Elgin City vs Annan FC
FIVE GOAL THRILLER
Annan Athletic came from behind for the first time this season to clinch victory with an injury time winner in a nail biting encounter at Borough Briggs to bring to halt Elgin’s impressive seven match unbeaten league run. Kenny Mackay followed up his 4 goal escapade against Greenock Morton Reserves in midweek with a place in the starting eleven and it was Mackay who repaid the faith shown in him by the manager by scoring the winner in the first of five added minutes of extra time.
Elgin got off to a flier scoring in the 5th minute with a well constructed goal when Shane Sutherland made a great run to the bye line finishing with a low cross into the penalty area with Craig Gunn finishing off the move by tapping the ball into the net from three yards. It was a real blow to Annan’s hopes and the home team backed by a large vociferous home support continued to take the game to Annan. Elgin increased their lead in the 16th minute and the goal was all down to the good work of Brian Cameron, he won the ball on the edge of the box and the impressive Elgin man finished with a low crisp shot through a ruck of players into the corner of the net past the despairing dive of Kenny Arthur. Elgin’s purple patch continued and Gunn went close in the 21st minute when his low effort tested Arthur. It was all Elgin at this stage with Annan having to work very hard to contain the fluent Elgin attack. Cameron came close when he finished off a well worked move by the home team with a shot which flashed past the upright. Shane Sutherland could consider himself unlucky when his shot flashed over the cross bar in the 30th minute and after having to endure an uncomfortable period Annan became more of a threat and in the 33rd minute they got a foothold on the game. Keiran Brannan won a free kick wide on the right and the same player whipped in a near post cross and Peter Weatherson in what appeared to be a pre planned training routine nipped in at the near post to head the ball into the corner of the net past the static Elgin defenders.
If the first half belonged to Elgin the second period belonged to Annan who were by far the more adventurous team and Elgin who played a neat passing game in the first half appeared to lose most of their composure. The tactical introduction of Steven Sloan and Josh Todd in the 62nd minute gave Annan more of an attacking presence with Todd being pushed in just behind Mackay. Elgin carved open a good opportunity in the 63rd minute when Sutherland’s dangerous low cross was calling out for a touch. However it was Annan who continued to pose more of a threat, Hopkirk came close in the 69th minute with a glorious effort which went narrowly past. Minutes later Hopkirk was again at the heart of the move which resulted in Annan scoring when he nipped past his marker on the left hit the bye line and squared the ball to Josh Todd who prodded the ball home from close range in a goal that was almost a carbon copy of Elgin’s 5th minute opening goal.
Kenny Mackay had a glorious opportunity and should have put Annan ahead for the first time in the 79th minute when he was put through clean on goal but Raymond Jellema denied Mackay with an important save. The Annan goal then survived an anxious 5 minute spell as Elgin mounted a conserted spell of pressure on the Annan defence. As the game approached the end of normal time it was Annan who were the prominent attacking team and you could sense the anxious tension among the home fans as Annan pushed for the winner. Following a series of corners Annan won a throw in wide on the right and Martin McNiff’s long throw in was flicked on by Peter Watson and MacKay swivelled on the edge of the six yard box to guide the ball into the corner of net for what looked like the winner.
There was still more to come and as the match entered the fourth minute of added off time Elgin struck after Kenny Mackay lost the ball in the centre of the park with the home team breaking down the left ending with Craig Gunn rifling the ball into the net only to have the goal chalked off for offside against one of Gunn’s team mates.
Annan boss Jim Chapman was relieved and exhausted after the highs and lows of an enthralling match. “We got off to a sluggish start and Elgin punished us and deservedly went into a two goal lead but we fought back magnificently and the players showed grit, determination and character to get back into the game and win the match. It is early days and you can already see there is little between any of the teams but if we continue to apply ourselves like we did today we will cause teams problems”.
Elgin boss Ross Jack was left ruing what might have been. “We absolutely murdered Annan in the first half and gave away a bad goal just before half time which gave Annan a lift, in the second half we did not capitalise at all. It was a shocking decision to chalk off the injury time eqauliser the goal was clearly on side and the stand side linesman did not know who he was flagging offside. We sustained a couple of bad injuries today but we have plenty of players waiting for a chance and we have a lot to look forward to with the visit of Dunfermline in the Scottish Cup next week so we will just need to dust ourselves down and get prepared for the challenge of the cup and the league”.
Elgin City – R Jellema, D Niven, P McMullen, S Crighton ( D Khutsishvilli 75 min), J Duff, P Harkins (C McLean 70 min), G Gunn, B Cameron (G Beveridge 82 min), D Wyness, S Suherland, A McKenzie. Substitutes not used S Urquhart, D McHardy, A McLeod, S Black.
Annan Athletic – K Arthur, I Chisholm (P Bradley 82 min), M McNiff, A Mitchell, P Watson, M Flynn (S Sloan 60 min), K Mackay, K Brannan (J Todd 60 min), P Weatherson, D Hopkirk, A Love. Substitutes S Davidson, J Moffat, A Mitchell, S Swinglehurst.
Referee Mat Northcroft. Assistants Alistair Mather and Ross Haswell