Peterhead FC vs Annan Athletic FC
This was a tough defeat for Annan to take at a windswept Balmour on Saturday against the title favorites. Peterhead had the woodwork as much as goal scorer Rory McAllister to thank for their latest win over Annan. McAllister’s superbly taken free kick just before half-time was the defining moment and all that separated the sides but it was the incident that led to the free kick which left Annan boss Peter Murphy bitterly disappointed.
Annan, who had already lost the opening League fixture at Galabank to an injury time winner from Jim McInally’s men will know that if lady luck had been on their shoulders they would have taken something out of the match after hitting the crossbar in the first period and the post twice in the final ten minutes.
Peterhed enjoyed the early possession but without seriously testing the Annan defence,Jack Leitch hit a 12 yard shot which was deflected behind for a corner which was well defended. Annan had the only clear cut chance and they should have gone ahead on the half hour mark after Greg Fleming pulled off a very important save from Daniel Orsi, who had been sent clean through on goal by Rabin Omar. From the resulting corner Peter Watsons header rebounded off the crossbar and Steven Swinglehurst’s effort struck Scott Brown on the goal line, it was a fortunate break for the Blue Toon. The teams appeared to be heading towards the interval goal less until the final minute when Watson did well to break up a promising move before delivering a poor pass which forced Hooper into fouling Willie Gibson. McAllister as so often took the free kick and superbly curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner of the net to leave Atkinson rooted to spot . It was a hard lesson for Annan to absorb and one they would not be able to overcome in the game.
Annan playing with the stiff wind in their favour had to withstand an early scare when Peterhead were awarded another free-kick in the 55th minute but this time McAllister’s effort was easily saved by Jim Atkinson. Jack Brannon’s low raking shot in the 63rd minute never asked a lot from Fleming. McAllister then blasted over the bar in the 74th minute after collecting a dangerous Scott Brown cross. Annan however were always looking to prize open the Peterhead defence and as the game entered the final ten minutes the Peterhead team and their supporters were left on tender hooks as Annan piled on late pressure. Aidan Smith was presented with an opportunity in the 81st minute when put through by Blair Henderson but his low shot screwed agonisingly wide of the upright. It was an anxious period for the home team who were once again fortunate minutes later when Owen Moxon drove forward from the middle finishing with a well struck low shot which cracked the upright past the outstretched arms of Fleming. Peterhead got lucky again in the dying minute when Brannon released Aiden Smith on goal but once again Annan’s top striker was denied by the woodwork. You could almost sense that it just was not going to happen for Annan and in time added on Peterhead created an opening when Jordan Brown shot past.
Blue Toon boss Jim McInally conceded that Peterhead were fortunate to lift all the points against a well organised Annan side; “We have defeated them 3 times this season and the games could have gone either way. It was a fantastic free kick which won the game but we got away with it today.” The victory for the home team keeps them hard on the heels of Stirling Albion who slipped up to title contenders Stenhousemuir.
Annan manager Peter Murphy said his team played very well and they paid for one slack moment which presented the free kick; “This team is still learning and improving and on another day we could quite have easily won the match.”
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Jim Atkinson, Scott Hooper, Jack Brannan, Owen Moxon, Peter Watson, Steven Swinglehurst, Dan Orsi ( Brandon Luke 75 min) , Ryan Sinnamon, Aiden Smith , Rabine Omar, Scott Roberts (Blair Henderson 60 min). Substitutes not used Alex Mitchell (gk), John Cunningham, Peter Murphy, James Creaney, Ayrton Sonka.
PETERHEAD : Greg Fleming, Jason Brown, Aiden McDuff, Mason Robertson, David McCracken (Jordan Brown 67 min), Simon Ferry, Jack Leitch (Alan Smith 86 min), Scott Brown, Rory McAllister (Nickie Riley 90 min), Russel McLean, Willie Gibson. Substitutes not used: Fraser Hobday, Scott Adams, Mikael Dikobo, Samson Gabriel.
Referee – Kevin Graham. Assistants – David Roome and Barry Dickson