Annan vs Kilmarnock
Annan Athletic’s pre season build up came to an end at Galabank on Saturday with the visit of Premier League Kilmarnock. Prior to the match Annan boss Jim Chapman added ex Newcastle United player Steven Logan to his squad as he endeavours to put the final touches to a squad together capable of giving Annan a chance of competing at the top of SPFL 2.
Second half goals from Craig Slater and Josh Magennis handed Kilmarnock the victory and the match provided an opportunity for Killie to get used to playing on a 3G surface and also gave travelling supporters a chance to cast an eye over all of the six summer signings.
Four of those signings were involved from the start as Allan Johnston set his side out in a 4-4-2 formation. Mark Connolly formed a partnership with Manuel Pascali in the centre of defence and looked impressive throughout winning more than his fair share of balls in the air at both ends of the park.
Jamie Hamill started in midfield alongside Craig Slater and dictated the play well during Kilmarnock’s best spells of the match. Tope Obadeyi started on the left wing and showed a willingness to take players on at pace and the final new signing to start the match was Lee Miller who carried a good presence and started up front alongside Rory McKenzie.
Despite all of the new talent on show it was Chris Johnston who was at the heart of most of the good things that Kilmarnock done even from an early stage in the match.
Kilmarnock dominated the first half possession wise with Annan defending well and limiting Killie to few scoring opportunities. After 5 minutes Johnston whipped in a corner which Miller rose well to get on the end of only to see his header saved by Alex Mitchell.
Moments later Johnston showed great close control to surge in off the right flank before hitting a powerful strike off the crossbar from 25 yards.
After that bright start the game began to get a bit scrappy and Killie struggled to create any real chances for a period of time which allowed Annan to construct an attack of their own when Chisholm whipped in a glorious cross to pick out the unmarked Peter Bradley whos volley failed to hit the target.
Both teams opted not to make any changes at the break but after Annan enjoyed their best spell of the match a couple of changes were made. Magennis replaced Miller and Cairney replaced Obadeyi in the 64th minute and it didn’t take too long for the subsitutes to make an impact. In the 67th minute Hamill hit a powerful strike towards goal which produced an excellent save from Mitchell. Annan brought on Davidson, Carcary and Sloan for Hopkirk, Todd and Logan in the 70th minute and within a minute Killie took the lead with an excellent move, Paul Cairney jinked his way into the box with a clever nutmeg before cutting the ball back to Slater who found the back of the net from 12 yards.
The lead was doubled in the 78th minute when Magennis got on the end of an excellent cross from Barbour to head the ball past the keeper from 10 yards.
Annan boss Jim Chapman was more than satisfied with his pre season build up, “we have managed to give the majority of our players valuable game time against some very good teams and we have sustained no major injuries, We are ready for what the season throws at us starting with Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle on Saturday which should be an encounter that the players and fans will enjoy. We then face another institution in the Scottish game, Dunfermline in the League Cup before we embark on our main target the SPFL 2 Title at Albion Rovers, it is a tough start but one we have prepared well for.”
Annan Athletic – A Michell ( R Hyslop 75 min) , I Chisholm, P Bradley, P Watson, S Swinglehurst ( D Wadge 86 min), S Black (C Liddell 81 min),S Logan (S Davidson 70 min), M Flynn (M McAnespie 86 min), J Todd (S Davidson 70 min), D Hopkirk (D Carcary 70 min), R McStay (G Anderson 75 min)
Kilmarnock : C Samson, R Barbour, J Hamill, M Connolly,R McKenzie, L Miller (J Magennis), C Johnson, Trialist, T Obadeyi (P Cairney,64, C Slater, M Pascali. Unused Subs: C Brennan, Trialist, L Ashcroft, R Davidson, M O’Hara, Trialist,G Kiltie, R Muirhead.
Kilmarnock goalscorers – C Slater 71min. J Magnennis 80min
Referee A Dallas Assistants J McCrossan and P O’Neil.