Annan Athletic v Forfar Athletic
The outcome of this play off semi final will be decided at Station Park on Saturday after the first leg at Galabank ended all square on Wednesday evening. Annan Athletic will no doubt look back on the game as an opportunity lost as they romped into a two goal lead in the opening 16 minutes and the experienced Peter Weatherson squandered a glorious opportunity in the 20th minute when it looked easier to score which would have put Annan further ahead.
The Loons however showed real character to stage a dramatic come back scoring 2 goals in a late 2 minute spell which keeps the game in the balance but with home advantage Annan will have to repeat the feat that they did on the final league game of the season last week.
Annan got off to another flyer and with only four minutes on the clock Peter Weatherson connected with Aidan Smith’s dangerous cross ball to head the ball into the corner of the net from 5 yards. Forfar looked startled as Annan continued to take the game to the visitors and in the 16th minute Annan were awarded a penalty when keeper Grant Adam failed to deal with a pass back and the keeper fouled Aidan Smith who stepped up to take the spot kick which Adam saved but Smith following up slotted the ball into the net.
At this stage of the match it could not have been better for Annan and it could have been better when in the 20th minute Rabin Omar set Weatherson up and with the goal at his mercy he uncharacteristically shot over the bar. Forfar had rarely troubled the Annan defence until Gavin Swankie tried his luck with a low shot which went narrowly past the post. Minutes later Omar did well down the right when he slipped past his marker but his decision to shoot wide of the target was the wrong option.
As the match moved towards the final 15 minutes of the half Forfar were very much taking the game to Annan but without causing the Annan defence any real problems. The nearest Forfar came to scoring in the first half was when Jim Lister headed over the bar in the 35th minute.
Annan were dealt a blow at the start of the second half when Gavin Skelton had to leave the field of play in the 48th minute. Aidan Smith was denied a scoring opportunity by an important Travis challenge and at the other end David Cox headed narrowly past the post. This was followed by a Jamie Bain volley which went narrowly over the bar. Annan had keeper Blair Currie to thank for a superb save to deny Cox who’s well placed header appeared to be heading for the net until the Annan keeper instinctively saved the day for his team.
Forfar had Annan on the rack and in the 70th minute Cox was denied by the cross bar when his shot on the turn from the edge of the box crashed off the top of the woodwork. It was a let off for Annan but they were having to defend deep to curtail the eager Forfar team. Osadolor replaced Weatherson in the 72nd minute and he immediately won a free kick for Annan in an inviting position with Grant Adam pulled off an important save to tip Omar’s free kick over the bar.
The Annan defence was eventually breached in the 82nd minute when Andy Munro’s powerful header from a corner kick gave Forfar a late life line, this was followed up by the eqauliser 2 minutes later when Martyn Fotheringham rifled in a 20 yard free kick into the top corner of the net.
Swankie followed this goal up with a good effort and at the other end Aidan Smith headed past the post from a very inviting position when goal looked the likely outcome. In the end both teams had to be content with a draw and will have to do it all over again in the second leg.
ANNAN ATHLETIC –Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas, Raffi Krissian, Stephen Singlehurst, Gavin Skelton (Max Wright 48 min), Rabin Omar, Barry Cuddihy, David McKenna, Peter Weatherson (Smart Osadolor 72 min) , Aiden Smith, Nathan Flanagan ( David McKenna 85 min),
Unused Substitutes – Alex Mitchell, Steven Bronsky, Przemyslaw Dachnowicz , Peter Watson.
Annan Goals- Weatherson (4) Smith (16)
FORFAR ATHLETIC – Grant Adam, Jamie Bain,Christopher McLauchlin, Martin Fotheringham, Michael Travis, Andy Munro, David Cox, Thomas O’Brien, James Lister, Gavin Swankie, Daniel Denholm, Unused Substitutes Josh Peters , Stuart Malcom, Eddie Malone, Marc Scott, Lewis Milne, Aiden Malone, Joseph McGovern GK.
Forfar Goals- Travis (81) Fotheringham (82)
Referee – Crawford Allen Assistants Joseph Lawson and Graham McNellie.