Raith Rovers FC vs Annan Athletic FC
Starks Park Kirkcaldy proved a bridge too far for Annan in their quest to secure a place a coveted place in the Ramsdens Cup Final. In the end they were comfortably defeated but that was not before the Championship side had been given an almighty scare. Annan boss Jim Chapman was forced to rearrange his side with Steven Sloan suspended after his ridiculous red card the previous week at Buckie, Ally Love was also suspended after picking up two bookings in the competition, Steven Logan picked up a training ground injury back at parent club Newcastle United and on loan Dumbarton FC defender Martin McNiff was cup tied.
Annan could not have envisaged such a dread full start to the match after a clumsy challenge by Andrew Mitchell on Joe Cardle resulted in a free kick wide on the left and Cardles’s resulting free kick cannoned off the knee of Peter Weatherson to give the home team a dream start inside the first minute. Annan to their credit put this setback behind them and started creating a few anxious moments in the Raith defence when Hopkirk headed past in the 3rd minute and in the 7th minute Peter Watson was presented with a great chance when he headed narrowly past from Brannan’s corner kick when it looked easier to score. Then in the 10TH minute they were once again unfortunate when Keiran Brannan’s shot was parried by McGurn and Hopkirk picked up the spoils to slot the ball into the net only for the goal to be ruled offside. With 14 minutes played Flynn laid the ball into the path of Andrew Mitchell who’s first time effort from the edge of the box cannoned off the top of the cross bar. At this stage of the game the home side were living dangerously as Annan tried valiantly to overcome their early misfortune. Brannan then forced keeper David McGurn to touch the ball over for a corner in the 26th minute as Annan probed for an opening. The creative Joe Cardle prized open the Annan defence in the 28th minute with a delicate ball over the top but Callum Elliott was unable to latch on to the ball. With 34 minutes on the clock Raith won a free kick on the edge of the box when Peter Weatherson conceded a foul on Grant Anderson but Callum Eliot’s free kick failed to test Arthur .As the came edged towards half time Raith started to come into the game more but without really creating much until the 39th minute when Grant Andersons effort sailed over the bar. Scott Davidson tried his luck with a 25yrd effort which was easily saved by the Raith Keeper. As the game edged towards half time Cardle’s effort from the edge of the box was deflected past for a corner.
Raith made a bright start to the second half but it was Annan who threatened first when a promising move down the left saw Brannan combined with Davidson to set up Hopkirk who’s well struck shot from the corner of the 18 yard box pulled out a good save from McGurn, then in the 51st minute Hopkirk had another effort trundle past the post. Cardle then came close in the 55th minute when his well struck shot through a ruck of players came off the outside of the post. Matty Flynn was presented with an opportunity after Hopkirk’s cross was only half cleared but the ball would not fall kindly for Flynn who’s scuffed shot went past the post. Spence’s 60th minute free kick crashed off Davidson and minutes later Anderson headed narrowly past as Raith pressed. Annan introduced Josh Todd for Scott Davidson in the 61st minute in an effort to put some pressure on Raith in the final third of the pitch. Todd connected with Mitchells cross in the 67th minute but the effort was easily saved by McGurn. Annan had a real let off in the 72nd minute when Greig Spence missed an open goal after Callum Elliot’s low cross found the Raith player unmarked at the back post. Raith finally got the break through in the 70th minute when Booth made a surging run down the left ending with a low ball into Spence who’s half hit shot found Greig Spence powering in at the back post . It was just the cushion that the hone team were seeking and it took a superb Kenny Arthur save with his feet to deny Elliot in the 75th minute. Annan’s misery was completed in the 88th of normal time when Callum Elliot scored the goal of the match when his perfectly weighted shot from just inside the box. Weatherson headed narrowly passed from Hopkirks cross at the game entered the second minute of time added on.