Arbroath FC v Annan Athletic FC
Annan lifted three precious points in a smash and grab act against title contenders Arbroath at Gayfield Park on Saturday. Defensively Annan have come in for a lot of stick but on Saturday they were solid with goalkeeper Blair Currie in particular in inspired form and proving to be a last line of defence that the Red Lichties could not penetrate.
Annan started with the team which finished against Elgin City and for the opening 10 minutes the match was evenly contested until Arbroath’s main tormentor all afternoon, Bobby Linn set up Steven Doris after Linn’s surging run to the bye line took him past the challenge of Callum Home to finish with a cut back into the path of Doris who turned Krissian inside the 6 yard box and finished with a low shot into the net from 4 yards.
It was just the start the home team wanted and they moved forward in search of more joy and Currie was soon called into action having to save McCords well struck effort. Annan were being forced to defend deep as the home team pushed forward, Doris headed over in the 17th minute and minutes later Annan were almost caught out by a quick free kick in the 21st minute but Currie denied Linn, smothering his well struck shot. Whatley blasted over the bar in the 24th minute after a good build up as the home team pinned Annan back.
Annan’s first real effort went close when Weatherson’s 25 yard effort went over the bar and minutes later Weatherson created an opening for Osadolor. Omar Kader’s 30th minute effort went past the post.
Annan made the breakthrough in the 39th minute and it was on loan signing Nathan Flanagan who created the opening when his penetrating run to the edge of the box ended with a quick 1-2 with Weatherson, and as Flannigan homed in on goal keeper Ricky Gomes, whos attempt to smother Flannigans effort resulted in the Annan player being fouled. The referee had no hesitation in awarding Annan a penalty and there was little dispute form the Arbroath players. Ex Lichtie Darren Ramsay converted the penalty to square the match.
Osadolor had a decent opportunity at the start of the second half when Weathersons header found the striker but Gomes averted the danger with a brave save at the feet of Osadolor. Annan were forced to make changes with Lucas suffering from a head knock and Osadolor being replaced by Max Wright.
Annan scored the winner in the 65th minute and it came from their only corner in the match when Raffi Krissian’s header from Darren Ramsay’s corner ended in the top corner of the net. It was a harsh reminder for the home team who created double figure corner kicks but could not create any clear openings.
Arbroath continued to push forward but Currie was inspirational pulling of several saves of note to deny Linn on 2 occasions and as the game entered the final minutes Ryan McCord was denied when Currie smothered his shot on the goal line.
It was an important victory for Annan after successive defeats at the hands of title contenders Forfar and Elgin City and keeps alive Annan’s chances of winning a play off place. Arbroath will no doubt reflect on an opportunity lost to keep the pressure on Forfar who defeated Edinburgh City by the only goal with City failing to score from the penalty spot. Cowdenbeath who have been relegated in successive seasons appear to be in a perilous position for the time being after going down to Montrose and Stirling Albion who have made mass signings in this transfer window are in a purple patch and will provide a stern test for Annan at Galabank on Saturday.
ARBROATH :Rickie Gommes, , David Gould, Jassem Suka ( Donald McCallum 81 min), Ricky Little, Colin Hamilton, Mark Whatley, Omar Kader (Josh Skelly 70 min), Ryan McCord, Steven Doris, Eddie Ferns (Martin Scott HT ), Bobby Linn . Subs not used Bryan Hodge, Gavin Mallin, Bryan Prunty, Cammy Gill.
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Blair Currie,Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas ( Aiden Smith 54 min), Raffii Krissian, Peter Watson, Gavin Skelton, Rabin Omar, Darren Ramsay, Peter Weatherson, Smart
Osadolor ( Max Wright 61 min), Nathan Flanagan ( David Mckenna 81 min). Substitute’s not used Pizemyslaw Dachnowicz, Tony Ribeiro, Alex Mitchell.
REFEREE : Scott Millar, Ivan Stankovic, George King