Elgin City FC v Annan Athletic FC
Elgin maintained their push for one of the play off places with a narrow victory over Annan at Borough Briggs on Saturday. Victory for the home team was secured in the first half but it was a half Annan will no doubt look back on with some regret after the black and golds were very much on the ascendancy particularly before Elgin scored against the run of play. Annan created two glorious chances in that opening spell but on both occasions failed to take advantage and it was the home team who took full advantage to romp to a three goal interval lead which left Annan a mountain to climb in the second half.
Manager Jim Chapman put his most recent signing Peter Weatherson straight into the starting line up and in the 9th minute it was Weatherson who surprisingly squandered the first real opportunity of the match when he dragged his shot wide of the upright from 10 yards. It was a real let off for the home team but three minutes later Annan squandered another golden opportunity to go ahead when Flanagan’s cross was headed back across the face of the 6 yard box but this time Max Wright was left holding his head in shame as he failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
They were 2 great scoring opportunities for Annan but as so often happens it was the home team who went ahead against the run of play in the 15th minute when a cross played in from the right was miss-kicked by Peter Watson and the looping high ball was perfectly timed by Brian Cameron who managed to climb higher than Annan keeper Blair Currie and the header ended up in the net.
It was just the pick up that Elgin were looking for and in the 26th minute Annan’s task was made more difficult after they found themselves two goals down. The goal was created down the right when Chris Dodd managed to evade the challenge of Jean Guy Lucas to cut the ball back into the path of Shane Sutherland who despatched the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Annans troubles were compounded in the 30th minute when Swinglehurst had to leave the field injured with a dead leg and within minutes of being replaced by Raffi Krissian, Annan had another close call when Krissian, attempting to play the ball out of defence, was dispossessed by Sutherland but fortunately for Annan he over run the ball with Currie able to pick up the through ball.
Elgin’s golden first half period was completed in the 40th minute after Sutherland rolled Krissian to play in Brian Cameron who slotted the ball past the advancing Blair Currie to give Elgin a three goal cushion.
Annan started the second half positively and within a minute they had a good opportunity to pull a goal back when Rabin Omar’s shot was parried by the keeper but McKenna failed to convert the rebound. Annan continued to take the game to Elgin and after Osadolar and Ramsay were introduced in the 57th minute the game took on a new dimension. Flanagan was looking menacing down the right and he sent in an inviting cross in the 65th minute which flashed across the face of goal and minutes later he set up Osadolor who headed narrowly past the post.
Annan were very much dictating the play and they finally made the breakthrough in the 70th minute when Weatherson marked his return with a goal as he prodded the ball over the line from 6 yards after the keeper failed to cut out the cross from Osadolor. It was just reward for Annan’s efforts, they continued to push forward and scored a second goal in the 83rd minute. Flanagan’s high cross was headed down by Weatherson into the path of Smart Osadolor who fired home from 6 yards.
It was an anxious end to the match for the home team who from a very comfortable position were all of a sudden holding on to a slender lead. Annan finished the match strongly and with another tough match against second placed Arbroath next Saturday it will be interesting to see what line up starts the match.
Annans still have an opportunity to make one of the play off places and that must be their target for the rest of the season, the recent signings of the experienced Gavin Skelton and Peter Weatherson is showing signs of promise and should increase their chances of this happening but there are still doubts on the defensive qualities needed to be able to maintain a challenge for the top places but if they are to succeed they will need to improve in this area as there are another seven teams all chasing the same target.
ELGIN CITY : Cammy Mackay, , Mathew Cooper , Archie McPhee, Darryl McHardy, Mark Nicholson, Thomas Reilly , Chris Dodd ( Jamie Reid 72 min), Brian Cameron, Chris McLeish ( Robbie Bruce 90 min), Shane Sutherland, Danniel Moore (Keirn Stewart 72 min). Subs not used : Craig Gunn, David Wilson, Mark Watters.Brian
ANNAN ATHLETIC: Blair Currie, Callum Home ,Jean Guy Lucas, Steven Swinglehurst ( Raffi Krissian 32 min), Peter Watson, Gavin Skelton, Rabin Omar, Peter Weatherson,, David McKenna ( Darren Ramsay 57 min), Max Wright ( Smart Osadolor 58 min), Nathan Flanagan . Subs not used : Alex Mitchell, Adam Ashgar , Premyslaw Dachnowicz, Aiden Smith.
REFEREE: Mike Roncorn. Assistants Alasdair Ross and Alex Shepherd .