Annan v Albion Rovers
Annan secured 3 precious league points with a late Josh Todd goal to end Albion Rovers fine 8 match unbeaten run and move them up to fifth in the table.
Annan started the game pressing from the opening kick off and in the opening minute David Hopkirk squandered a brilliant opportunity when he was clean through on goal but he shot straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy.
Annan’s fine start continued and in 8 minutes Hopkirk made amends for his earlier slip when he reacted first to Martin McNiff’s long throw in with the ball finding its way through a ruck of players to the striker who prodded the ball home from the corner of the 6 yard box.
Annan had Albion on the rack and in the 21st minute Hopkirk became the provider when he laid the ball on the head of Josh Todd who’s glancing header went narrowly over the bar. It was a let off for Albion who replied when John Gemmel’s 25 yard shot rifled over the bar in the 24th minute.
The game flowed from end to end and as half time approached Ross Dunlop headed narrowly past as Albion went all out to square the game.
Annan started the second half with a superb move which ended with Flynn cutting the ball back to Peter Weatherson who was denied by a brilliant one handed save from keeper Neil Parry. Minutes later Ryan McStay tried his luck from 25 yards but the shot was confidently saved by the keeper.
Ex Annan player Scott Chaplin was introduced at the expense of another ex Annan favourite Ally Love in the 57th minute and the further introduction of Mark McGuigan for Mullen for the first time in the game gave Albion the upper hand and it was Chaplin who set up Marc McKenzie in the 68th minute for a glorious chance but somehow Iain Chisholm managed to clear the ball off the goal line. It was a real let off for Annan.
The pressure was mounting on the Annan defence and in the 70th minute Scott Chaplin squared the game when he picked up Ross Davidson’s cross field ball to score from close range. The balance of play was now for the first time in the match very much with Albion Rovers .
Annan substituted Matty Flynn with striker Scott Davidson in an effort to get back in the game and for the final 10 minutes both teams prodded for openings until the 85th minute when Annan’s influential JoshTodd picked the ball up wide on the right and his no doubt intended cross caught keeper Neil Parry out of position with the ball floating agonisingly over his outstretched arms and into the roof of the net.
The late goal was well received by the Annan team and the 3 points were very welcome in what is a very well contested league both at the top and the bottom of the league.
Annan boss Jim Chapman was critical of the goal Annan lost , “we switched off from another set piece and were punished and all of a sudden we were having to work hard to stay in the game. We kept fighting away and worked hard and overall I think we edged the game over the 90 minutes. We face a crucial 10 day period which could make or break our season.”
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Steven Black, Iain Chisholm, Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan ,Matty Flynn ( Scott Davidson 73 min) ,Ryan McStay , Peter Weatherson, David Hopkirk; Josh Todd. SUBS NOT USED: Kieran Brannan, Steven Logan, Rabine Omar, Jordan Brown, Dan Wood, Craig Murray.
Annan goals – Hopkirk (8) Todd (85)
ALBION ROVERS : Neil Parry, Alan Reid, Ally Love (Scott Chaplin 57 min),Ross Davidson,Ross Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Marc McKenzie, Gary Fisher, John Gemmell, Josh Mullen (Mark McGuigan 67min),Gary Phillips (Liam Cusack 75 min). Substitutes not used Cieran Donnelly, Jamie Pollock, Keiran Hughes
Albion Rovers goals- Chaplain (70)
REFEREE: Craig Charleston. Assistants Graham Leslie and Donald Rome