Annan Athletic v Stenhousemuir
Match Report by David Hastie
Annan Athletic made it two wins from two on Tuesday evening, with a five star performance against a lacklustre Stenhousemuir. The Galabankies were forced into two changes, with the injured Ryan Sinnamon and Jordan Lowdon replaced by Tyler Fulton and Cammy Clark.
The match exploded into action after just six minutes, with midfielder Owen Moxon playing a slack back pass straight to the feet of Mark McGuigan, who made no mistake in firing low to the left hand corner to make it 1-0.
But the hosts would level just two minutes later, with Moxon making up for his earlier error by playing a wonderful through ball to Nathan Flanagan who found himself one on one with Stenny keeper Paddy Martin, firing low to the right, and whilst Martin got a touch on it, he couldn’t stop the ball from finding the bottom corner to equalise.
Annan Athletic would find themselves in front on just ten minutes, with some wonderful fluid football seeing Tony Wallace linking up with Cammy Clark, who rather than whipping the ball in decided to pass inside to Moxon, who slipped the ball into Wallace, with his looped shot floating over the keepers head and into the net.
Both teams were absolutely flying out the trap, and Stenhousemuir almost levelled, with a Callum Tapping corner finding Jack Hodge, but his header flew over the bar.
The Black and Golds would find themselves even further in front on the half hour mark, with a moment of magic from Tony Wallace. Owen Moxon again was the creator as he fed in Cammy Clark. Clark then played the ball Fleming, who crossed in for Wallace to meet on the half volley, almost bursting the net as it rocketed into the top left corner.
The visitors would be forgiven for wondering how they found themselves down by two goals after a busy start for both sides, however Annan, high on confidence from Saturday’s dominant win against Brechin were making huge chances. Flanagan had a chance from the right hand side of the box from a free kick, however it was held well by keeper Martin.
Half Time – Annan Athletic 3-1 Stenhousemuir
With darkness falling over Galabank, Annan were firmly in control of the game, and were quite happy to allow Stenhousemuir to pass the ball in front of them along the back line, with any attempts at penetrating the Annan side quashed with relative ease.
There was a penalty claim for the hosts eight minutes into the second half, with Tyler Fulton going down under Martin’s challenge. Replays did appear to show that the keeper got a touch on the ball however, validating the referee’s decision to wave away any Annan protests.
Annan were creating wave after wave of attacks on the Warriors, with Fleming hitting one from the edge of the box that was well saved for a corner. Flanagan also tried to get his second of the match driving through the defence into the box, jinking to the left before unleashing his shot, but this was blocked for a corner to the home side.
Owen Moxon thought he had grabbed a goal 70 minutes in, receiving the ball about 35 yards out and bearing down on goal, attempted to tear the leather off the ball as he fired it goal-wards. The shot was impressive, but the keeper was equal to it, sending the ball out for a corner.
The Black and Golds were 4-1 up a minute later, however. Nathan Flanagan, who had been a nuisance down the right all night, received the ball and clever footwork got him past his marker. His cross was pin point and fell at the feet of Aidan Smith at the back post, who made no mistake, making it two goals in two games.
The pressure from the hosts wasn’t subsiding as they pushed for more, with Flanagan again unlucky not to double his tally for the night, cutting inside after receiving the ball from Fleming, but his shot whizzed over the bar.
It wasn’t to be the Warriors night, and Mark McGuigan was left very red faced 10 minutes from time. Yeats sent a deep cross into the back post, with Muir nodding to McGuigan who, right in front of goal about two yards out headed well wide.
The rout was completed with the last kick of the ball, Russell Currie flicking the ball down to Iain Anderson, who laid off Darren Christie, making no mistake in finding the bottom left corner from around 25 yards for his first SPFL goal, in a wonderful move by the three substitutes, and a huge performance by the Galabankies going into the split.