Annan FC vs Elgin City
It was a special day at Galabank for this Annan’s final league game of the season before the play offs where Annan now know they will play Stirling Albion in the first play off match. Annan were captained on the day by Chris Jardine who has decided to retire after 16 seasons at Galabank and Annan displayed their new home kit for season 2014 – 15.
The opening exchanges were fairly even but gradually Annan started to get a foothold on the game and when Josh Todd’s 12th minute goal was chalked offside the warning signs for Elgin started to appear. Kenny Mackay missed a golden opportunity in the 15th minute when Jardine’s through ball split the Elgin defence to send Mackay clean through but his well struck shot clipped the top of the cross bar.
City’s most influential player Shane Sutherland came close in the 26th minute when his driving run from midfield concluded with a low raking shot which flashed past the upright. Minutes later Gibson in the Elgin goal pulled off a good save from Andrew Mitchell’s header . Elgin forced a free kick in the 30th minute and from the resulting free kick Jamie Duff rose above his markers to make a clean header with the ball but fortunately for Annan the header went over the bar.
Annan went ahead in the 36th minute when a neat move involving Mackay and Todd ended with Todd threading the ball into the path of David Hopkirk who guided the ball past the advancing John Gibson and into the corner of the net. As half time approached McNiff came close when his header from Mitchell’s free kick was confidently saved by Gibson.
Elgin started the second half on the offensive and within minutes Sutherland’s effort went narrowly past the post. Annan started to get a grip on the game and in the 60th minute they doubled their lead. It was a simple goal in the making when Mitchell’s free kick was enough to entice keeper Gibson off his goal line and Martin McNiff’s header from the penalty spot was guided into the empty net . Gibson then made amends when he saved from MacKay . Craig Gunn squandered a glorious opportunity in the 70th minute when Sutherland sent Gunn clean through on goal but his final shot did not test Kenny Arthur. Gibson pulled off an important save to deny McNiff in the 80th minute.
Annan boss Jim Chapman was happy with his teams performance “there were some good signs out there today, we are now in the play offs and know that we face a couple of difficult games against Stirling Albion . We now have all the players available we know what we can expect , Stirling are the form team but if we can play to our capabilities we will be a match for any team.”
Annan play Stirling on Wednesday evening at Forthbank kick off 7-45pm with the return leg at Galabank next Saturday kick off 3-00pm.
The Annan Athletic Supporters Player of the year was awarded after the game to Kenny Mackay.
Annan Athletic – K Arthur, I Chisholm, M McNiff , P Bradley, P Watson, C Jardine (A Love 80 min), S BlacMitchell, K MacKay (S Davidson 70 min), D Hopkirk (B Henderson 70 min), J Todd . Substitutes Not used J Moffat, A Mitchell, D Orsi and S Sloan
Elgin City – J Gibson, G Beveridge, P McMullan, G Finlayson, J Duff, P Harkins (D McHardy 71 min), C Gunn (C Murray 89 min), M Nicholson, D Wyness ( C McDonald 79 min), S Sutherland, S Urquhart . Substitutes not used D Niven, A McLeod, S Black, S Mathieson.
Referee Alan Newlands. Assistants K McMullen and P O’Neill