Albion Rovers vs Annan FC
Albion Rovers lifted 3 valuable points to leave Annan wondering how on earth they managed to lose a match that they totally controlled. Annan’s failure to make any impression where it mattered in front of goal and their inability to deal with the basics of defence cost them dearly. Manager Jim Chapman was left fuming “all the preparation went out the window today and we got what we deserved – nothing and at the same time handed Albion a victory that brings them back into the pack. How often have you seen us squander an opportunity to go to the top of the league and not deliver, that is twice in 2 weeks where the team have failed to deliver and it leaves me with a dilemma. The goals we conceded today were more akin to a team fighting relegation as opposed to a team with the aspirations of winning the league and we failed to take advantage of the openings created. The facts are we are not consistent enough. We had a good performance in mid week against Peterhead so I went with the same players but today we were not clinical enough and bad decision making cost us two goals”.
The first half produced few if any incidents that were likely to produce a goal to excite the crowd and after 30 minutes Kenny Arthur had not touched the ball but in the 36th minute Annan had a let off when Mark Shankland’s effort hit the cross bar. Annan dictated the play in the opening half but worrying they did not create any real scoring opportunities to test Neil Parry in the Albion goal.
Albion made a positive start to the second half but it did not last for long as Annan started to dominate for long spells. Andrew Mitchell came close in the 53rd minute when his effort beat Parry but deflected off the cross bar and minutes later Mitchells effort sailed over the bar. Kenny Arthur’s first real save in the 55th minute was dealing with a Ryan Tiffney effort. Todd and McNiff combined in the 60th minute with Todd’s shot slipping past the post. Annan’s best chance of the match fell to Hopkirk in the 65th minute when Hopkirk linked up well with Todd ending with Hopkirk clean through on goal and shooting past from 5yards. It was a real let off for the home team. Annan’s purple patch continued when Love’s cross was headed on by Weatherson and Hopkirk finished with a shot but the goal was chalked offside. Annan continued to look dangerous at this stage and Todd’s effort in the 70th minute went narrowly past. Moments later McNiff’s back heeled effort deprived Hopkirk who was better placed to take advantage of the opening.
Albion Rovers had rarely looked like scoring then made the breakthrough. It was however a goal that Annan will want to forget, Love conceded a needless free kick on the half way line and the free kick was floated into the Annan box and both Watson and Swinglehurst rose to clear the ball with the ball coming off the head of Swinglehurst and into the net. It was a bad goal to lose under no pressure and Albion all of a sudden were in the driving seat and Annan were left chasing a match they had been so in control of.
Annans misery was compounded in the 88th minute when recent on loan signing Mark Shankland rifled in a low shot after Steven Sloan’s pass was intercepted on the edge of the box by Shankland. The victory was complete.
Albion Rovers boss James Ward was delighted with the result which saw his side pick up their first league victory in five outings, “we showed a lot of character today”. Annan boss Jim Chapman could not hide his disappointment, “we handed Albion the points on a plate today, they are a good side and we have gone from looking like a strong side in this division to the worst side in the division, all in 90 minutes”.
Albion Rovers – N Parry, A Reid (R Tiffney 16 min), R Dunlop, L Cusak, C Donnelly, M Dunlop, D Crawford (J Flood 83 min), M Shankland, M McGuigan, C Dallas, G Phillips. Substitutes not used R Tiffney, D Millar, C Dallas, M McGinley, M McGuire.
Annan Athletic – K Arthur, S Sloan, M McNiff, A Mitchell, P Watson, S Swinglehurst, J Todd ( S Davidson 83 min) ,C Jardine, P Weatherson, D Hopkirk, A Love ( K Brannan 88 min) . Substitutes not used G Anderson, P Bradley, M Flynn,S Black, A Mitchell.
Referee K Graham Assistants S Reid and G Hilland