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League One champions Cove Rangers end season with 3-2 comeback win at East Fife

Mitch Megginson celebrates putting Cove Rangers 2-0 up against Peterhead
Cove Rangers goalscorer Mitch Megginson

League One champions Cove Rangers came from 2-0 down to finish the season with a 3-2 win at bottom side East Fife.

A poor first-half from Cove saw goals from Danny Denholm and Kyle Connell put the Fifers in front, with Mitch Megginson netting from the spot to reduce the deficit.

Megginson grabbed another to level the scores in the second half before Mark Reynolds headed them in front.

It means Cove finish the season with a 26-game unbeaten run, while Megginson looks certain to scoop the SPFL golden boot award. His tally of 18 goals can only be topped by Premiership players in their remaining games, with Regan Charles-Cook the top-flight’s leading marksman with 13.

Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley

Cove were without Ryan Strachan and Rory McAllister through injury, while Fraser Fyvie, Iain Vigurs and Shay Logan were also left out. Jamie Masson, Leighton McIntosh and Robbie Leitch came into the side.

Masson came close to delivering the opener on five minutes after he was slipped in by Megginson, however his shot clipped the bar on its way over.

But East Fife, who had already been relegated from League One, took the lead in preventable circumstances after Stuart McKenzie fumbled a harmless through-ball against Denholm and the midfielder turned the ball into an empty net.

One was soon two and there was far greater quality about this one, with Connell curling a shot beyond a static McKenzie from the left side of the box.

Cove were backed by a vociferous travelling support in party mode but in the first half were struggling to deliver anything of note to back them up.

Cove Rangers midfielder Jamie Masson.
Cove Rangers midfielder Jamie Masson

They finally got themselves back into the game seven minutes from the break. McIntosh was brought down coming into the area and Megginson rolled home the penalty.

A McIntosh ball across goal threatened to cause a problem for the home defence but East Fife were well worth their half-time lead.

Denholm nearly gave the hosts the perfect start to the second half as he got in behind Harry Milne and through on goal, however McKenzie was out quickly to block.

They should have had a third on 53 minutes as Denholm’s cross from the right was met by an unmarked Ryan Blair who sent his header wide of goal.

But they were duly punished and it was Megginson again, this time pouncing after Morgyn Neill had headed Masson’s corner back into the six-yard box.

Another set-piece helped complete the turnaround after the hour. Masson this time dropped his corner to the far post, where Milne’s downward header was superbly saved by Jude Smith only for Reynolds to nod in the rebound.

Cove Rangers new signing Mark Reynolds
Cove Rangers defender Mark Reynolds

Milne’s farewell appearance did not bring a goal despite his best efforts, with a shot from just inside the box going straight to Smith.

McKenzie ensured the points with a fine save to deny Denholm, as Cove brought down the curtain on their campaign and will now prepare for life in the Championship.

EAST FIFE (4-1-4-1) – J Smith 6; Mercer 6, Steele 5, C Higgins 5, Slattery 6 (Healy 63), Millar 6, Denholm 7, Pollock 5 (Walls 76), Blair 6, Newton 6, Connell 7 (Cunningham 76). Subs not used – Campbell, Dow, Semple, Mackenzie.

COVE RANGERS (4-2-3-1) – McKenzie 6; Ross 6, Neill 6, Reynolds 7, Milne 6, Yule 6, Scully 7, McIntosh 6 (Adeyemo 78), Leitch 6 (Fotheringham 64), Masson 7, Megginson 7. Subs not used – Gourlay.

Referee – Duncan Williams 5.

Man of the match – Mitch Megginson.

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