East Fife vs Annan
Annan had to be content with a share of the points in a game they looked to be in control of, and at the end of the day they will no doubt look back on this game as a match they could and should have won against an East Fife team who looked nervous and uncommitted to winning the game.
Annan started the game forcing East Fife deep into their own half and then totally against the run of play East Fife went ahead in the 8th minute. The goal however was very much down to a bad mistake by Martin McNiff who did well to win the ball on the corner but his attempted clearance was picked up by Ross Campbell mid way in the Annan half and he set up Caolan McAleer who finished clinically with a looping shot from the edge of the box which nestled in over the head of Alex Mitchell.
It was a goal at a time in the match when Annan looked in complete control, but to their credit Annans attacking prowess continued and in the 26th minute they were unlucky not to equalise when Scott McColm finished off a good run with a low 20 yarder which cannoned off the base of the post much to the relief of keeper Allan Fleming who as well beaten. East Fife who had hardly been near the Annan goal then squandered a glorious opportunity when Ross Campbell skied the ball over the bar form a very promising position. It was a rare opportunity for the home side and one they would regret not converting.
At the other end of the pitch Annan were awarded a free kick 25 yards out but on this occasion Peter Weatherson’s free kick was blocked by the defensive wall. A minute later and David Hopkirk came close with his shot slipping past the post. At the other end of the park Annan breathed a huge sigh of relief when a spectacular Caolan McAleer effort cannoned off the outside of the post. It was a lucky escape for Annan but on the balance of play it was a break in the match that they deserved. East Fife pushed hard towards the end of the half but their attacking play was well contained by the Annan defence.
East Fife started the second half on the attack and Alex Mitchell had to be on his toes to deal with a Jon McShane effort. Scott McColm’s low shot in th 48th minute flashed past the post as Annan picked up the momentum of the game. Steven Logan’s cross was then deflected for a corner in the 54th minute from which David Hopkirk’s shot was blocked.
Annan had strong claims for a penalty dismissed in the 57th minute when Hopkirk went down under a challenge from Liam Smith. Minutes later Hopkirk was one on one with keeper Allan Fleming but it was the big keeper who came out tops depriving the Annan striker with an important save. East Fife were being forced to defend with most of Annan’s attacking play being directed down the right flank with Hokirk and Todd combining well to set the alarm bells ringing in the East Fife defence. Ross Campbell was replaced by Nathan Austin in the 73rd minute as East Fife attempted to stifle the Annan superior midfield grip on the game .
Annan eqaulised in the 77th minute it was a simple goal in the making and one which left question marks on the East Fife defence after McNiff’s long throw in was chested down by Peter Weatherson to set him up with a strike into the roof of the net from the edge of the 6 yard box. It was the Annan striker’s fourth goal in 4 starts since returning form injury and it was just reward for Annan’s second half dominance.
Annan introduced striker Scott Davidson for the injured Stuart McColm and East Fife replaced goal scorer Caolan McAleer with James Beaton in the 79th and 80th minutes . Chances were few and far between in the final 10 minutes with neither keeper being seriously tested.
EAST FIFE : Allan Fleming, Fraser Mullen, Liam Smith, Stevie Campbell, Jonathan Page, Allan Walker, Caolan McAleer ( James Beaton 80 min), Ross Brown, John McShane, Ross Campbell (Nathan Austin 73 min). Substitutes not used Jordan Miller GK, , David Maskrey, Daryl Falconer .
Goalscorer- Caolan McAleer
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Alex Mitchell, Steven Black, Iain Chisholm, Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Ryan McStay (S Sloan 66min), Josh Todd ( R Omar 87 min), Steven Logan , Peter Wetherson , David Hopkirk, Stuart McColm ( Scott Davidson 79 min) Subs not used Jake Gemmel GK, Keiran Brannan, Matty Flynn, Steven Swinglehurst.
Goalscorer- Peter Weatherson
REFEREE: David Munro. Assistants Alistair Ross and Chris McTieran