Cove end 2017 with another win

Dave Edwards

Cove Rangers ended 2017 undefeated in the league after a hard-eared win against Buckie Thistle.

The Jags played for more than an hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Daniel Bell was sent off.

Goals in either half from Jamie Masson and Mitch Megginson saw Cove increase their lead at the top of the Highland League table over second placed Inverurie Locos to six points and with three games in hand.

Cove Rangers assistant-manager Graeme Mathieson was delighted with the performance.

He said: “Nobody likes speaking about records, as they are there to be broken, but I thought that to go a calendar year undefeated in the league is a fantastic achievement.”

Jags manager Graeme Stewart was far from disheartened given his side’s disadvantage for most of the game.

He said: “Cove deserved to win the game as they had more possession and created more chances.

“I told our lads in the dressing room that their work-rate and their effort, especially when we went down to 10 men, was excellent and I couldn’t ask for more.

“If we keep playing like that we will win more games but obviously if we keep losing a man we will put ourselves up against it.

“Daniel was unlucky as he had to make a challenge, but getting the ball would have bene better than getting the man.”

Before the game there was a minute’s applause for Jags’ coach David ‘Parro’ Findlay whose funeral took place in Buckie 24 hours earlier.

In 18 minutes Buckie were reduced to 10-men when goalkeeper Daniel Bell was red-carded by referee Alex Shepherd for wiping out Megginson just outside the box when the striker was clean through.

Former Inverurie Locos and Dundee United goalkeeper Ryan Booth took over between the sticks and central defender Ross Anderson was withdrawn.

Three minutes from the break Cove broke the deadlock when Jamie Masson gave Booth no chance with a rising drive from the edge of the box.

Jags’ manager Stewart was the sent to the stand for remarks made to the stand side assistant, suggesting vehemently that the quick throw-in taken by Cove in the lead up to the goal should have gone the way of the home side, and it appeared he had a point.

On the hour Megginson could have extended Cove’s lead but he blazed high over the crossbar from 12 yards.

But Cove did make it 2-0 to make sure of the points in the 70th minute when Megginson notched his 31st goal of the season with a low angled drive.

In the only other Highland League game to go ahead today, Wick Academy came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Lossiemouth.

There was nothing between the two teams in the early stages but the Coasters broke the deadlock seven minutes from the interval with a goal from midfielder Ryan Farquhar.

However, just when it looked like the home side would go ion at the interval with a slender one goal advantage long-serving Academy midfielder Gary Manson popped up with a 43rd minute equaliser.

In the 74th minute Academy turned the game on its head when they made it 2-1, a Jack Halliday effort took a massive deflection on its way into the net for a fortuitous winner.