Cowdenbeath FC v Annan Athletic FC
Annan Athletic FC travelled to Central Park Cowdenbeath, the ground where their sfl league adventure started but this time they had to be content with a draw in a game very much of two halves. Annan were well on top in the first period and they coasted into a 2 goal lead before Cowdenbeath upped the stakes in the second half to score 2 goals and wipe out Annan’s lead. In the end neither team did enough to win the match but it is not the first time this season that Annan have blown a 2 goal lead.
Annan started the game with the same eleven which lifted the points at Elgin and at the end of the first half it looked very much like Annan were about to lift all the points again after going 2 goals ahead but Cowdenbeath who had rarely troubled Annan in the first period came alive in the second half and were very much on the back foot for the majority of the second half and the home team were rewarded with 2 goals to cancel out Annan’s half time advantage.
The match was played on a wet miserable day and Annan started very promisingly, in the 16th minute they created the first clear cut scoring chance when David McKenna laid the ball off to on loan striker Aiden Smith who’s well struck shot went agonisingly past the post. It was a scoring opportunity missed but a minute later David McGurn was taking the ball out from the back of the net after Barry Cuddihy’s volley from the edge of the box nestled in the bottom corner of the net past the outstretched arm of keeper David McGurn. The goal was a consequence of a free kick which Annan won 20 yards out and although Finnie’s free kick was blocked Cuddihy pounced on the rebound.
Cowdenbeath were seldom seen as an attacking force but they forced their first corner in the 30th minute which ended with Jamie Piper heading over the bar. A minute later Annan forced a corner at the other end ending with a Stephen Black header which went over the bar.
Annan doubled their lead in the 40th minute after Aiden Smith reacted to some dreadful defending from a Cowdenbeath throw in , Smiths pace saw him win the ball wide on the right before cutting the ball back into the path of David McKenna who guided the ball into the net from 8 yards.
Cowdenbeath had shown very little in the opening half to trouble Annan but they started the second half very much on the front foot and within 5 minutes they were right back in the game when they pulled a goal back and the game took on a new dimension. The goal was created wide on the right by Fraser Mullen who had plenty of space and his cross was powerfully headed into the net by Kyle Miller from 10 yards.
Annan were being forced to defend as the home team pushed forward in an effort to square the game. Miller then came close minutes later when his well struck shot flashed past the post. Annan were getting stretched and Mullen’s corner in the 60th minute was headed narrowly past by Sieves.
Annan found it difficult to stop the momentum of the home team and in the 70th minute they had a let off when Kris Renton’s shot cannoned off the outside of the post. Annan looked to have got over the danger when substitute Nickolay Todorov squared the game. The goal was a result of a high ball played into the centre of the Annan defence and Kyle Miller was thwarted by Currie in the Annan goal but the ball broke kindly for Todorov who volleyed the ball into the roof of the net from 15 yards .
Annan finished the game on the attack and the best opportunity came late on when a ball swung over from right to left picked out Aiden Smith who directed his low shot just wide of the keepers left hand post.
With the first quarter of the league now completed it is worth reflecting on Annan’s progress to date, they have lost 2 games drawn 4 and won 3 and currently sit mid table. There is very little between the teams in the league although it would be fair to say that the teams currently occupying the top 4 places even this early in the season were the bookmakers favourites to win the play off places. There is an optimism that the current crop of players at Annan will get better as the season progresses, only time will tell. Edinburgh City occupy the bottom place at the moment which is surprising as they looked a very competent team at Galabank but City will need to pick up at least 4 victories in the second quarter games to take the pressure off them in the second half of the league.
COWDENBEATH : David McGurn, Fraser Mullen, Craig Sives, Kyle Miller, Burton O’Brien, Gary Kelly (Aaron Murrell 68 min), Kris Renton (Nickolay Todrov 73 min), Shaun Rutherford, Gerry McLauchlan, Brian Ross, Jamie Piper. Subs not used : Jamie Sneddon GK, Dean Brett, David Robertson, James Creaney, Cameron Muirhead.
Cowdenbeath Goals- Miller (51) Todorov (81)
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Blair Currie, Steven Black, Steven Swinglehurst, Ryan Sinnamon, Peter Watson, Barry Cuddihy, Rabin Omar, Ryan Finnie, David McKenna (Jean Guy Lucas 86min), Aiden Smith, Darren Ramsay ( Max Wright 58 min). Subs not used : Alex Mitchell, Adam Ashgar, Aaron Bradbury, Raffi Krissian, Stephen Bronsky.
Annan Goals- Cuddihy (22) McKenna (37)
REFEREE: Matt Northcroft. ASSISTANTS Stephen Mitchell and George Calder.