Berwick Rangers v Annan Athletic
Annan lost further ground at the top half of the table at Shielfield Park on Wednesday evening against ten man Berwick who’s fine victory pushes them away from the bottom of the table. The Annan line up showed changes from the side which drew with Montrose on Saturday with starting places being given to Peter Watson and Rabin Omar with Matty Flynn missing from the line up.
The game had an enforced 15 minute delay due to the Annan bus being delayed due to an overturned lorry on the road leading to a detour for the Annan bus. Annan kicked off playing up the slope with Kevin Nicoll playing in front of a back 3 of Watson, Gilfillan and McNiff. It was Annan who created the first real scoring opportunity inside 3 minutes when an inviting ball played across the face of the Berwick goal found Lewis Guy but somehow the striker failed to connect and a golden opportunity was lost.
Annan had a lucky escape in the 14th minute when Watsons back header was intercepted by Callum Crane who shot over the bar from a promising position. Watson then averted a dangerous situation when he forced Lavery wide after the striker won his way into a promising position. Lavery then waltzed past a couple of challenges in the 30th minute but his effort was blocked and the danger averted.
Berwick opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when Darren Lavery set up Blair Henderson who slammed the ball into the rood of the net after Lavery created the opening with a penetrating run cutting in from the right. Osadolor tried a speculative effort in the 38th minute which was well wide of the target. The Borderers doubled their lead in the 43rd minute from the penalty spot when Michael McKenna’s surging run into the box from just inside the Annan half invited a challenge form Martin McNiff and the referee pointed to the spot as McKenna crashed to the ground, Darren Lavery converted to give Berwick a two goal interval lead.
Annan started the second half with Stuart McColm replacing Jordan Morton wide on the left and Nicoll being moved back into a back four. Annan started promisingly playing down the wind assisted slope and in the 51st minute keeper Kevin Walker rushed from his line to stop Josh Todd who was homing in on goal and the collision just outside the box saw Walker given a straight red card and Annan were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Ryan McStay’s well struck low free kick went through the gap in the wall and into the net to give Annan a foothold in the match.
Josh Todd’s 56th minute effort floated over the bar as Annan looked to square the match. At the other end Annan had a lucky escape when Brian Martin’s 25 yard free kick cannoned off the top of the cross bar with keeper Currie well beaten. It was however Annan who were doing the bulk of the pressing but the Berwick defence were coping well with everything that Annan could throw at them.
As the game entered the final 5 minutes of normal time Stuart McColm ‘s dangerous cross to the back post was scrambled off the goal line as Annan went all out to secure a point however it was Berwick who struck again in the 89th minute when Blair Henderson cut in from the left to set up Alan Walker slotted home to put the game out of Annan’s reach.
Annan responded in the 92nd minute when Staurt McColm’s low 20 yard shot following a corner kick flew into the bottom corner of the net.
Annan are on a bad run of form of late and it continued on Tuesday evening and for them to have any chance of at least making the play off positions they must start putting a run of results together. They face East Stirlingshire on Saturday in a match which takes on even greater importance.
BERWICK RANGERS :Kevin Walker ( Mark Walters 51 min), Ewan McNeil, Callum Crane, Steven Notman , Robert Wilson, Jonny Fairbairn, Darren Lavery (Dylan Stevenson 85 min), Alan Walker, Michael McKenna, Blair Henderson (Sandy Cunningham 90 min ), Brian Martin. SUBS NOT USED: Dwayne Coultress, David Morris, Finn Graham.
Berwick Goals- Henderson (32) Lavery (43) Walker (89)
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Blair Currie, Peter Watson, Bryan Gilfillan, Martin McNiff, Kevin Nicoll, Ryan McStay, Smart Osadolor, Rabin Omar , Lewis Guy ( Liam Park 75 min), Josh Todd, Jordan Morton ( Scott McColm ht ). SUBS NOT USED: Jordan Hart GK , Peter Weatherson, Scott Norman, Steven Sloan.
Annan Goals- McStay (53) McColm (90)
REFEREE: David Munro . Assistants Duncan Smith and Colin Whyte