Annan Athletic FC vs Berwick Rangers FC
Berwick Rangers came to Galabank looking to secure the victory that would ensure their SPFL survival and in the end the point that they secured almost certainly guarantees their survival. Annan boss Peter Murphy was without five regulars with Watson and Hooper both suspended and injuries to Omar, O’Keefe and Salkeld left the Annan squad looking thread bare, but it provided an opportunity for Development Player Zak Hannay to make his debut from the bench and youngster Ayrton Sonkur taking his place along side Steven Swinglehurst at the centre of the Annan defence.
It was another horrible day for both teams with the troublesome wind particularly in the first half making it difficult for the players. Berwick playing down towards the Clubhouse made the best of the weather advantages in the first half and early shots from Declan O’Kane and on loan striker Jack Hamilton made their intentions known. Notman’s shot in the 20th minute was routinely saved by Mitchell.
Annan’s most promising move of the half arrived in the 26th minute when Scott Roberts threaded the ball into the path of Aidan Smith who’s well drilled shot pulled out the best from on loan Rangers keeper Robbie McCrorie.
The second half produced some decent football from both teams, Moxon had half a chance in the 50th minute, minutes later Paul Willis tried his luck from the edge of the box with the shot going over the bar. Steven Thompson went close in the 58th minute with a shot from the edge of the box.
Jack Brannon caused alarm down the right in the 60th minute with a penetrating run and finishing with an inviting cross which was deflected for a corner from which Henderson headed into the arms of keeper McCronie.
Steven Thomson was denied by Mitchell who saved his net bound effort in the 66th minute at the second attempt. The play then switched to the opposite end of the park with Owen Moxon connecting with a super shot from fully 30 yards which tested McCrorie with the ball bouncing off his chest into the path of Ben Armour who’s hurried effort failed to hit the target.
Berwick were fortunate in the 70th minute after Jack Brannan’s glorious 25 yard effort cannoned off the junction between the cross bar and the post. Annan were on top and pushing hard for the opening and in the 77th minute Aidan Smith opened up the Berwick defence with a penetrating run down the left and ending with a ball into the path of Scott Roberts who failed to hit the target form a glorious position.
Berwick substituted on attacker for another with Osman See replacing Jack Hamilton and Annan introduced Zak Hannay for Jamie Henry in the 88th minute. Both teams had to be content with a point each with neither team prepared to gamble on all out attack.
Pleasing points for Annan was their defensive performance and the introduction of youngster Ayrton Sonkur at the centre of defence alongside captain Steven Swinglehurst. Annan’s form has deserted them recently with only 2 wins form their last 11 matches, a sequence of results which has seen them drop out of the play off places and the home fans will be hoping they end the season on a high.
Annan Athletic- Alex Mitchell, Jack Brannan, Evan Horne, Jamie Henry ( Zak Hannay 89 min), Ayrton Sonkur, Steven Swinglehurst, Owen Moxon, Ryan Sinnamon ( Ben Armour 67 min ), Aidan Smith, Blair Henderson, Scott Roberts, Subs not used – Jim Atkinson, James Creaney, Peter Murphy.
Berwick Rangers –Robbie McCorie, Jordan Orru, Stephen Notman , Darren Lavery , Kevin McKinlay, Declan O’Kane, Robert Wison, Jack Hamilton ( Osman See 82 min) , Kieran Stewart, Jamie Todd, Stephen Thomson ( Gary Phillips 78 min) , Paul Willis . Subs not used Oliver Fleming, Jack Cook, Alex Petcov, Aaron Murrell, Sean Brennan GK.
Referee – John McKendrick, Assistants – Brian Templeton and Alastair Grieve.
The battle for the SPFL2 title is still very much in the balance with both Montrose and Peterhead recording convincing victories. Peterhead ended Clyde’s impressive run of victories with a convincing 3 goal victory at Balmoor which leave Clyde with a mountain to climb to make the play offs, Montrose had a similar result defeating Edinburgh City. Elgin City had the result of the day recording a 3 goal victory over Edinburgh City which keeps Elgin City’s play off hopes alive.
Annan entertain Elgin City next Saturday at Galabank.