Annan Athletic lifted the points and condemned Edinburgh City into a battle to avoid the bottom position of the SPFL2. It was Annan’s veteran striker Peter Weatherson’s 15th minute goal which separated the teams at the end of the day and the victory ensures Annan’s chances of finishing in the bottom position are almost eliminated and they can now concentrate along with the likely contenders Clyde and Montrose to battle it out for a play off position.
The Annan line up showed mass changes for the team who were convincingly beaten by Berwick Rangers last week. There was a welcome return at the heart of defence for long term injury suspect Steven Black who partnered Steven Swinglehurst at the centre of defence, on loan signing Jordan Stewart made his debut at left full back and Jean Guy Lucas was switched to his more accustomed right back position. Top scorer David McKenna and Max Wright were also given starting berths as Annan boss Jim Chapman rang out major changes to the starting line up in an effort to get his team back on the winning trail.
City started positively and it was the visitors who created the first real opportunity in the 6th minute when following a corner the ball went straight across the face of the Annan goal and fortunately for Annan nobody was at hand to connect with the cross. Annan won a free kick in a promising position 25 yards out when Ramsay was fouled but Weatherson’s free kick went straight into the arms of keeper Andrew Stobie. Lewis Allan’s shot in the 12th minute tested Blair Currie.
After this nervous start Annan started to take the game to the City and they were rewarded in the 15th minute when the hesitant City defence were punished by the quick thinking Peter Weatherson who despite being surrounded by several city defenders managed to back flip the ball into the corner of the net from the edge of the 6 yard box.
City responded when Aaron Dunsmore’s penetrating run down the right ended with a dangerous cross which slipped out of keeper Curries arms but once again the City attack lacked the conviction to make the most of the opportunity. Steven Black will feel he should have done better with his header from Flanagans corner and minutes later Max Wright headed past from another Flanagan corner kick as Annan started to impose their authority on the game.
David McKenna was denied by a superb Stobie save in the 30th minute but Annan’s top scorer may feel that he should have taken the ball closer to the keeper before striking the ball. It was a dominating period from Annan. City’s Aaron Dunsmore penetrating run down the right opened up the Annan defence but he chose the wrong option when he shot past the post with the more lucrative option being to square the ball.
Annan started the second half on the attack and Darren Ramsay’s well struck effort from a Weatherson lay off went narrowly past the post. It was the visitors however who started to dictate the play and Annan had to defend numerous corner kicks as City pressed for an eqauliser but on the day they lacked the cutting penetration to unlock the Annan defence.
Forfar consolidated their position at the top with a 1-1 draw against challengers Elgin City and Arbroath maintained their challenge for the title coming back to defeat Montrose 3-1, at the bottom Stirling came back from 2 goals down to earn a draw with 2 goals in the last 5 minutes against Berwick. Cowdenbeath stay firmly rooted to the bottom of the table as their game against Clyde was postponed due to Clyde’s Scottish Cup involvement.
Annan now enter the last third of the season with some optimism, the manager after a difficult and testing period has taken the team from the relegation zone and into a possible play off position. There have been several players brought in during the transfer window and there is now real competition for places as Annan enter this crucial period of the season. Annan are 4 points worse off from where they were last season when they missed out on the play offs by one goal amassing 58 points, it will be difficult to attain that points total this season but it is the target that all the promotion candidates must aspire to achieve if they are to extend their season and make the play offs.
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Blair Currie, Jean Guy Lucas, Jordan Stewart, Steven Black, Steven Swinglehurst, Gavin Skelton, Max Wright, Darren Ramsay, Peter Weatherson ( Smart Osadolor 81 min), David McKenna ( Aiden Smith 65 min), Nathan Flannigan (Rabin Omar 54 min). Substitute’s not used Alex Mitchell, Raffi Krissian, Premyslaw Dachnowicz , Tom Fry.
EDINBURGH CITY : Andew Stobie, Aaron Dunsmore, Ryan Portfolis, Shaun Harrison, Joshua Walker, Christopher McKee, Lewis Allan, Douglas Gair ( Mark McConnell 64 min), Mark Laird ( Jordan Caddow 85min), John Dunn, Ross Guthrie ( Ian McFarland 80 min). Substitutes not used – Callum Antell GK, Gordon Donaldson, Joseph Mbu.
REFEREE: Steven Reid.