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Dumbarton 1-3 Cove Rangers: Paul Hartley hails clinical display against the Sons

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley.
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley.

Paul Hartley hailed a devastating first-half performance by his players as they fought off Dumbarton’s fightback to take three points at the Rock.

Two goals within a minute by Mitch Megginson and Robbie Leitch, midway through the first half, had the Balmoral Stadium men in total control at half-time.

Sons skipper Stuart Carswell bent home a free-kick right at the start of the second-half, but Cove held on and a late penalty by Rory McAllister sealed the points for them.

It was an important result as they attempt to build a promotion push and Hartley knew its significance after the home side made them work for their victory.

The Cove manager said: “I thought we were really good in the first half. We controlled the game with some really good play and caused lots of problems for their defence.

“We do sometimes give away too many free kicks and didn’t have a great start to the second half, but the reaction was terrific and getting a win away from home is difficult.”

There was little between the sides in the early stages of the game, with Cove’s closest effort being a Harry Milne shot from long distance that was always rising.

But they found the killer instinct on 23 minutes when Megginson manoeuvred on the edge of the box and fired home a shot which may have taken a deflection.

Mitch Megginson was on target for Cove

And within 60 seconds Leitch connected with a ball into the box and his header looped into the net to put Cove in an authoritative position.

Right on half-time, young Sons midfielder Calum Wilson caused problems for goalkeeper Kyle Gourlay when his free-kick dipped towards goal and was turned over the bar.

But Cove had more to think about almost immediately after the restart when Carswell bent a free-kick into the corner after a foul on Kalvin Orsi.

Milne almost punished slackness by Dumbarton minutes later, shooting from 30 yards with the goal gaping after keeper Sam Ramsbottom raced out to clear. However, his effort missed the target.

Dumbarton pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but after a long ball found its way forward, a challenge on McAllister in the area was punished with the award of a penalty.

The same player stepped up to get the third goal and clinch the points for the visitors.

Ahead of another away day against Clyde on Saturday, Hartley added: “It is a tough game, but it is one we look forward to.

“We have Fraser Fyvie coming back from suspension for that game so that is another strong player coming back. The better players we have in the squad, the better it is for the team.”

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