East Fife 0-0 Cove Rangers

The break enforced on clubs at a lower league level appeared to have caught up with East Fife and Cove Rangers at Bayview on Saturday.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 8:14 pm
Brett Long gets a crucial block on Mitch Megginson's penalty. The goalie was then up quickly to beat away the rebound. Pic by Kenny Mackay.

On their return to competitive action last weekend, East Fife were ruthless at Clyde while Cove earned a decent point away from home at Partick Thistle.

Neither side will believe they reached those heights seven days later, defences well on top at Bayview.

It was a game short on clear cut chances, although both sides will feel they were presented with at least one golden, match winning chance.

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For the visitors that came in the second half when Mitch Megginson was handed the chance to score from the penalty spot, only to see his strike stopped by Brett Long.

The home side had their opportunity taken out of their hands when a late move up the park saw Kevin Smith deliver for Aaron Dunsmore to net.

But, much to the frustration of the East Fife bench, ref Mike Roncone pulled play back for a free-kick on the edge of the Cove box and failed to play an advantage.

To rub salt into the wounds, Ryan Wallace’s effort from that free-kick came crashing down off the underside of the crossbar.

It was far from the worst 0-0 the Methil pitch has ever witnessed, but both sides just lacked that bit sharpness in the final third to really merit the three points.

There were early half chances to open the scoring, Jamie Masson firing high and wide for Cove before Liam Watt collected a Ryan Wallace cutback, only to see his strike blocked on the line by Ryan Strachan.

The pattern of the game didn’t really change during the early stages of the second half.

Danny Denholm had a sight of goal but his shot lacked any real power before the first of the game’s two main talking points arrived.

Connor Smith was angling for a shot on goal just inside the East Fife box before being brought down by Watt.

Roncone got his decision right, but so did Long, who stood up to Megginson’s penalty and blocked it.

The danger was still there and first to the loose ball was Megginson but, again, Long got a crucial touch to his follow-up and East Fife cleared.

Both sides made changes as they chased the first goal and it was the home side who finished stronger.

Ross Davidson had a decent shout for a penalty snubbed as time ticked on.

And just when it looked like the game would end in stalemate, the Fifers thought they had won it.

Wallace was fouled on the edge of the box with the ball rolling into the path of Smith.

Rather than playing the advantage, ref Roncone blew for the foul just as the ball was crossed to Dunsmore to net.

The East Fife bench was livid with the decision but there remained a chance to grab a late winner from the set-piece.

Wallace did virtually all he could to secure it with his shot which came down off the bar and was then cleared to safety.

Home boss Darren Young said: “For the goal we scored at the end, if the ref had allowed play to continue for a second or two rather than his decision of stopping it I don’t think they were in a position to get back in.

"It was a good ball through, across the face and then a goal.

“If he lets it go he can still pull it back and there were a couple of instances in the first half when he let things go and then pulled it back for Cove.

"But sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t.

"Overall it was a pretty even game but I think we maybe just edged it.”