Annan Athletic v Forfar Athletic
There was a minutes applause prior to the kick off for Jimmy Sherry who passed away. Jimmy as many Annan fans would know was grounds man at the club for many years prior to the plastic pitch being installed.
Conditions were almost perfect for both teams. Annan boss Peter Murphy made a couple of changes with a welcome return to the starting line up for Jordan Lowden reinstated to left full back for Cammy Clark who took over the injured Steven Swinglehurst roll at the centre of defence.
The match got off to a perfect start for Annan when they went ahead in the 4th minute but the visitors replied in the 29th minute and they went ahead right in the stroke of half time leaving it for Annan to grab a 57th minute equaliser with the outcome in doubt right up until the final whistle.
Forfar Athletic were first on the attack when Andy Munro’s effort went narrowly past the post in the 2nd minute, Annan’s response was almost immediate when fans favourite Tommy Goss brilliantly rose above Meechan at the back post to head in Chris Johnston’s back post cross. Aidan Smith followed this up with an effort in the 8th minute which sailed high and wide of the goals.
Annan then squandered a glorious opportunity to double their lead in the 15th minute when his back post header went narrowly past the post. Greig Fleming then denied Forfar an equaliser pulling off a superb finger tip save from a Mathew Aitken net bound effort into the top right hand corner of the net.
Forfar at this stage in the match were testing Annan who were defending brilliantly until the 29th minute when Andy Munro struck a superb equaliser from all of 20 yards which sailed into the top corner of the net to give Fleming no chance of saving.
Forfar then came close to taking the lead when Paul Crossan’s well struck effort went narrowly past the post, Annan were holding on and minutes later Andy Munro’s header from a corner was once again saved by Fleming.
Annan looked like they were going to hold out until right on half time Matty Douglas conceded a corner kick and from the resulting corner Fleming could only punch the ball to the edge of the box where Craig Slater brilliantly volleyed the ball into the top right hand corner of the net to give Forfar a 2-1 interval lead.
Annan made a half time substitute with player of the month Domnick Docherty replacing Lewis Hunter . Fleming pulled off a fine save turning Paul Crossan’s effort round the post. Forfar started the second half brightly but they suffered a blow when after a lengthy stoppage when Steven Anderson had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder injury in the 56th minute.
Annan then equalised minutes later after keeper McCallum pulled off a good save from Tony Wallace’s net bound effort only for the ball to fall invitingly for Aidan Smith’s who’s header from 10 yards found its way into the bottom left hand corner of the net . It was just the tonic that Annan needed and the match took on a new complexion with both teams looking for the winner.
Ross Meechan became the first player to receive a yellow card in the match in the 62nd minute then Aidan Smith received the second yellow in the 78th minute. Chris Johnston sent in a good cross to the back post but this time Tommy Goss’s header went over the bar.
Gary Harkins then blasted over from 12 yards after the ball was blocked by the Annan defence it was a glorious chance . The game then entered 7 minutes of additional time and it was Forfar who looked the most likely to score in this period with the Annan defence blocking 2 goal scoring opportunities.
What a competitive match this SPFL2 League match proved to be for the healthy Galabank crowd who witnessed what some would say was as good a match as has been seen at Galabank for a long time between two evenly matched teams battling for a top four position.
The man of the match award deservedly went to Annan goalkeeper Greig Fleming who pulled off 3 brilliant saves to deny Forfar.