Cowdenbeath v Annan Athletic
Annan Athletic failed to follow up their fine victory the previous week over Queens Park with a defeat at the hands of third placed Cowdenbeath. Annan never got to grips with the wet miserable conditions in a poor first half which saw them conceded 3 goals to face a mighty uphill task in the second half especially after having to suffer the sending off of Christian Nade in the 40th minute for violent conduct.
However in a much improved second half Annan finally put pressure on the home team to pull a goal back in the 70th minute through an Ayrton Sonkur header which gave Annan a glimmer of hope but it was all too late and although the Cowdenbeath goal survived a couple of late scares the home team were well worth their victory.
Cowdenbeath started well playing with the wind and rail in their favour and in the 2nd minute Micky Herd’s effort pulled out a good save from Chris Smith. After a period of pressure on the Annan defence the opening goal arrived in the 17th minute when Cowdenbeath were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Fraser Mullen’s well directed free kick picked out the alert on loan Heart of Midlothian player Connor Smith who directed his shot through a ruck of players and into the net. It was a well taken goal from the man of the match.
The home team continued to dictate the flow of the play and it came as no surprise when the doubled their lead in the 30th minute after Connor Smith disposed Jamie Ballantyne on the right to finish with a low cross which keeper Chris Smith spilled and the ball fell kindly for David Cox who had the simple task of prodding the ball over the line from 5 yards.
Jamie Todd made a bad challenge on Christain Nade in the 40th minute which brought out a reaction from the Annan player, a melee ensued and Nade was sent off for violent conduct which appeared harsh but the referee was well placed to make the decision.
Annan’s first half misery was completed in injury time when Mickie Herd connected with a loose ball inside the 6 yard box to give Cowdebeath a comfortable three goal advantage.
The second half was more evenly contested with Annan working hard to make the breakthrough but it took a decent save from Chris Smith to deny Kyle Miller in the 65th minute which maintained Annan’s slim chances of a comeback on the cards. 4 minutes later Annan made the breakthrough following a corner kick when Ayrton Sonkur headed home from close range to give Annan a glimmer of hope.
Annan’s frustrations were evident with yellow cards being shown to Douglas, McLean and then keeper Smith. Connor Smith was then shown a yellow card for simulating a dive when challenged by the Annan keeper in the 85th minute when it looked like the home team would be awarded a penalty kick but once again the referee was well placed to award the decision.
Annan pressed hard in the dying minutes and a Scott McLean free kick was spilled by the trialist keeper who was fortunate no one was at hand to follow up and almost immediately the keeper denied Nathan Flanagan tipping his well placed shot over the bar.
COWDENBEATH – Trialist , Fraser Mullen, Harvey Swan, Jamie Todd, Jamie Pyper, Kyle Miller, David Cox, Michael Herd, Jordan Allan (Craig Barr 90 min), Connor Smith , Robbie Buchannan, Subs not used Euan Valentine, Kyle Sneddon, Archie Thomas, Macallan White GK, Ross Pollock, Jacob Glass.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Chris Smith, Matty Douglas, Jamie Ballantyne (Lewis McLear 62 min ), Kyle Bradley, Ayrton Sonkur, Darren Barr , Kyle Wilkie , Tommy Muir, Brough Watson (Scott McLean ht ), Nathan Flannigan, Christain Nade . Subs not used Lyle Avic, Niyah Joseph ,Russell Currie, Jamie Walker , Jordan Holt.
Referee. Scott Lambie. Assistants – Graham Chambers and Cameron Telfer
Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City continue to set the pace at the top of the league Cove Rangers defeated Brechin City 5 -1 and Edinburgh City had a good 1-0 victory over Elgin City to remain 2 points behind the title favourites. Stirling Albion moved into 5th place only 4 points behind Annan with a convincing 3-0 victory over Albion Rovers. Queens Park under new manager Ray McKinnon defeated Stenhousemuir 2-1 at the National Stadium a defeat which now leaves the Ochiview side only 2 points above Brechin City at the bottom of the league.
Next Saturday Annan face a crucial home match against Elgin City at Galabank kick off 3-00pm this is followed up by another home match against Stirling Albion the following Saturday , 2 matches which will go a long way to establishing if Annan can make the play off places against the 2 teams hard on Annan’s tails.