By Chris Toner
Albion Rovers fell to a second consecutive home defeat in Group G of the Premier Sports Cup as they lost 2-1 to Cove Rangers.
An own goal put Rovers ahead after half an hour, but it was cancelled out on the stroke of half time by Robbie Leitch’s screamer, before Connor Scully put the Championship side ahead in the second half.
The result sees Brian Reid’s side at the foot of the table, with nothing less than three points away to Kelty Hearts on Saturday needed if they are to have any hope of getting through to the next round.
Jack Leighfield was called into action in the opening ten minutes to save Scott Ross’ header from a corner, while Rovers defenders twice got in the way to block captain Mitch Megginson’s attempts at goal.
Rovers’ first chance fell to Scott Roberts, who got a touch on the end of Michael Paton’s cross into the box, but it lacked any power to seriously test Kyle Gourlay, before a blistering run by Callum Wilson ended with the midfielder putting a shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Rovers found themselves deservedly ahead just after the half-hour mark as Mark Reynolds headed into his own net from a Rovers corner. Cove searched for an equaliser before the break as Ross headed over at the back post from Fraser Fyvie’s corner.
And the League One champions were rewarded on the stroke of half time as Leitch’s volley from the edge of the box screeched past the outstretched Leighfield.
Early in the second half, Shay Logan’s cross found the head of Leighton McIntosh, which was well saved by Leighfield, while at the other end Gourlay had to gather Paton’s cross on the goal line.
Logan almost put the visitors ahead after getting onto the end of a pass, but his effort sailed over.
Entering the final quarter of the game, the visitors found themselves ahead for the first time as Connor Scully beat the offside trap to fire an unstoppable shot past the helpless Leighfield. And Fyvie almost made it three, forcing a brilliant save from the Rovers shot stopper.
In a frantic finish, Rovers had their chances to force a penalty shootout. The ball fell to the feet of Kyle Fleming, who could only watch as his shot blistered over the bar, before substitute Barry Duncan’s shot was tipped over the bar. From the ensuing corner, Wilson’s chance rebounded off the woodwork and substitute Kieran Dolan’s header was later stopped on the line by Gourlay.
In the dying moments of the game, Logan was judged to have been fouled in the box, but substitute Rory McAllister’s penalty was ruled out as he stopped before kicking the ball.
Albion Rovers: Leighfield, Fernie, Malcolm, Sonkur, Fagan (C), Fleming, Wilson, Kidd (62′ for Dolan), Roberts (77′ for Testa), Paton (62′ for Duncan), Reilly Substitutes: Dolan (62′ for Kidd), McColl, Testa (77′ for Roberts), Duncan (62′ for Paton), Sandberg
Cove Rangers: Gourlay, Logan, Tower (booked 90′), Scully, Ross, McDonagh (74′ for McAllister), Megginson (C, 68′ for Vigurs), McIntosh (60′ for Masson), Leitch, Fyvie, Reynolds Substitutes: McKenzie, Neill, Masson (60′ for McIntosh), McAllister (74′ for McDonagh), Vigurs (68′ for Megginson), Thomas
Albion Rovers Man of the Match: Blair Malcolm