Stenhousemuir FC vs Annan Athletic FC
Stenhousemuir amost certainly secured their place on the play offs after a late 89th minute headed goal from Mark Ferry secured the points for the home team. It was a highly entertaining game with the outcome in doubt till the end and Annan will no doubt feel hard done by not to have at least secured a point.
Annan looked to have done enough to deserve at least a share of the points and they will no doubt look back on a couple of incidents where the wood work came to the Warriers rescue.
Annan boss Peter Murphy started with the same team which started against Elgin City the previous week. The home team started very promisingly but it was Aidan Smith who came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when he was denied twice in quick succession by keeper Chris Smith. Annan went ahead in the 19th minute following their first corner in the match when Steven Swinglehurst rose unchallenged at the back post to connect with Ryan Sinamon’s corner.
Stenhousemuir were then denied an eqauliser minutes later by a superb Alex Mitchell save from Alan Cook’s net bound shot. Harrison Paton however soon squared the game in the 25th minute when he collected the ball on the edge of the box and his well directed strike gave Mitchell no chance. The Warriers were pressing hard and Colin McMenamin then went close in the 32nd minute with a deft header which went narrowly over the bar. The home team were pressing hard but Annan defended well to ensure the sides went in all sqaure at half time
Annan started the second half on the front foot and it was the home team who were were being forced to defend. Aidan smith was very unlucky to see his well struck low shot from the edge of the box beat the keeper but the ball struck the inside of the post in the 52nd minute and although Henderson was quick to guide the rebound into the net the goal was disallowed for offside.
Minutes later Annan were dealt a blow when Ryan Sinamon conceded a penalty on the edge of the box making contact with on loan Ranger Andrew Dallas. The referee was well placed to give judgement and Harrison Paton made no mistake from the spot drilling the ball straight down the middle.
Annan responded by opening up the home defence in the 59th minute with a well constructed move ending with Sinamons shot being blocked and deflected for a corner.
The match was evenly balanced and Aidan Smith squared the match in the 62nd minute when another well constructed move ended with the Annan striker finishing with a superb shot from the edge of the box which gave Chris Smith no chance.
Stenhousemuir were being tested as Annan moved forward to clinch the match but once again Lady Luck deserted Annan in the 72nd minute when Aidan Smith was this time denied by the crossbar with a superb effort from 18 yards.
Alex Mitchell then denied pulled off another brilliant save to deny Andrew Dallas who looked likely to score as he homed in towards the Annan goal keeper.
The game appeared to be heading towards a draw until Stenhousemuir scored what could prove to be a crucial winner to secure the 3 points which makes them clear favourites to contest one of the play off places when Mark Ferry headed Fern’s high cross into the bottom corner of the net from 6 yards.
Annan had very little time to respond and on reflection they will no doubt feel that they deserved at least a share of the points from this match but the game once again emphasised there is very little between success and failure in this league.
STENHOUSEMUIR- Chris Smith, Ross Meechan , Michael Dunlop, Ross Dunlop, Ruaridh Donaldson, Mark Ferry, Eddie Ferns ( David Marsh 89 min), Harrison Paton, Colin McMenamin( Inness Murray 84 min ), Andrew Dallas , Alan Cook ( Jamie Longworth 84 min). SUBS NOT USED- Martin Scott, Thomas Hallerman, Lewis McMinn GK.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Alex Mitchell , Jack Brannan, , Evan Horne, James Henry, Ayrton Sonkur, Steven Swinglehurst, Owen Moxon ( Connor O’Keefe 56 min), Ryan Sinnamon , Aidan Smith, Blair Henderson (Ben Armour 69 min), Scott Roberts ( Cameron Salkeld 80 min). SUBS NOT USED- Jim Atkinson(GK), Scott Hooper, Zac Hannay, James Creaney,
Referee- David Lowe Assistants – David Doig and Ross Birrell
The title race is still wide open with 2 games to go after both Peterhead and Montrose recorded one goal victories over Cowdenbeath and Berwick Rangers respectively. Ousman See sustained a bad leg break at Montrose which resulted in the match being delayed by over an hour before the Berwick Striker was transferred to Ninewells hospital at Dundee. Montrose still hold a 3 point lead at the top and have their fate in their own hands. Stirling Albion’s poor form continued after they were beaten 2-1 by Clyde at Broadwood. Elgin City’s chances of making the play offs look all over when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Edinburgh City .
Next Saturday Annan finish their home matches with a game against Stirling Albion.