Peterhead FC vs Annan Athletic FC
Peterhead’s chances of lifting the SPFL 2 Title were given a real boost when Jamie Stevensons 83rd minute goal secured the points to take them within touching distance of table toppers Montrose who were comprehensively beaten by the in form Clyde.
In terms of possession Annan played second fiddle to the home team who found it very difficult to penetrate the well organised Annan defence who eventually conceded in the 84th minute when Jamie Stevenson’s shot come cross from the edge of the box looped over the head of Alex Mitchell and into the top corner of the net much to the delight of large home support who were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of imagination being shown by Peterhead in trying to break down Annan’s defensive wall.
Playing with the strong wind and the sun in their favour it was not surprising that it was the home team who were taking the game to Annan, Mitchell pulled off a good save when he tipped over Jack Leitch’s 13th minute effort. It was a half where Annan did ride their luck particularly in the 24th minute when Alan Smith’s net bound shot was headed off the goal line by Scott Hooper and into the arms of keeper Alex Mitchell. This was followed up in the 38th minute when McCallister’s effort cracked the upright. These were the bright spots for the home team in a half where Annan took the credit for some resolute backs to the wall defending. It was however a disappointing half offensively for Annan who rarely produced any attacking play up front to test the Peterhead defence.
The second half once again saw the home team backed on by the home support to take the game to Annan but unlike the first half the home team had to be far more alert to to contain the threat that Annan posed as they broke forward from defence. Greg Fleming who was a virtual spectator in the first half was tested for the first time in the 61st minute by a fairly routine Scott Roberts shot. This was followed by a well constructed move down the right ending with an Omar effort which sailed past the post.
Peterhead’s frustration was evident when they withdrew striker McAllister replacing him with fellow striker Russel McLean. Annan looked comfortable containing the threat of the Peterhead attack until they conceded the goal which could be a defining moment in Peterheads quest for the title. The build up to the goal was disappointing from Annan’s point of view when Swinglehurst’s free kick was picked up by Fleming who swiftly set Jamie Stevenson on his way down the right and as Stevenson approached the edge of the box his intended cross to the back post looped over the head of Mitchell and into the top corner of the net.
Annan’s frustrations boiled over and in the dying minutes one of Annan’s stalwards Captain Peter Watson was given a straight red card for rash challenge.
Annan Athletic – Alex Mitchell, Scott Hooper, Evan Horne, Owen Moxon, Peter Watson, Steven Swinglehurst, Rabin Omar, Ryan Sinnamon, Aidan Smith, Blair Henderson, Scott Roberts. Substitutes not used – Jim Atkinson, Jack Brannon, Jamie Henry, Ayrton Sonkur, James Creaney ,Cameron Salkeld.
Peterhead : Greg Fleming, Jason Brown, Aiden McDuff ( Christopher Johnston 78 mins ), Jordan Brown ( Karim Belmokhtern 74 min) Smith, William Gibson . Substitutes not used: Fraser Hobday, Scott Brown, Russel M, David McCracken , Simon Ferry, Jamie Stevenson, Jack Leitch, Rory McAllister (Russel McLean 66 min),Alan Smith, William Gibson. Subs not used Fraser Hobday, Scott Brown, Mason Robertson, Aaron Norris, Christopher Johnston.
Referee – Craig Charleston.Assistants – Douglas Ross, Steven Strang.
It was a day when Clyde’s fortunes were dealt a real boost after a convincing 3 goal victory over top of the table Montrose and with 5 games to play the heat is on for the title with Peterhead and Montrose locked head to head and Clyde, Stenhousemuir and Elgin City battling for the last of the play off slots. Cowdenbeath’s revival continued after they grabbed a point against Stirling Albion in a 2-2 draw. Edinburgh City and Berwick Rangers could only share the points in a 1-1 draw a result which leaves both teams still not out of the woods from the bottom spot.