Cove Rangers 0 Dunfermline 2Saturday, 25th Jun 2022
Pre Season Friendly: Stuart McKenzie Testimonial, Lewis McCann (32) 0-1: Kevin O’Hara (80) 0-2:
Pars fans made the trip north for the pre season friendly against newly promoted Cove Rangers. For most it was the first visit to the Balmoral Stadium and a chance to see the new look Dunfermline under the leadership of James McPake.
Kyle Benedictus captained the side and there were starts for new signing Chris Hamilton and the returning Craig Wighton. Cove Rangers now under the management of former Pas manager Jim McIntyre and his assistant Jimmy Boyle, included Rory McAllister, Iain Vigurs and Fraser Fyvie all of whom missed the final league match against East Fife.
After the teams recognised keeper Stuart McKenzie with a guard of honour it was Cove who kicked off attacking the goal at the away end. Dunfermline however forced a corner within two minutes and when Matty Todd’s cross was sent in from the right Benedictus and Breen had attempts to direct the ball on target but a goal kick was all that came from it.
Lewis McCann produced the first shot of the game, his right footed shot from the edge of the box in fifth minute Morgyn Neill deflected wide for a corner on the right.
The first near thing came when Josh Edwards burst forward for the first time in the game. The 18th minute move saw him slip the ball to Wighton, then turned back into his path by McCann. A goal looked certain but McKenzie pulled off a good save to deny Edwards the opener, Mark Reynolds completing the clearance.
Paul Allan was charged with two free kicks from left possibly 25 yards out but McCann headed first wide right and the defence got to the second. The 22nd minute free kick came as a result of a rather unfriendly strong tackle on McCann from Scott Ross that earned him a lecture from referee Mike Roncone.
Kevin O’Hara was sent through on goal six minutes later but McKenzie was quick off his line to reach the ball first. Next McCann on the right cut the ball back for O’Hara but his shot from 15 yards out fell wide left.
Stuart McKenzie was by far the busier keeper and in 32 minutes pulled off a fine save from Wighton after the striker accepted a Hamilton pass and broke through the middle on a solo run punctuated by a good shot from the edge of the box but the keeper prevailed.
From the resultant Allan corner Rhys Breen headed the ball back across goal and McCANN found the net in off the right goalpost with a looping header. 0-1
The Fifers deserved their half time lead. No bias would be required to feel that Dunfermline were the better team in the first 45 with some displays of good attacking football from players who were certainly out to impress.
Half time: Cove Rangers 0 Dunfermline 1
The visitors forced a corner within 20 seconds of the restart and Todd met Allan’s corner, he connected well but directed the ball over the bar, over the fence and a fair way towards Norway.
The home side pushed up and began to enjoy more possession in the Pars half. Connor Scully took on a couple of men successfully before picking out Mitch Megginson who powered a shot that was off target. McAllister complained for no penalty award as he fell under a Benedictus tackle.
On the hour Benedictus embarked on a surging run and found McCann deep down the right. The Pars no.14 was chopped down on the right perimeter of the penalty box but the free kick that followed was well defended.
Both sides then made their first substitutions of the afternoon with Craig Wighton, Matty Todd and Aaron Comrie being replaced by Nikolay Todorov, Joe Chalmers and Kyle Macdonald.
Testimonial man Stuart McKenzie was withdrawn with eleven minutes to receive the accolade from the stands but sub keeper Kyle Gourlay’s first touch would be to retrieve the ball from his own net. Todorov latched on to a mistake in defence and on the edge of the box unselfishly slid the ball left for O’HARA to finish. 0-2
It was a good day’s work on the south side of Aberdeen with James McPake getting the opportunity to see 20 players get some game time.
SUBS NOT USED:
DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Aaron Comrie (Kyle Macdonald 62), Kyle Benedictus (c) (Sam Young 73), Rhys Breen, Josh Edwards (Miller Fenton 77): Matthew Todd (Joe Chalmers 62), Paul Allan (Michael Beagley 83), Chris Hamilton (Andrew Tod 73), Kevin O’Hara (Trialist 83), Lewis McCann (Jake Rennie 83), Craig Wighton (Nikolay Todorov 62).
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Archibald (GK)
SCORERS: McCann (32), O’Hara (80)
REFEREE: Mike Roncone
WEATHER: Sunny 17°C
NEXT MATCH: Pre Season Friendly (away) v Forfar Athletic, Tuesday 28th June 2022, kick off 7.30pm at Station Park
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Preview Cove RangersSaturday, 25th Jun 2022
Pre Season Friendly (away) v Cove Rangers Saturday 25th June 2022, kick off 1.00pm at the Balmoral Stadium
The first pre season friendly will be away to Jim McIntyre’s Cove Rangers. The match will be a well deserved testimonial for Cove’s club legend Stuart McKenzie and will be the Pars first ever match at the Balmoral Stadium.
Stuart McKenzie initially joined Cove Rangers in 2007, and after a brief stint with Montrose, returned to the club in 2015. He has been first choice keeper ever since.
The thirty four year old claimed medals from the pyramid play-off and SPFL League One and Two successes. He played a major part in the club’s promotion to the Championship, keeping nineteen clean-sheets along the way, and his efforts were acknowledged when he was one of five Cove Rangers players named in the cinch League One team of the year.
The clubs have only met once before and that was in a Scottish Cup tie in January 1995 when Dunfermline won 4-0 at the then Highland League club’s Allan Park.
Cove Rangers started planning to move from their Allan Park ground in the mid-2000s, as this formed part of their unsuccessful pitch for Scottish Football League membership in 2008. Initially, the move was tied in with Aberdeen’s new stadium plans and the proposal was to use Calder Park as a training facility. When those plans did not come to fruition Cove Rangers then decided to press ahead with a new stadium by themselves.
Aberdeen City Council accepted the first stages of planning permission for Calder Park in November 2014. The new stadium was originally planned to be ready for the start of the 2016–17 season. The club submitted a planning application in March 2016. The plans included a stand with 312 seats, an "all-weather" 3G pitch and 110 car parking spaces.
A sponsorship deal with the Aberdeen-based Balmoral Group in December 2016 included the naming rights for the Calder Park ground, to be known as the Balmoral Stadium. Construction work was being undertaken in October 2017 and the Balmoral Stadium was officially opened in July 2018, with a friendly match between Cove Rangers and Aberdeen.
Dunfermline reserves played Aberdeen reserves at the Balmoral Stadium on 17th December 2018 with Paul Allan and Matty Todd playing in that first ever Pars visit to the stadium.
Queen of the South in the SPFL Trust Trophy and Stirling Albion on the opening day were the only sides to leave the Balmoral Stadium as winners last season. Cove won 13 of their 18 home league matches.
Last Six Matches
Queen’s Park (H) L 0-1
Queen’s Park (A) D 0-0
Queen of the South (H) L 1-2
Partick Thistle (A) L 0-1
Ayr United (H) W 2-1
Kilmarnock (A) L 0-2
East Fife (A) W 3-2
Dumbarton (H) W 1-0
Alloa Athletic (H) W 3-0
Falkirk (A) W 2-0
Queens Park (A) D 1-1
Airdrieonians (A) D 1-1
Championship League Position: 9th
Championship League Points: 35
Goal Difference: -17
Away League Record: P18 W2 D6 L10 GF14 GA29
Last Six Match Form: LWLLDL
League One Position: 1st
League One Points: 79
Goal Difference: +41
Home League Record: P18 W13 D5 L0 GF43 GA15
Last Six Match Form: DDWWWW
Last Time Out
DUNFERMLINE (v Queens Park): Jakub Stolarczyk: Matthew Todd, Efe Ambrose, Coll Donaldson, Lewis Martin: Steven Lawless (Bobby Kamwa 90+2), Liam Polworth, Joe Chalmers (Dan Pybus 63), Ryan Dow (Aaron Comrie 63): Graham Dorrans (c) (Lewis McCann 90+2): Kevin O’Hara.
SUBS NOT USED: Nikolay Todorov, Rhys Breen, Dom Thomas, Reece Cole, Deniz Mehmet (GK)
COVE RANGERS (v East Fife): Stuart McKenzie, Morgyn Neill, Harry Milne, Connor Scully, Scott Ross, Blair Yule, Mitch Megginson, Robbie Leitch (Kai Fotheringham 64), Jamie Masson, Mark Reynolds, Leighton McIntosh (Ola Adeyemo 77).
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Gourlay (GK).
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