Elgin v Annan
Annan Athletic failed to consolidate their position at the top of the league after going down to title contenders Elgin City who retained their unbeaten home record with a 3-2 victory. There was not a lot between the teams but once Elgin went ahead in the 6th minute Annan were always chasing the game against a competent Elgin side. Annan were forced to make changes with Weatherson suspended and Gilfillan and Omar out injured.
Elgin went ahead with a simple goal in the 6th minute after Darryl McHardy reacted quickest after Elgin were awarded a free kick 30 yards out, McHardy reacted quickest to pick up Daniel Moores pass to finish with a low shot past the outstretched arm of the diving Jordan hart. It was an early blow to Annan but it was just the incentive that the home team were looking for. Minutes later Reilley came close for the home team with his shot going past the upright.
Annan responded well and after a sustained period pressure they were rewarded in the 25th minute. Annan won a corner on the left when Black picked out McColm out on the left and his cross was deflected for a corner. Finnie’s dangerous cross into the 6 yard was only half punched by keeper Hurst and the ball deflected back off the under pressure Daryl McHardy.
Annan pushed forward with Elgin being forced to defend, McColm fired in a low 30 yard effort which never really tested Mark Hurst. Moments later Osodalor found the net but the goal wad chalked offside against McColm. Black then headed past from a Finnie corner. It was a good period of pressure from Annan with the home team being tested defensively.
Annan had a real let off when Daniel Moore and Archie McPhee combined down the left to cut open the Annan defence ending with Moore sending in an inviting low cross which flashed across the face of the Annan goal. Jordan hart then came to Annan’s rescue pulling off a good save to deny Easton.
Osodalor forced a corner down the right and from the resulting corner Black headed past the post from a promising position 6 yards out. It was a great chance but as half time approached it was the home team who started to take the game to Annan. Easton had a close effort in the 42nd minute and almost on the stroke of half time Brian Cameron put the finishing strike after Dylan Easton carved opened the Annan defence to give Elgin a half time lead. Annan had a further set back when David Ferguson had to leave the field injured in the 44th minute his position being taken by Peter Watson.
Annan fate was decided early in the second half after Elgin won a short corner and Easton picked the ball up and his tricky footwork tempted Watson into the challenge on the edge of the 6 yard box and the referee was left with no option but to award the home team a penalty kick despite dissenting voices from Annan players. Craig Gun stepped up and converted the spot kick sending Hart the wrong way. The goal gave Elgin a two goal cushion.
Annan boss Jim Chapman brought on Greig Macdonald for Steven Sloan closely followed by the introduction of Liam Park for Smart Osodalor as Annan attempted to go more direct up front. It was however the home team who squandered a great opportunity in the 75th minute after Easton blasted over the bar following a penetrating run along the bye line by Gunn.
Annan pressed hard towards the end of the game and they were rewarded 2 minutes from time when Matty Flynn scored his fifth goal of the season when he reacted quickest in a packed penalty box with a crisp shot into the corner of the net from 10 yards to reduce the deficit to one goal.
The final minutes were a nervous period for the home team who held on to lift the points to push them up to within 3 points of Annan who despite the defeat still top the league.
This league is so tight with only ten points separating top from bottom there is a real fear factor with no team wanting to secure the bottom place. Annan face 2 home games on the trot against Berwick rangers and Arbroath before travelling once again to the Highlands to face Inveurie Locos in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Elgin City – M Hurst, M Cooper, A Mcphee, D McHardy, l Gordon, T Reilly, C Mclarren, B Cameron, C Gunn (K Mcleod 83 min), D Easton (C McLean 80 min), D Moore (M McKenzie 85 min). Subs not used J Halsman, M Nicholson, R Bruce, S Black.
Elgin goals – McHardy (6) Cameron (44) Gun (56)
Annan – J Hart, S Black, S Swinglehurst, M Mcniff, D Ferguson ( P Watson 43 min ), S Sloan ( G Mcdonald 65 min), R Finnie, M Flynn, S Osodalor (L Park 68 min ), J Todd, S McColm. Subs not used B Currie, R McStay, J Watson, S Norman.
Annan goals – McHardy OG (29) Flynn (88)
Referee M Taylor. Assistants A Cooper and T Kelly.