Annan Athletic v Elgin City
Annan Athletic extended their poor run of form in League Two in disappointing fashion, going down 3-0 to Elgin City in a game where the score line did not quite tell the story.
The Galabankies started brightly in the beautiful conditions in the Scottish Borders and could have been a couple in front early on, with Fulton getting on the end of a Flanagan cross, forcing Elgin keeper McHale into a great save. Annan kept the pressure high and looked comfortable on the ball and dangerous in attack. A shot from outside the box from Docherty looked dangerous, but it rocketed just past the right post.
The Bankies had been holding the highlanders to very little up front, with keeper Mitchell very rarely called into action, so it made it all the more impressive when O’Keefe received the ball down the left hand side of the park, drove into the box past Fulton, before cutting the ball back to Dingwall, who must have thought he had slotted the ball home, only for Mitchell to get across and save smartly, with the rebound falling back to Dingwall, who got it all wrong and fired over the bar.
Annan thought they had gotten the opener 10 minutes before half time, after a wonderful cross from the left-hand side was met by Fulton whose header looked to looping into the Elgin net, however an acrobatic clearance off the line saw the ball land safely in McHale’s hands. There were questions on whether there should have been a penalty to the home side, with McHale and Fulton clashing as they both went for the cross.
Elgin were starting to grow into the game, however, and took the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes. Another great bit of play by O’Keefe that mirrored their previous play, driving inside to cut back to Tony Dingwall who was waiting on the penalty spot to take a touch and coolly fire the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-0.
The goal was a hammer blow to Annan, who had been on top for much of the game and looked the most dangerous. However, things went from bad to worse when Elgin doubled their lead a mere three minutes later.
League Two’s top goal scorer Kane Heston got on to the end on a long ball and managed to get a shot away which was blocked. It fell ball to Heston’s feet, who passed the ball inside to Brian Cameron, who lashed the ball beyond Mitchell for 2-0.
The Galabankies were at panic stations now and were praying for the half time whistle to go. It did, but not before Dingwall almost made it three. A missed header from defender Matty Douglas put through O’Keefe again, who lifted the ball to the back post for Dingwall to head in, however Mitchell sprung across acrobatically to claw the ball wide for a corner.
Half Time Annan Athletic 0-2 Elgin City
Annan made one half time change which saw Docherty replaced by Moxon in an attempt to get back into the game. The changes looked to be highly effective as the Bankies opened the second half like the first, pressing Elgin and sniffing out chances to half the deficit.
Whilst the chances were being made, there seemed to be a lack of finishing within the team. They had two corners in quick succession, however no end product in what was an increasingly frustrating afternoon the glorious sunshine.
Brilliant pressing play from Aidan Smith saw him cut out a pass in the Elgin defense, but as he descended on goal, his low pass across goal was cleared for a corner.
Annan’s perseverance continued with some great dribbling from both Anderson and Flanagan looked to force a scoring opportunity. The theme of the day, however, was again, that they could not find that final ball to get back into the game.
Sub Owen Moxon was making a nuisance of himself in midfield, and more often than not was the driving force for Athletic in the middle of the park, appearing full of energy and running as the game wore on.
Multiple changes from the Black and Whites looked to kill the game as the away side looked to defend their clean sheet. On the contrary Annan appeared to be throwing everything at Elgin, who time and time again dealt with the threats.
And it was to be one of these assaults on the Elgin box that killed the game, with most of the Annan eleven in the opposition half, a long ball played through former Bankie Smart Osadolar, who made no mistake slotting past Mitchell to seal the game and ensure the three points were heading back up the road to the Highlanders.
Report by David Hastie
Annan Athletic – A. Mitchell, T. Fulton, C. Clark, M. Docherty (O. Moxon 45), M. Douglas, R. Love (R. Sinnamon 88), T. Wallace, L. Hunter (A. McCaw 88), A. Smith (K. Fleming 79), I. Anderson, N. Flanagan (R. Currie 88)
Subs not Used: B. Kinnear, D. Watson, D. Christie, M. Wright
Elgin City – T. McHale, M. Cooper, E. Spark, D. McHardy, S. Sparky, A. MacPhee, R. Dingwall (A. Sopel 81), B. Cameron, K. Hester (J. Peter 69), T. Dingwall (S. Osadolar 65), C. O’Keefe (A. Mailer 81)
Subs not Used: C. Brown, D. Wilson, K. Dalling, M. Miller, O. Kelly
Referee – Steven Reid, Assistants Paul O Neill Stephen Henderson