Annan v Queens Park
Annan have missed out on the play offs despite securing a fourth victory over Queens Park at Galabank on Saturday, the goal margin of only one goal however was not enough for Annan to progress and although they were the league’s top goal scorers by a mile their defensive record in comparison to the other teams in contention for promotion was arguably what ultimately cost Annan a playoff place and at the end of the day over the 36 games the league does not lie and Annan just failed to get over the finishing line.
It turned out to be a nerve racking game for the large following of Spiders Fans as they saw their team go a goal down to a 43rd minute deft Peter Weatherson header knowing that another goal would send them crashing out of the play offs at Annan’s expense. Annan probed looking for the vital second goal in the second half but the Queens Park defence stood firm with Ryan McGeever and Bryan Wharton at the centre of the Spiders defence in particular thwarting everything that Annan threw at them.
The first half was very even, Annan forced a corner in the opening minutes but Queens park responded with a Sean Burns effort minutes later . Wharton then headed narrowly over from a corner in the 5th minute as the visitors attacked the Annan goal.
The Spiders came to scoring again when Liam Brown finished a patient controlled build up in the 26th minute with a good effort which went narrowly past Jordan Hart’s left hand post. Annan conceded a free kick in a dangerous position when Watson upended Galt on the edge of the box but Liam Brown’s free kick was disappointing and the opportunity was lost.
Annan were finding it difficult to test Muir in the Queens Park goal and Queens on the other hand were creating half chances but like Annan failing to test keeper Hart. Connor McVey blasted over the bar in the 37th minute after the ball broke kindly for him on the edge of the box.
In the one moment of class in the first half Annan went ahead, the goal was created down the right and ended with Josh Todd picking out the ace goal scorer Peter Weatherson with a lovely cross and once again Weatherson managed to guide the ball into the corner of the net beyond the reach of keeper William Muir.
The goal gave Annan real hope playing into home end in the second half. It was however Queens who started the second half looking more like the team most likely to score with Duggan testing Hart early doors, at the other end Flynn sent in a low dangerous cross to the near post which Muir saved to avert a dangerous position. Hart pulled off a good save from a Brown effort in the 53rd minute. Josh Todd’s penetrating run down the left caused alarm in the Queens defence but the poor cross was disappointing but almost immediately Todd tested keeper Muir who pulled out a confident save to deny the striker.
Sean Burns came very close to squaring the game in the 57th minute when his well struck shot from outside the bow was heading for Harts to right hand corner but the Annan keeper was up to the task when he tipped the ball past for a corner kick.
Flynn’s free kick from the edge of the box in the 60th minute was a wasted opportunity from a dangerous position. Annan started to impose pressure on the Spiders defence and Todd was denied by a timely Wharton challenge in the 66th minute and from the resulting corner kick Black’s powerful header went narrowly over the bar. Annan had strong claims for a penalty kick turned down in the 70th minute and in the 80th minute they had a similar fate brushed aside by the referee as Wharton appeared to use his arm to deflect the ball away.
Joe Bradley tried his luck at the opposite end in the 81st minute followed by a Brown effort which Hart saved. Substitute Smart Osadolor’s run down the right ended when he cut inside the box the final shot barely tested Muir. Flynn missed a good opportunity when his shot from an excellent position was directed straight into the clutches of keeper William Muir.
Stuart McColm was introduced for the final 5 minutes as Annan went all out to secure the vital goal that would have taken them make to the play offs but Queens held tight and and can now look forward to a 2 leg play off against Cowdenbeath and in thhe other play off Elgin City play Clyde.
Annan came close but they now are committed to a mass exit of players from Galabank with Peter Weatherson and Ryan McStay leaving to take over the reigns at Shettleston Juniors, Matty Flynn and Jordan Hart along with Josh Todd all being chased to play at a higher level, in addition loan players Barry Cuddihy and Jack Breslin will return to their parent clubs it leaves whoever is in charge at Galabank next year with a big rebuilding job. The loss of Todd and Weatherson in particular will be massive holes for Annan to fill in terms of the goals they have scored for Annan this season and their presence on the park.
Annan have turned out some impressive performances during the season, they romped to the top of the league till the turn of the year but from there on in they have stuttered to the end of the season, the majority of players brought in in the January transfer window to strengthen the team did not work out as expected.
The current manager Jim Chapman is not everybody’s favourite at Galabank but he has done remarkably well with the budget at his disposal and possibly it could be argued that he built up aspirations that were beyond Annan’s reach. It looks like whoever is in charge next season at Galabank will have a big rebuilding job on his hands to produce a new team capable of competing at this level.
Edinburgh City have reached the final of the League Two play-off after defeating Cove Rangers 4-1 on aggregate over the 2 play-off matches and they now face East Stirlingshire in a two leg play off final over the next fortnight to decide who will be in the SPFL next Saturday.
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Jordan Hart, Steven Black, Steven Swinglehurst, Martin McNiff, Peter Watson ( Smart Osadolor 75 min), Barry Cuddihy, Jack Breslin, Mathew Flynn, Peter Weatherson, Josh Todd ,Steven Sloan ( Stuart McColm 85 min)SUBS NOT USED: Blair Currie, Ben Jago, , Ryan McStay, Liam Park.
QUEENS PARK :William Muir, Sean Burns, Craig McLeish, , Vincent Berry, Ryan McGeever, Bryan Wharton, Paul Woods, Liam Brown, Chris Duggan, Conor McVey, David Galt.(Joseph Bradley 61 min ). SUBS NOT USED: Connor O,Boyle, John Carter, Scott Gibson, James Batey, Gavin Mitchell, William Mortimer.
REFEREE: Gavin Duncan Assistants John McCrossan and Mark McHenry Crowd 640.