Echt, desperate to kick start a run of Premier League results that will lift them away from the bottom end of the table, travelled to meet a Cove Thistle side currently operating near the top of the league, and certainly a side tipped to be among the silverware again this season.
Echt survived an early scare and then gave a good opening ten minute account of themselves. Lewis Chouman delivered a cross that Cove defender Fettes under pressure from Greg Kane opted, to head to safety over his own crossbar. In 12 mins when Fettes hoisted a halfway line free kick into the Echt box the ball skidded off an Echt head but keeper Gordon Kessack clutched under his crossbar.
A minute later at the Cove end an Alan Douglas 35 yd central low drive deflected narrowly wide of the home goal and Darren MacLeod’s flag kick delivery was headed strongly out of the danger zone by the dominant Fettes.
Cove’s Walker then went rampaging down the right touchline leaving Stuart Cooper and also Greg Harris trailing in his wake and then delivered a low ball across the Echt box which Stewart McLaren made a timely interception on, near post, at the expense of a corner.
Slope assisted, the homesters were surging forward with intent at every opportunity and only a desperate goal line clearance in a crowded Echt box in 22 mins kept the scoreline blank. Echt then survived a Fettes header on a C.Craig corner that flew over.
In 28 mins C.Craig thundered a free kick from all of 35 yds, on target, but straight into Kessack’s midriff.
Echt stunned the home touchline by going ahead in 35 mins, when Douglas netted with a sweetly struck grounder from the edge of the box, that gave home keeper McKenzie no chance, following a MacLeod lay off.
Within 60 seconds Cove levelled, Kessack made a fantastic instinctive save on a netbound header from a freekick but C Craig was handily placed to net with a simple close in header at the keeper’s right hand post.
Echt having surrendered their lead so soon after gaining it, albeit very much against the run of play, clung on desperately at times, hopeful of reaching the turnaround on level terms but in 44 mins they conceded again. Cove were allowed to work the ball goalwards along the left byeline, a simple cutback picked out an unmarked colleague to guide low past Kessack and despite a valiant clearance effort by Harris he simply scooped high into the roof of the net.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half unfolded fairly evenly contested, with Echt now enjoying slope advantage and looking more than capable of getting the next goal which was obviously going to be crucial, but always a danger the pace of Cove on the break.
The home side got the decisive third goal on the 65 min mark, a ball played forward from the centre of the park left Harris and Cove’s Chalmers in a race for possession, Harris at full stretch tried to edge it back to his keeper, a passback that obviously left doubt in Kessack’s mind but none in Chalmers’, who had simply continued his run and drilled a low shot into the back of the Echt net for 3-1.
With 17 mins left Philip Craig replaced MacLeod who had taken a knock and just into the final 10 mins Harris was withdrawn and Marc Lawrence came on but truth to tell the Echt belief had disappeared with the loss of the third goal and despite these changes a comeback never materialised.
With 85 mins on the clock a driven right side diagonal delivery by Lawrence was edged just over off the head of Chouman. Darren Stewart then replaced Chouman late on.
Echt now with only one win in ten league outings and a mere seven points could now be facing a winter of discontent as they look to find a way out of Relegation Alley.
ECHT: Kessack, Daun, Kirton, Harris, Cooper, Douglas, MacLeod, McLaren, Kane, A.Davidson, Chouman SUBS; Lawrence, Craig, Milne, Birse, Stewart.