Cove Rangers suffered their first league defeat at the Balmoral Stadium as they went down 2-1 to Montrose.
Harry Milne put them ahead in the first half but second-half goals from Graham Webster and Russell McLean earned Stewart Petrie’s men the points.
Since they moved to the Balmoral in 2018 Cove had not lost a game. They had won their last 17 home league games – dating back to their entry into the SPFL last year – and had not even dropped a point at their home ground since a goalless draw with Brora Rangers in February 2019.
Cove were without Mitch Megginson, who picked up a knock in training during the week, with Rory McAllister starting up front.
It was McAllister that teed up the first chance of the game for Fraser Fyvie, capitalising on an error by Kerr Waddell and laying off for the advancing midfielder. Fyvie’s shot, however, was straight at Allan Fleming.
Montrose’s response came through Lewis Milne, as he stole a yard of space in the Cove penalty area to meet a cross from St Johnstone loanee Cameron Ballantyne. He was unable to get his header on target.
Fleming was called into action on 25 minutes when Jamie Masson picked out McAllister on the edge of the area. The former Peterhead striker made space for a shot but the Montrose stopper reacted well to tip over.
A set-piece presented Cove with the opener seven minutes before the break, with Masson’s corner met by Milne at the far post to head beyond Fleming.
38’ | #CRFC 1-0 MFC
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The home side threatened first at the start of the second half with a Scott Ross header, which went just wide, before Montrose got themselves level.
A diagonal ball into McLean was chested down by the gangly forward towards Andrew Steeves, who got there before Ryan Strachan and was brought down. Webster buried the penalty into the bottom left corner.
It only took five minutes for Montrose to turn the game on its head, with McLean curling a superb effort into the top corner from just outside the box.
Aside from a Daniel Higgins free-kick, with Fleming superbly tipped away, Cove struggled to test Fleming further until the closing stages, when Ryan Strachan skied over from Broque Watson’s cut-back.