Stenhousemuir v Annan Athletic
Annan boss Peter Murphy made a couple of changes to the team that won the last midweek game against Albion Rovers with Aaron Splaine being introduced at the expense of Ayr United loanee Ross Love. A welcome return to the bench was Jordan Lowden who returned following an ankle injury sustained in pre season training. Jack Purdue was also a welcome spectator following his serious leg injury.
It was Annan Athletic who secured the points with two goals scored in injury time, at the end of each half. It was an excellent match with both teams going for the win but it was Annan who denied Stenhousemuir a share of the points with a goal scored in injury time . The turning point came when substitute Iain Anderson was introduced in the 86th minute and it was his lay off to Max Wright who guided the ball into the net from the edge of the box past the outstretched arms of on loan Hibernian keeper Patrick Martin.
It was an evenly contested match throughout which could have gone either way but on clear cut chances created Annan possibly just edged it. Stenhousemuir started the match by putting Annan under constant pressure in the opening 10 minutes. Annan defended the Warrior’s barrage and soon started to make an impact on the match. In fact it was Max Wright who had the first real attempt on goal in the tenth minute with his low shot from the edge of the box going narrowly past the post.
Stenhousemuir’s best opportunity of the half fell to the normally reliable Mark McGuigan who blasted over the bar after Botti Biabi had set him up 16 yards out, it was a let off for Annan who’s best period in the match came during a 15 minute spell at the end of the half.
Max Wright along with Aidan Smith made it a difficult afternoon for the Warriors back line and the duo combined well down the right ending with Wrights attempted cut back to Smith being intercepted at a crucial time.
Aidan Smith then made a great run into the box in the 40th minute and claims that he was pushed in the back were dismissed by the referee and the striker ended up getting booked for his protestations.
Annan then scored the opening goal in injury time when on loan Dundee player Kyle Fleming‘s header found Max Wright whose low shot from 6 yards found the corner of the net to give Annan a slender lead at half time.
Annan started the second half creating two glorious opportunities from the kick off. Aidan Smith played the ball into Max Wright who failed to control the ball and the rebound fell to Kyle Fleming whose effort was blocked, It was a let off for the home team.
Owen Moxon was booked for a late challenge on Callum Yeats in the 52nd minute. Stenhousemuir then scored a fine goal created out wide on the left by Botti Biabi whose low cross was perfectly placed for the oncoming Mark McGuigan who guided the ball into the centre of the net from close range. It was a well constructed goal.
The game was now evenly balanced and Aaron Splaine’s well flighted free kick to the back post was begging for someone to attack the ball but the ball floated past the post.
Both teams were going all out to win the game and Stenhousemuir had claims for a penalty brushed aside in the 75th minute, Steven Swinglehurst then cleared the ball off the goal line and in the 82nd minute at the other end Mark Docherty’s effort went close.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw until the 91st minute when Iain Anderson knocked the ball down into the path of Max Wright and his low crisp shot from edge of the box clipped the base of the post and passed the outstretched arm of keeper Patrick Martin to secure all three points for Annan.
The home team for all their attacking threats would be disappointed at their failure to test Alex Mitchell in the Annan goal and no doubt they will look back on this game as an opportunity lost to keep in touch with Queens Park at the top of the league. Annan for their part were glad to put behind them their dismal defeat in the previous league match at against Albion Rovers .
It is still early days but the signs are there even after only 5 matches that Queens Park are going to be the team to beat, there does not appear to be a lot between the other teams in the league. On their day Annan are a match for any of the teams but they must endeavor to show more consistency if they are to be serious contenders for one of the top four places.
STENHOUSEMUIR –Patrick Martin, Jack Hodge, Tommy Muir, Andrew Munro, Callum Yeats, Callum Tapping, Greig Spence, Ryan Blair, Cameron Graham (Josh Grigor 77min), Mark McGuigan, Botti Biabi. Subs not used: Callum Erskine GK, Christopher McQueen, Ryan Watters, Thomas Halleran, Martin Shields, Jayden Fairley, Paul Brown.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Alex Mitchell, Lewis Hunter, Cameron Clark, Aaron Splaine, Matthew Douglas, Steven Swinglehurst, Kyle Fleming, Mark Docherty, Max Wright, Aidan Smith (Iain Anderson 86 min), Owen Moxon. Subs not used: Jordan Pettigrew, Jordan Lowden, Peter Watson, Russell Currie, Harry Emerson, Ross Love, Peter Murphy.
Referee – Lloyd Wilson. Assistants Gordon Crawford and Lee Robertson, Crowd 000
Queens Park stayed top of the league courtesy of a 3 goal victory over bottom of the table Brechin City, Elgin City lifted the points with a 2-1 victory over Stirling Albion and Stranraer lifted the points with a 1-0 victory over Edinburgh City. The Cowdenbeath Albion Rovers match was postponed due to Albion having 7 members of their squad diagnosed with COVID.
Next Saturday Annan entertain Edinburgh City at Galabank kick off 3-00pm