Annan vs Montrose
Annan Athletic followed up their five goal bonanza at Elgin with another bumper goal feast in front of their own fans but once again their defensive frailties ensured the fans witnessed a roller coaster of a game with Annan scoring the winner in the dying minutes, a victory which ensured Annan finished in fifth place just outside the final play off place which East Fife secured after a 3-1 victory over Elgin City.
It was a miserable cold wet May day and with Montrose already confined to the play off place there was not a lot to play for by the basement boys but the match turned out to be a keenly contested match with Montrose displaying a great appetite for the game and showing more than enough that they are in good shape for their forthcoming play off match against play off winners Brora Rangers.
Montrose were unlucky not to go ahead in the 15th minute when Steven Sloan came to Annan’s rescue clearing Ewan Moyes net-bound header off the goal line when he connected with a Scott Johnston corner kick. Annan had to defend their goal as the Links Park side forced another couple of corners before Annan went ahead in the 18th minute.
It was a well worked goal created on the edge of the Montrose penalty area, with Josh Todd spinning his marker to square the ball up for Peter Weatherson who guided the ball low and hard into the net past Stuart McKenzie from 15 yards.
It was a set back for Montrose but within a minute Garry Wood’s net-bound effort from fully 30 yards was tipped over the bar by Alex Mitchell. Minutes later and Annan doubled their lead when the Todd Weatherson duo once again combined in an almost identical position as their earlier goal with the same outcome a clinical low shot from Weatherson into the corner of the net to bring the Annan striker’s league goal tally to twenty two for the season.
Mitchell pulled off a fine save to tip Woods effort over the bar as Montrose tried to get back into the game and from the resulting corner kick Campbell hooked the ball over the bar from a promising position.
Annan with a two goal interval lead started the second half promisingly with Weatherson being denied a hat trick by an impressive McKenzie save in the 47th minute. Annan were playing some inventive close passing football which had the visitors on the back foot, Steven Black let loose with a 25 yarder which whizzed past the post in the 50th minute.
Montrose withstood the pressure and started to take the game to Annan an in the 60th minute the visitors pulled a goal back when Ross Campbell set up Gary Wood to slot the ball into the net from 6 yards.
Andrew Mitchell at the other end sent in a fierce shot which went narrowly over the bar. Annan increased their lead to 3-1 in the 65th minute, the goal started with Alex Mitchell’s clearance down the right being picked up by Weatherson who hit the bye line before cutting the ball back to on loan Rangers striker Junior Ogen who finished the move off with a well directed shot into the corner of the net.
Andrew Mitchell missed a golden opportunity to add to Annan’s goal tally when he homed in on goal after a fine move down the right had carved open the Montrose defence but disappointingly his shot over the bar never tested McKenzie. Montrose replied when Campbell tested Mitchell with a low shot which the Annan keeper turned round the post for a corner kick.
Montrose made changes and they reaped their rewards in the 80th minute but it was a goal the Annan defence will look back on with some anguish after they failed to deal with a cross ball and the high swirling ball fell on top of a group of players with Liam McIntosh being attributed to getting the final touch on the ball to reduce the lea-way to one goal.
The goal gave Montrose the incentive and within 2 minutes they were level after Ross Campbell finished with a superb low shot from 15 yards which flew into the corner of the net through a ruck of players.
Annan however had the final say in this highly entertaining game in the 86th minute when Andrew Mitchell’s penetrating cross from the right to the back post was headed back across the keeper and into the roof of the net by a well directed Martin McNiff header.
It was the final action in a great advert for the League by teams in contrasting positions but there was more than enough evidence on display by Montrose to suggest that they are in good shape for the two play off matches against Brora Rangers.
Annan finished the season well in a respectable 5th place in the league but their inconsistency has dogged them all season and manager Jim Chapman knows that there is some fine tuning to be done in the close season in an effort for Annan to improve next season.
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Steven Black, Steven Swinglehurst , Martin McNiff (Rabine Omar 87 min), Peter Watson, Steven Sloan ( Matty Flynn 87 min), Andrew Mitchell, Ryan McStay, Peter Weatherson, Josh Todd, Junior Ogen . Subs not used Jake Gemmel GK, Jamie Johnstone, Connor Liddell, Steven Logan, Daniel Wadge.
Goals- Weatherson (18, 22) J Ogen (65) M McNiff (86)
MONTROSE . Stuart McKenzie, Greg Cameron, Andrew Steeves, Ross McCord ( Terry Mason 73 min),Ewan Moyes (Ross Graham 51 min), Paul Watson, Scott Johnston (Leighton McIntosh 62 min), Graham Webster, Gary Wood, Declan Milne, Ross Campbell . Subs not used Jordan Allan,Craig Johnstone,Stephen O’Neill, John McCafferty GK.
Goals- Wood (60) L McIntosh (80) R Campbell (82)
REFEREE: Kevin Graham. Assistants Mark McLean and Duncan Williams