Arbroath vs Annan
Arbroath maintained their position at the top of the league with what turned out to be a narrow but deserved victory over Annan at a windswept Gayfield park on Saturday. The home team playing against a strong wind in the first half went ahead in the 16th minute of the first half and 2 second half goals within 2 minutes in the 56th and 58th minutes gave the home team a comfortable lead before Annan clawed back two goals to leave Arbroath happy to here the final whistle.
Annan won the toss and elected to play with the strong wind in their favour .The opening exchanges were fairly even but it was Arbroath who got the important break in the 16th minute when a fortunate Bobby Linn low cross was deflected off the foot of Peter Watson and into the net past the helpless Alex Mitchell. It was a lucky but decisive moment in the match which gave the home team the edge.
Minutes later Annan were presented with an opportunity when they were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Weatherson’s effort was saved but Flynn’s follow up was disappointing. Annan had a real let off minutes later when Adam Hunter played in Simon Murray who was clean through on goal but the final effort was disappointing and did not really test Alex Mitchell.
Annan lost the services of the injured David Hopkirk in the 30th minute with Scott Davidson deputising for the injured Annan player. Peter Weatherson squandered an opportunity in the 34th minute when Davidson played the Annan striker into a scoring opportunity . Watson was booked in the 38th minute for a foul on Jack Smith. Playing with the wind Annan did not do enough in the first half to trouble the Arbroath defence and keeper Marc McCallum was rarely troubled by the inept Annan attack.
Alistair Mitchell was rarely called upon in the first half but at the start of the second half the Annan keeper had to be on his toes to deny Jack Smith in the 46th minute and minutes later the same player was clean through on goal only to be denied by a good save from the Annan stopper.
Annan’s Steven Black got caught out by the wind in the 56th minute and it lead to a Goal after a long ball fell invitingly for Jack Smith who picked up the ball and slipped it past Alex Mitchell from the penalty spot to push Abroath into a comfortable two goal lead.
Annan’s chances looked slim but 2 minutes later they were faced with a mammoth task when Dylan Carreiro scored the goal of the match , the on loan Dundee striker cut in from the left going past three challenges and finishing with a curling 10 yard shot and into the net.
It was game over as far as Annan were concerned but they continued to show good determination and in the 79th minute Annan pulled a goal back when they awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after Martin McNiff was brought down on the edge of the box. Ryan McStay’s well struck free kick took a deflection off the wall and gave Annan a well deserved break in the game.
Annan then had a let off when Bobby Linn’s effort minutes later whipped past the post. Annan had thje final say in the game with a well worked goal when Josh Todd pulled the ball down from the air to finish with a pass into the feet of Scott Davidson who cut inside from the right eluding a couple of tackles before finishing with a curling shot from 15 yards which beat keeper Marc McCallum.
It was a late fight back from Annan who for the first time in the match had Arbroath on the back foot but they had left themselves with too much to do and the victory reinforced that Arbroath are the team who the rest will have to beat if they have any intentions of winning the league.
ARBROATH : Marc McCallum, Ricky Little, Craig Johnstone, Kevin Nicol, Aldin Elzubabi, Mark Whaetly, Bobby Linn, Adam Hunter,Jack Smith( Kevin McManus 72 min) , Simon Murray ( Pail McManus), Dylan Carreiro (Jordan Lowdan 71 min) . Substitutes Not used Scott McBride, Johnny Lindsey, Scott Morrisonn
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Steven Black, Iain Chisholm, Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan ,Matty Flynn ( Kieran Brannon 50 min) ,Ryan McStay , Peter Weatherson ( Steven Swiglehurst 65 min), David Hopkirk ( Scott Davidson 30 min); Josh Todd. SUBS NOT USED: Steven Logan, Rabine Omar, Stuart McClolm, Craig Murray GK.
REFEREE: Steven Kirkland. Assistants Dougie Potter and Evan Cairns Attendance 577