Elgin City vs Annan FC
Annan lifted three precious league points against lowly Elgin City to sustain their interest in the play off positions at the top of League 2. It was a game of 2 halves determined by the strong wind with Annan romping to a three goal half time lead and Elgin responding in the second half with two goals and making it an anxious period for Annan to see out the remainder of the match.
Annan started brightly with Andrew Mitchell first to show with a good effort from the edge of the box in the eighth minute. Elgin responded in the 11th minute when Allen McKenzie headed narrowly over the bar followed minutes later by a Sam Urquhart header. Annan carved open a glorious opportunity in the 20th minute when Andrew Mitchell whipped in an inviting cross for Kenny MacKay who just failed to connect with the cross. Annan continued to press forward and in the 24th minute Blair Henderson pulled out a good save from keeper Stewart Black and from the resulting corner kick Peter Watson had a clear chance to head Annan ahead but his effort went wide of the target.
The Galabankies opened their account in the 27th minute, Mitchell’s free kick was only half cleared but the ball fell invitingly for Ally Love who drove the ball into the corner of the net from 15 yards to give the keeper no chance. The goal gave Annan an advantage and 4 minutes later they doubled their lead. It was a well taken goal which came from a resulting corner kick which was initially well defended but the ball spun back out to Ally Love who floated a ball to the back post and Steven Swinglehurst powering in headed the ball into the top corner of the net .
It was a glorious spell for Annan and it continued , with 35 minutes on the clock Blair Henderson was quick to latch on to an Andrew Mitchell cross, and when he collected the ball he brushed aside a challenge to finish with a low shot into the corner of the net to give Annan a three goal interval cushion.
Playing against the wind in the second half it was Annan who should have added to their first half tally when first of all Blair Henderson had an opportunity in the 46th minute but with 55 minutes on the clock a long through ball split open the Elgin defence and Kenny MacKay was clean through on goal but somehow he slipped the ball past the keeper and the post and a golden opportunity was lost.
Elgin started to impose their authority on the game and with 60 minutes on the clock they were back in the match with a top class goal which was down to a superb piece of brilliance from Shane Sutherland who picked the ball up and cracked in a brilliant shot from the edge of the box which ended up in the net via the underside of the cross bar. The game took on a new dimension with Elgin pinning Annan deep into defence ,there were several moments of anguish for the home team with shots from Crighton and Sutherland going close before Paul Harkins reduced Annan’s lead to one goal in injury time. It was a well taken goal and scored in the second minute of injury time when Harkins low shot from the edge of the box ripped into the corner of the net past the despairing dive of Kenny Arthur.
With time running out for the home team they continued to press forward with Annan holding on for grim death until the referee finally blew for full time in the eighth minute of injury time.
Annan boss Jim Chapman conceded it was certainly a game if two halves.”We got ourselves into a very comfortable and deserved three goal lead, at the start of the second half we had two chances to put the game to bed but failed to do it and almost paid the price at the end against a very good footballing team who have just failed to make a remarkable come back . I must give credit to our defence who hung on to collect three massive points as we head towards the latter half of the season.”
Elgin City – S Black, G Beveridege ( C McLean ), G Finlayson, S Crighton, J Duff, P Harkins , G Gunn, S Urquhart (G Bayne 70 min), D Wyness, S Sutherland, A McKenzie( D McHardy 74 min), Substitutes not used -A McLeod, C McDonald, C Murray, R Jellema
Annan Athletic – K Arthur, I Chisholm , M McNiff, P Watson, S Swinglehurst, S Black, S Davidson (S Sloan 67 min), A Mitchell, K Mackay (D Orsi 95 min), B Henderson (J Todd 79 min), A Love . Substitutes not used- K Brannon, P Bradley, C Jardine, A Mitchell.
Referee John McKendrick Assistants Gary Hilland and Mark Ainslie