Edinburgh City v Annan Athletic
Annan’s poor results from the start of this year continued as the team slumped to their sixth successive defeat at the hands of title chasing Edinburgh City, who secured victory to maintain their interest at the top of the table, with Cove Rangers slipping up at Elgin City. It was however not a day for playing football with the ever increasing wind posing problems for both teams but it was the home team who adapted better to the conditions and deserved to lift the points.
Manager Peter Murphy rung in five changes to the Annan line up with Alex Mitchell making his return between the sticks, recent signings Cameron Clark and Michael Hewitt took up the wide berths in midfield and Sonkur, Watson and Swinglehurst made up the back three Mark Docherty and Jordan Holt started in mid field, Flanagan started up front alongside Muir and Nade but the changes made little difference to the outcome with Annan eventually going down 3-0.
City went ahead in the 17th minute after referee Steven Kirkland awarded the home team a penalty kick after Swinglehurst and Liam Henderson tussled for the ball on the 18 yards line it appeared a controversial decision and it appeared as if Henderson grabbed Swinglehurst round the nick and pulled both players to the ground. The referee however was well placed to award the penalty and Danny Handling stepped up and converted the spot kick, it was the rub of the green that gave City the advantage in a half that did not produce too many openings.
Cameron Clark had a great opportunity to get his name on the score sheet with a debut goal when he worked his way into a promising position in the 36th minute but the defender blasted over the bar. It was Annan who looked the more likely team to score as the half edged towards half time , Nathan Flanagan’s 39th minute effort missed the target. City conceded a corner as the match entered stoppage time and Swinglehurst’s header was cleared off the goal line.
The second half saw the conditions deteriorate with the wind favouring the home team and for the opening 15 minutes Edinburgh City put pressure on Annan but without creating anything. Annan’s Nathan Flanagan tested Kelby Mason in the 58th minute. Annan keeper Alex Mitchell then pulled off a stunning save after Ayrton Sonkur’s poor defending set up an opportunity for Blair Henderson.
Edinburgh City doubled their lead a minute later when Daniel Harding struck a low shot from the edge of the box it was a well directed shot which gave Mitchell no chance with the ball nesting in the bottom corner of the net.
Annan’s chances of turning the match around were slim and the final nail in the coffin arrived in the 3rd minute if injury time when City were awarded a free kick 40 yards out and Jordan Sinclair’s effort was only palmed by Mitchell straight to the awaiting Liam Henderson who had the simple task of slipping the ball into the empty net.
The defeat leaves Annan in a precarious position and with Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers picking up points it puts added pressure on Annan trying to stop their decline from the top half of the division to the bottom half of the league.
EDINBURGH CITY – Kelby Mason, Craig Thomson , Callum Crane , Kris Kane, Liam Henderson , Mark Laird ( Graeme Holmes 73 min ) ,Danny Handling, Jordan Sinclair, Blair Henderson, Grant Savoury ( Liam Brown 83 min ), Jonathan Court ( Robbie McIntyre 86 min ). Subs not used . Dean Beveridge GK, Aidan Wilson, Matthew Shaw.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Alex Mitchell , Michael Hewitt, Ayrton Sonkur, Steven Swinglehurst, Cameron Clark, Mark Docherty, Nathan Flanagan, Jordan Holt, Peter Watson, Christain Nade (Lewis McLear 74 min ) , Tommy Muir. ( Christain Nade 60 min ), Steven Swinglehurst, Scott McLean, Kyle Wilkie, Tommy Muir , Broque Watson ( Ayrton Sonkur 20 min ), Nathan Flanagan. Subs not used Lyle Avci, Kyle Bradley, Niyah Joseph , Jamie Ballantyne, Niyah Joseph.
Referee- Steven Kirkland.
Elgin City gave their play off hopes a major boost defeating top of the table Cove Rangers 3-0 , Queens Park kept their play off hopes alive with a 3-1 victory at Stirling Albion. Albion Rovers defeated Brechin City 4-1 a result which leaves Brechin City firmly rooted at the bottom of the table. Stenhousemuir and Cowdenbeath had to be content with a share if the points in a 2-2 draw at Ochilview. The big news coming out of the SPFL2 this week was that Queens Park are going full time and they are already signing players on 18 month full time contracts the most recent being Cammy Bell in an effort to make the play off positions this week.
Next Saturday Annan travel to Brechin City in a match where two teams are battling to turn their seasons around.