrew Steeves.
Cove Rangers’ Rory McAllister is tackled by Montrose captain Andrew Steeves.

Hartley made a triple substitution mid-way through the half to try shift the game in Cove’s favour, with Seb Ross, Adam Livingstone and Leighton McIntosh brought on for McAllister, Smith and Logan.

They were nearly back level immediately, with Scott Ross seeing a header from Connor Scully’s corner cleared off the line.

Montrose were weathering what Cove were throwing at them but they were maintaining the pressure, with a goal either way pivotal for both sides.

McIntosh flashed a shot across the face of goal which went narrowly wide as the tireless Yule – moved to right-back after an injury to Scott Ross – continued to deliver balls in from the right flank.

Strachan was sent off with stoppage-time approaching for dragging down Russell McLean when through on goal and despite late salvage efforts, Cove were unable to drag themselves level.

Leading scorer and captain Mitch Megginson limped off shortly before the end too, to leave Hartley with an additional headache.

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