Annan vs Arbroath
Arbroath extended their lead at the top of the table courtesy of a superb strike from on loan Dundee player Dylan Carreiro in the 10th minute . It was the only goal that separated the teams in a match where Arbroath were the dominant team in the first half and they got their just reward with the Carreiro goal.
The second half was very much a different story with Annan taking the game to the visitors but they lacked the penetration up front to hurt Arbroath who’s well marshalled defence held firm to secure the victory that leaves Annan in a perilous position at the bottom half of the table where only 2 points separate 6 teams.
The wind which had battered the region relented prior to the kick off and Abroath made their intention clear pinning back the Annan defence, and their fans did not have long to wait before they struck gold when Carreiro picked the ball up and with time on his hands he drove forward to the centre of the 18 yard box, finishing with a superb strike which flew into the corner of the net.
Annan responded when Hopkirk’s effort was blocked. Annan won a free kick in the 17th minute from a promising position but Weatherson’s effort was blocked. Carreiro then was very unlucky not to score in the 21st minute when his well hit shot crashed off the crossbar, it was a lucky escape for Annan .
David Crawford pulled off a fine save to deny Steven Logan in the 33rd minute after Logan’s well struck shot looked to be heading for the corner of the net. The action then went to the other end of the park where Alex Mitchell pulled off a fine save to deny Simon Murray pushing his effort for a corner kick.
Annan made a promising start to the second half and with 54 minutes on the clock the Arbroath goal survived a miraculous escape when Hokirks low cross caused havock with shots from McNiff , Todd and Weatherson all being cleared off the line.
Annan were pushing hard for a goal but they lacked the penetration to unlock the well organised Arbroath defence. Logans net-bound shot in the 64th minute was blocked and Weatherson’s deft flick into the path of Hopkirk finished with Hopkirk rifling past the post from a narrow angle.
Arbroath were forced to make changes as they were very much on the back foot but their well organised defence were making it difficult for Annan. Stuart McColm was put in a promising position from a Hopkirk defence splitting pass but the shot was well saved by David Crawford.
As the game entered the final minutes Annan were denied by the woodwork when Weatherson’s well placed header beat the keeper but the ball struck the bar and was eventually cleared. It was the final action in a fine advert for the bottom tier of the League.
Annan boss Jim Chapman was disappointed not to have taken something form the match, “I thought the players deserved at least a share of the points tonight , they put in a lot of work in the second half and we only lacked a goal. That is our first quarter matches completed and to be honest there is very little between any of the teams and although we are at the wrong end of the table I am confident we have the ability in this group of players to lift ourselves up the league.”
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Steven Black, Iain Chisholm, , Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan, Josh Todd , Steven Logan (Rabine Omar 86 min), Peter Wetherson , David Hopkirk ( S Swinglehurst 80 min), Stuart McColm, Subs not used Jake Gemmel GK, Keiran Brannan, Matty Flynn, R McStay.
ARBROATH : David Crawford, Ricky Little, Scott McBride, Kevin Nicol, Aldin Elzubabi, Mark Whaetly, Bobby Linn, Keiran Stewart, Paul McManus ( Kevin Buchan 67 min), Simon Murray, Dylan Carreiro (Jordan Lowdan 74 min) . Substitutes Not used Michael Travis, Jonny Lindsay, Michael Wallace, Connor Birse, Scott Morrison GK.
REFEREE: Alan Newlands. Assistants Kylie McMullan and Drek Crothers Attendance 313