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Cove Rangers FC 3
Annan Athletic FC 0
28th September 2019
Trialist,  Darren Barr (Assistant Manager),  Ayrton Sonkur,  Kyle Bradley,  Matty Douglas,  Jamie Walker,  Kyle Wilkie,  Scott McLean,  Jordan Wooding-Holt (Niyah Joseph, 61),  Tommy Muir (Harry Emerson, 89),  Christian Nade (Lewis Mclear, 53),  
Jamie Ballantyne,  Euan Griffiths,  Russell Currie,  

Annan Athletic’s first visit to the Balmoral Stadium turned out to be a lesson for as Cove Rangers dominated the flow of the game from start to finish. Annan set up their team not to concede goals but it was the home team who eventually secured the match adding to their first half goal with two stunning second half strikes from man of the match Chris Antoniazzi and Fraser Aird.  

Annan boss Peter Murphy’s line up  was still without the injured Steven Swinglehurst and Broque Watson but a welcome return was made to Ayrton Sonkur and Niyah Joseph, the on loan Hamilton lad who made a second half substitute appearance as Annan tried to change the shape of the team.

Cove manager Paul Hartley made one change to the starting line-up that beat Elgin City 2-0 the week before, with Antoniazzi coming in for Matty Smith, who started on the bench.
Fraser Aird, who signed a short term deal with Cove on Thursday, also began the afternoon on the bench.

It was however the home teams class which shone throughout the match and it was Canadian International Fraser Aird’s debut goal which was one of the highlights as Cove Rangers remained top of the Ladbrokes League Two table with a comfortable and thoroughly deserved victory over Annan

Defender Daniel Higgins and teenage on loan Aberdeen striker Chris Antoniazzi, who was named man-of-the-match also netted in a game Cove dominated from the beginning to end.
Centre-back Daniel Higgins ensured Cove were ahead at the interval with simple opportunity in the 30th minute when  he latched on to an Antoniazzi cross which caught the Annan defence out and Higgins ghosted in to slot the ball home from close range.

Chris Antoniazzi, the on loan attacker from Aberdeen, and new signing Fraser Aird rounded things off with two cracking finishes in the second half to maintain Cove Rangers unbeaten record at the top of the league.

Cove found it difficult to create openings in the early stages as Annan defended in depth, pulling all 11 men deep into their half. Connor Scully sent a shot wide but otherwise it was a case of the home side switching the ball from side to side as they searched for gaps in the well drilled Annan defence. Declan Glass fired wide from 18-yards and Harry Milne’s cross from the left sped across the face of the Annan goal. Annan actually created the best chance when Scott McLean chipped the ball into the Cove box and Matthew Douglas sent a first time volley wide. 

Cove’s patience with the ball was eventually rewarded with the opener just after the half hour. Glass fed the ball to Antoniazziand his cross found the unmarked Daniel Higgins who slotted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Megginson went close to making 2-0 just after the restart after latching on to a lay-off from Masson. The Cove skipper’s eight yard shot was kept out by a brilliant diving save by the Annan keeper. Higgins then slipped the ball through to Megginson and the keeper managed to beat away his lob from 16 yards as well to keep the visitors in it.

Masson had the opportunity to make it 2-0 when he met a Yule cross from the right but Masson blasted his close range off the woodwork with the goal gaping. Cove’s persistence paid off with a screamer of a second from Antoniazzi in the 63rd minute.The on loan Aberdeen striker collected the ball 22 yards out then created space to lash an unstoppable shot past the Annan keeperfrom the edge of the box.

Fraser Aird made his Cove debut when he came on for Masson in the 71st minute and Aird celebrated his first appearance with a classy third for Cove in the 82nd minute blasting a superb unstoppable right foot shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards.

COVE RANGERS Stuart McKenzie, Harry Milne, Connor Scully, Blair Yule, Mitchel Megginson, Jamie Masson (Fraser Aird 72 min ), Daniel Higgins, Declan Glass ( John Robertson 84 min ), Chris Antoniazzi (Matthew Smith 84 min ) Fraser Fyvie.       Subs not used Martin Scott, Jamie Redman, Jordan Brown, Baliant Demus.

ANNAN ATHLETIC – Trialist, Matty Douglas, Jamie Walker , Kyle Bradley, Darren Barr, Ayrton Sonkur, Scott McLean, Kyle Wilkie, Tommy Muir ( Harry Emmerson 87 min),Christain Nade(Lewis  Mclear 55 min ), Jordan Holt ( Niyah Joseph 61 min  )Subs not used Euan Griffiths, Jamie Ballantyne, Russell Currie.

Referee.  Graham Grainger,   Assistants – David McGeachie and Mat Northcroft.

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