Annan Athletic FC v Berwick Rangers FC
Annan got back on the winning ways on Saturday after 2 disappointing results on the road against Stirling Albion and Forfar Athletic when they recorded a victory over fellow strugglers Berwick Rangers on Xmas Eve, a result which heaps the pressure on the Borderers and for the time being gives Annan a little breathing space. It was definitely not a game for the purists with the heavy wind making it very difficult for both teams but the home supporters turned out on force to support and encourage Annan.
Annan got off to a flier in the 4th minute when top goal scorer David McKenna volleyed Jean Guy Lucas’s cross into the net from 8 yards and his low shot flew into the keepers right hand side. It was a superbly well taken shot by Annan’s top marksman. Annan’s joy however was short lived when 3 minutes later Berwick squared the match. Annan conceded a corner kick and the resulting cross caused all sorts of uncertainty in the 6 yard box and the indecision cost Annan dearly when Patrick Scullion pounced on the loose ball from inside the 6 yard box to square the match.
Annan playing against the strong wind continued to make chances with Rabin Omar’s effort from 12 yards crashing against the cross bar and minutes later Callum Home had a good opportunity when following a corner when his shot from close range missed the target.
Berwick however were left chasing the game once again in the 30th minute and it was a needless free kick conceded wide on the right after Lee Hamilton handled the ball assuming the ball had gone out of play however a free kick was awarded against the Berwick defender. Ramsay’s resulting free kick was badly mistimed by keeper Sean Brennan who attacked the free kick but Peter Watson got his head on the ball to leave the keeper in no mans land and the ball ended up in the net.
Nathan Flannigan the on loan St Mirren man looked in menacing form all afternoon and in the 35th minute Flannigan set up Rabin Omar but the disappointing shot was easily saved by the keeper. Rabin Omar soon made amends in the 40th minute, once again it was Flannigan who was inspirational in creating the opening with a darting run down the left laying the ball into Max Wright who’s low cut back struck the base of the post with questions once again being directed at the keeper but the lose ball fell to the feet of Rabin Omar who’s glorious shot flew into the top corner of the net to give Annan a two goal advantage.
The second half saw Berwick Rangers take the game to Annan but they posed very little threat to the Annan defence with Blair Currie being rarely tested. In fact it was Annan who created the best scoring opportunities in this half but it took a superbly timed tackle by Peter Watson in the 52nd minute when Berwick broke from deep in their own half and somehow he managed to force a corner depriving Sheering as he homed in on goal. Substitute Sean Mackie had only been on the field 5 minutes when Home’s mistimed tackle left Mackie with an opportunity but his shot went wide of the target.
As the game progressed Annan started to create space and a neat one two by Cuddihy and McKenna opened up the Berwick rear guard but Cuddihy’s well struck effort narrowly went past the post. Minutes later another well contrived move let in substitute Aiden Smith but his low shot was easily saved by keeper Sean Brennan.
It was a well deserved victory for Annan and the 3 points for the time being reduces the pressure on them. The victory provides Annan with the ideal result going into their hogmany clash with Clyde and if Annan have any aspirations of getting out of the bottom placing’s they must come away from Broadwood Stadium with a victory, a venue which in the past has not been kind to Annan.
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas, Peter Watson, Steven Swinglehurst, Barry Cuddihy, Rabin Omar, Nathan Flannigan, David McKenna (Ryan Sinnamon 90min), Max Wright ( Adam Asghar 90 min), Darren Ramsay ( Aiden Smith 82 min) .Subtitutes not used Alex Mitchell, Raffi Krissian, Ellis Pearson,
BERWICK RANGERS : Sean Brennan,Lee Hamilton, Kevin McKinlay, Patrick Scullion, Steven Notmahis low shot n (Sean McKie 60 min), Brian Martin, Steven Thompson (Ben Stirling 60 min), Darren Lavery, Greig Rutherford, Michael McKenna , Jordyn Sheering ( Sam Peres 84 min) SUBS NOT USED: Kevin Walker GK, Graham Beveridge, Daniel Watt, Euan Baid.
REFEREE: David Lowe , Assistants Graeme Stewart and Jim Burns .Attendance 430