Annan Athletic v Elgin City
Annan Athletic were completely outclassed by top four candidates Elgin City in as big a one sided match that the sparse Annan Athletic support have had to endure for a long time on a wet miserable afternoon at Galabank. There were no positive points that Annan could take out the match against a very impressive Elgin City team who on the day totally dictated the flow of the match from start to finish.
Prior to the kick off there was serious doubt that the match would progress as the wet windy conditions showed little signs of relenting, until an hour before the kick off when referee Gavin Ross gave the go ahead as the wind dropped dramatically,it was a decision that the Annan management on reflection would have hoped that could have been reversed.
Annan started the match without the suspended Tommy Muir and Christian Nade and their omissions presented starting opportunities for Russell Currie and Lewis McLear but both players had little opportunity to shine on a day with so many Annan players falling short.
Annan started promisingly with efforts from Currie , Watson and Swinglehurst all within the opening quarter giving false hope for what was to ensue. Elgin gradually got to grips with the match and their front three of O’Keefe , Sutherland and Hester caused problems all afternoon for the Annan defenders.
It took Elgin until the 4nd minute to open the scoring when the Annan defence was cut open by a Rabin Omar through ball played into the path of Kane Hester who placed the ball into the net past the advancing Lyle Avci in the Annan goal. It was the only goal that separated the teams in the opening half.
Elgin doubled their lead in the 67th minute after Niyah Joseph conceded a free kick wide on the right flank and from the resulting cross Shane Sutherland reacted quickest to slam the ball into the roof of the net from close range. Annan had no answer to Elgin’s dominance at this stage and 4 minutes later it came as no surprise when the visitors increased their lead to 3 goals when Connor O’Keefe who had tormented Matty Douglas all afternoon won his way to the bye line to finish with a low cross to Kane Hester who’s low right footed shot into the corner of the net from 4 yards put Elgin out of site.
Annan’s miserable afternoon was completed in the 80th minute when Shane Sutherland set up ex Annan player Rabin Omar who’s right footed shot from the edge of the box gave keeper Avci no chance .
Annan looked to have scored a late consolation goal when Flanagan set up Niyah Joseph but Flanagan was adjudged to be off side before crossing to Joseph.
Despite the defeat Annan are still in with a chance of the play off’s but the competition is starting to hot up with Stirling, Queens Park and Elgin all hard on the heels of Annan who on Saturdays performance do not look like a team who will contest one of the play off positions .
The manager has been hindered by his team selections in recent weeks by the sending off’s of key players Douglas, Swinglehurst , Nade and Muir and for Annan to have any chance of
progressing it needs to have all their players available until the end of the season and with the number of yellow cards accumulating there could be more suspension heartache ahead for Annan as the season heads towards the end of the season.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Lisle Avci , Matty Douglas ( Jamie Ballantyne 78 min ), Kyle Bradley, Lewis McLear ( Niyah Joseph 53 min ) ,Darren Barr , Steven Swinglehurst, Scott McLean, Kyle Wilkie (Jordan Holt 85 min ), Russell Currie , Broque Watson , Nathan Flannigan . Subs not used Ayrton Sonkur , Jamie Walker, Harry Emerson.
ELGIN CITY – Thomas McHale, Rory MacEwan, Cameron Harper, Mathew Cooper, Steven Bronsky, , Russell Dingwell ( Daryl McHardy 82 min ), Rabin Omar, Brian Cameron , Kane Hester (Smart Osadolor 73 min ), Shane Sutherland, Connor O’Keefe ( Daniel Mackay 78 min ). Subs not used Aiden Sopel, David Wilson, Ashley Bellam , Oliver Kelly GK.
Referee Gavin Ross . Assistants – Stuart Stevenson and Craig Macrae.
The weather played havoc with the fixtures and the matches between Cowdenbeath and Albion Rovers , and Stirling Albion and Cove Rangers both being postponed. Edinburgh City however failed to take advantage of Cove Rangers not playing after Queens Park came from a goal down to defeat City 2-1 at Ainslie Park. The basement battle between Stenhousemuir and Brechin ended all square at 2-2 with Brechin City grabbing a late 84th minute equaliser, a result which did neither team any good as both teams could have done with a victory
Next Saturday Annan are at home against the in form Stirling Albion kick off 3-00-pm.