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Cove Rangers cruise into Challenge Cup semi-finals after 5-1 win over Rangers B

Cove Rangers goalscorers Mitchel Megginson, Fraser Fyvie and Jamie Masson
Cove Rangers are riding the crest of a wave

Cove Rangers cruised into the semi-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy after a clinical 5-1 dispatching of Rangers B.

The League One leaders got into full stride early and punished their younger opponents, leading 4-1 at half-time through goals from Fraser Fyvie (two), Mitch Megginson and Jamie Masson.

Robbie Fraser had pulled one back for the colts side and Cove were able to weather going down to 10 men, after Harry Milne was sent off.

But Leighton McIntosh added a fifth to ensure Cove progressed to the semi-finals of this competition for the first time.

They will face the winners of Queen of the South or Morton, who play on Wednesday night, at the Balmoral Stadium at the start of March.

Cove rested leading scorer Rory McAllister and Jevan Anderson (hamstring) missed out, with Masson and Shay Logan coming in. Kyle Gourlay replaced Stuart McKenzie in goal.

It took two minutes for Cove to take the lead, with Milne seeing his shot from the edge of the area parried by Lewis Budinauckas but Fyvie followed up to crash in the rebound.

Fraser Fyvie turns in the opener for Cove Rangers

The hosts doubled their lead after five minutes when Charlie McCann bundled over Logan in the penalty area. Megginson made no mistake from the spot.

Rangers pulled a goal back on 10 minutes as the frantic start continued. Tony Weston saw his shot blocked on the line by Logan but Fraser was able to slot the ball into the top corner.

But the two-goal advantage was restored shortly after in a well-worked Cove move, with Fyvie feeding Blair Yule and his cross was converted by Masson.

Paul Hartley’s side did not relent despite their cushion. Connor Scully was denied a spectacular goal by a one-handed save from Budinauckas and Milne was inches away with a curling effort past the far post.

Cove Rangers congratulate Mitch Megginson after he scores from the spot
Cove Rangers congratulate Mitch Megginson after he scores from the spot

Budinauckas was required again to block a shot from Yule at his near post, then stuck out a hand to deny Milne who had broken through for a one-on-one opportunity.

But the goalkeeper was powerless to stop Fyvie’s second 10 minutes before the break, as he drove in from Masson’s lay-off.

Megginson and Masson had chances before the break and Fyvie was denied his hat-trick at the start of the second half as Budinauckas denied him at his near post.

Cove’s progress was checked somewhat by the dismissal of Milne on the hour. He had been booked earlier in the second half for handling the ball into the net and was punished further by referee Mike Roncone after clipping Rangers defender Adam Devine.

But they were able to pad the scoreline after a bit of masterful play from Vigurs, who evaded pressure from two Rangers players in his own half and released McIntosh. The substitute had just come on the park but retained his composure to race clear and slot under the goalkeeper.

Jamie Masson scored Cove Rangers' third
Jamie Masson scored Cove Rangers’ third

Hartley was able to rest Masson and Megginson ahead of them facing Dumbarton in league action on Saturday and Rangers were limited in their opportunities, with a late free-kick from Stephen Kelly sailing harmlessly over the bar.

Cove Rangers (4-2-3-1) – Gourlay; Logan, Ross (Strachan 70), Neill, Milne, Scully, Vigurs, Yule, Fyvie, Masson (McIntosh 66), Megginson (Adeyemo 72). Subs not used – McKenzie.

Rangers B (4-3-3) – Budinauckas; Devine, L MacKinnon (McClelland 25), King (Ritchie-Hosler 46), Fraser, McCann, Kelly, C Mckinnon, Lowry, Weston (Mckee 87), McCausland (Alegria 46). Subs not used – Hogarth, Miller, Lindsay, Lyall, Strachan.

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