Annan Athletic’s inconsistent form was evident once again on Saturday when Berwick Rangers lifted the points to ease their play off fears with a convincing victory over Annan. It was an afternoon when Annan rarely got within shooting distance of a tight Berwick defence and it was a superbly taken hat trick from Steven Thomson which lifted the hopes of the home supporters to give them belief that they can work their way out of the perilous position that Berwick are in at the moment.
It was the same team apart from Steven Swinglehurst who replaced Raffi Krissian at the centre of defence which defeated Stirling Albion the previous week. Annan opened up brightly with efforts from Flanagan and Osadolor testing on loan Killie keeper Devlin Mackay. Rabin Omar’s header from a corner tested the Berwick keeper but it was the home team who opened the scoring on the 11th minute when a ball played in from the left saw keeper Blair Currie and Greg Rutherford tussle for the ball which fell kindly for Steven Thomson who guided the ball into the empty net from 8 yards.
It was an important goal which the home team built on and in the 18th minute Thomson was once again the thorn in the side when he doubled the home teams lead after collecting Rutherfords pass to turn Callum Home and finish with a low shot into the net from 16 yards.
Annan responded in the 24th minute when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and Weatherson’s well directed low shot went around the Berwick wall and into the corner of the net. It was well struck free kick and one Annan fans have come to expect from the striker. Annan were back in the game.
Annan started to enjoy a good spell in the game but it took a fine save from Blair Currie in the 33rd minute to maintain Annan’s hopes when he pulled off a good save after the ball deflected off Peter Watson. Annan continued to search for the equaliser with Weatherson’s header from a corner in the 36th minute going marginally past the post and 2 minutes later he was unlucky when his effort struck the side netting. The Berwick goal survived an anxious end to the half as Annan pressed forward but the Berwick defence rode their luck till the half time whistle was blown.
Berwick started the second half well and a well flighted free kick from the edge of the box presented an opportunity for the home team but nobody was in a position to take advantage. Annans best opportunity of the half arrived in the 60th minute when Weatherson sent Osadolor through on goal and his well struck low shot went agonisingly wide of the target. Minutes later Osadolor shot over the bar.
At the other end Jordyn Sheerin’s effort was saved by Currie and minutes later the home team had claims for a penalty brushed aside by the referee. The game was on a knife edge but it swung in the favour of the home team in the 87th minute when substitute Jordyn Sheerin secured the points collecting a through ball which cut open the Annan defence down the left and his low shot from 12 yards found the corner of the net.
The most memorable moment of the match was left deep into injury time when Steven Thomson’s superbly struck shot from fully 25 yards ripped into the top corner of the net to beat Blair Currie all ends up. It was a fine hat trick from the Berwick player and it left many wondering at Shielfield who was the last Berwick player to score a hat trick.
It was another day of mixed fortunes for several of the teams Montrose have pushed themselves into a promising position following their 2-1 victory at Stirling, Elgin travelled down to Cowdenbeath only for the game to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and Clyde maintained their push for a play off place after sharing the points in 0-0 draw with Edinburgh City. Forfar’s relentless push for the title continued with a 1-0 victory over their closest rivals Arbroath.
BERWICK RANGERS : Devlin Mackay, Euan Spark, Kevin McKinley ( Jordan Orru 32 min), Lee Hamilton, Pat Scullion, Gary Phillips, Steven Thomson, Darren Lavery, Greg Rutherford (Ricardo Leao Kessels 90 min), Michael McKenna , Jordyn Sheering (Aaron Murell 75 min) SUBS NOT USED: Daniel Watt, Renne Donkor, Jack Cook, Sean Brennan GK.
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas , Steven Swinglehurst, , Peter Watson, Gavin Skelton ( Max Wright 80 min), Rabin Omar ( David McKenna 75 min) , Darren Ramsay, Peter Weatherson, Smart Osadolor (Aiden Smith 73 min), Nathan Flannigan. Subs not used Premyslaw Dachnwicz, Alex Mitchell, Stephen Bronsky, Alex Mitchell.
REFEREE: David Lowe