Annan Athletic v Berwick Rangers
After a run of six games without a victory it was back to winning ways for Annan on Saturday. Steven Swinglehurst made a welcome return to the Annan team and marked his return with a goal in 2 minutes which set Annan on their way to a comfortable afternoon. It was the worst possible start for the Berwick team and one which they never recovered from.
It was an unbelievable start to the game for Annan when Swinglehurst inside the six yard box had the space to slot home Chris Johnston’s corner kick. Moments later Aidan Smith latched on to a long through ball finishing with a well placed lob which beat the keeper but not the cross bar. Johnston continued to torment the home defence and in the 5th minute he set Tony Wallace up but his effort went wide of target.
Berwick’s Ross Brown was booked in the 12th minute for simulating a penalty minutes later Greg Hurst rifled over the bar. Annan continued to dominate the match Moxon came close with a header off a deflected cross and Ryan Sinnamon’s free kick from a promising position failed to hit the target. Swinglehurst appeared to be harshly booked mid way through the half.
Hooper and Mitchell got caught in a tangle in the 34th minute and provided Berwick’s best chance of a dismal half for the Borderers with Hooper’s pass back going narrowly past the post. Annan continued to press forward as the game approached half time and it took a super save from Sean Brennan to deny David Wilson.
Berwick were undone at the start of the second half after Moxon finished a penetrating run with a stunning shot from 20 yards which beat keeper Brennan down at the right hand side. It was the perfect start to the half from Annan. Aidan Smith and David Wilson tested Brennan before Smith headed home a Chris Johnston cross from inside the 6 yard box to increase Annan’s lead to 3-0.
Mitchell pulled off an important double save to deny Aaron Murrell 64th minute before Swinglehurst completed a fine afternoons work when he marked his return with his second goal of the match when he connected with Sinnamon’s corner in the 70th minute to send a powerful header into the roof of the net.
I was a good convincing victory for Annan who never looked in trouble against a Berwick team who are obviously struggling and can only get better in the second half of the season. Annan finish their first half fixtures off against Albion Rovers next week.
Annan – Alex Mitchell, Scott Hooper, Lewis Strapp, David Wilson, Kyle Bradley, Steven Swinglehurst , Owen Moxon ( Max Wright 80 min ), Ryan Sinnamon, Aidan Smith ( Scott Roberts 74 min), Chris Johnston , Tony Wallace ( Scott Roberts 74 min). Subs not used Jonny Jamieson, Ayrton Sonkur, Ross Ferguson.
Berwick Rangers – Sean Brennan, Andy Forbes, Greg Hurst, Declan O’Kane, Craig Hume, Aaron Murrell, Gary PhillIps, Jack Cook, Lewis Barr, John O’Neill ( Jack O’Gilvie 58 mn), Ross Brown, Subs not used Andy Carlin, Robert Wilson, Chris Hamilton and Jamie Todd.
Referee – Peter Stuart Assistants – Euan Birch and Graeme Leslie
It was a good afternoon for all the top 5 teams Edinburgh City maintained their push for the title with a 2-0 victory over Cowdenbeath. Peterhead kept in touch with City after a fine 4-1 victory over Stirling Albion. Clyde beat Albion Rovers 3-0 and Elgin City defeated Queens Park 4-0 at Hamden.