Annan Athletic FC vs Peterhead FC
This six goal thriller had the sparse crowd on their toes till the final whistle, in a game that Annan were always chasing against the title contenders Peterhead who had the un-envious task of undertaking the longest journey in the league for a vitally important league match for the Peterhead team.
It was a match which Peterhead will look back on with some regret, after cruising into a two goal interval lead with an impressive first half performance which saw Annan play second fiddle to a Peterhead side who dictated the play with ex Doonhamer Willie Gibson pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
Peterhead were dealt a blow after losing the services of their injured ace marksman Rory McAllister in the 30th minute, his place being taken by Russel McLean. It was however a turning moment in the match with McLean making a remarkable impact, when with his first touch his low shot through a ruck of players from 8 yards found its way into the net. What an impact and almost immediately the same player headed over the bar from a cross from the left.
The evening was about to get better for the Peterhead striker when from a throw Scott Brown picked the ball up to find McLean who once again finished with a low accurate shot past Mitchell and into the corner of the net. Things were about to get worse for the home team when Kevin Ruchiewicz was sent to the stand for directing words to the referee.
It was a comfortable well deserved two goal lead for Peterhead, Annan started the second half winning a free kick on the edge of the box but Aidan Smiths effort failed to clear the Peterhead defensive wall. Annan’s bright start paid off in the 65th minute when Rabin Omar whipped in a low dangerous cross from the right to the back post and Blair Henderson somehow managed to get his head to the low cross to bring Annan back into the game.
Annan were then thwarted in the 73rd minute when Peterhead were awarded a penalty kick after James Creaney and Peterheads trialist were caught in a tangle with a penalty being awarded against Creaney. Russel McLean stepped up to the challenge and converted his spot kick to complete a magical hat trick for the Peterhead Substitute.
The game appeared to have drifted away from Annan but in the 75th minute they reduced the leaway to 3-2 with the best goal of the evening, the move was created down the right and finished by Annan’s ace marksman Blair Henderson who connected to sweep the ball into the roof of the net from 8 yards.
The goal gave Annan and the sparse crowd the desired lift and Annan squared the game in the 85th minute when Annan’s man of the match Peter Watson headed home from 5 yards following a corner on the left.
The final minutes saw the game flow from end to end and Annan’s late substitute Ben Armour had an opportunity to clinch the game for Annan in the final minute of normal time but the on loan Morton striker failed to control the difficult low cross and the opportunity was lost.
The match was a super advert for the SPFL2 and it leaves the race for the title wide open with Peterhead and Montrose the teams best placed to battle it out as the season moves towards the business end of the season.
Annan boss Peter Murphy praised his team, they showed good character to come back against a very good team , it has stopped the bad run that Annan were on. The Annan boss said we have been experiencing a difficult spell to our league campaign but tonights performance provides the perfect platform for us ahead of Saturdays important home game against play off contenders Stenhousemuir.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Alex Mitchell, Scott Hooper, James Creaney , Jamie Henry, Peter Watson, Owen Moxon (Scott Roberts 60 min), Evan Home, Ryan Sinnamon ( Cameron Salkeld 87 min), Aiden Smith ,Blair Henderson ( Ben Armour 87 min), Rabine Omar. Substitutes not used Jim Atkinson (gk), Jack Brannan, Ayrton Sonka, Connor O’Keefe.
PETERHEAD : Greg Fleming, Jason Brown, Aiden McDuff, Mason Robertson, Aaron Norris ( Trialist 70 min) , Chis Johnstone,, Jamie Stevenson, Scott Brown, Rory McAllister (Russel McLean 30 min ), Jack Leitch, Willie Gibson . Substitutes not used: Fraser Hobday, Alan Smith, David McCracken.
Referee – Craig Napier.Assistants – Joseph Lawson and David Dunne