Stenhousemuir v Annan Athletic
Annan lifted the points with a goal in injury time to maintain their place in the top four play off zone. It was a game played under terrible conditions with the persistent, unrelenting rain not making it easy for the players of either team. There was very little to choose between the teams with the result heading towards a draw until the final minute when Annan’s Kyle Wilkie snatched the winner when he latched on to a Steven Swinglehurst ball played over the top of the Stenhousemuir defenders leaving Wilkie one on one with the advancing keeper finishing with a lob over Graeme Smith and into the empty net to secure 3 points for Annan. It was a hard one for the home team to take who looked to have done enough to share the points.
Stenhousemuir came into the match in good form after defeating Brechin City last week and securing an injury time equaliser against Elgin City in the mid week encounter and manager David Irons had good reason to believe that Annan were arriving at Ochilview at a good time for Stenhousemuir.
Annan boss Peter Murphy was forced into making one change from the team which beat Cove Rangers the previous week with Jordan Holt replacing Scott McLean who had been unable to train during the week. The previous encounter at Galabank was evenly matched and ended in a 1-1 draw and you almost sensed from the early minutes that this was going to be another close game with both teams defending well to curtail any real scoring opportunities.
The opening 20 minutes were evenly contested with no real scoring opportunities until the 34th minute when Stenhousemuir won their first corner of the match and Allan Cook’s cross ball was perfectly headed into the top corner of the net by ex Annan player David Hopkirk to give the home team the early advantage. Botti Biabi almost added a second minutes later with his low shot from the edge of the box testing keeper Chris Smith.
Annan responded in the 30th minute when Niyah Josephs effort was pushed past the post for a corner and from Nathan Flanagans corner kick Matty Douglas header ended up in the top corner of the net.
The second half started with Stenhousemuir attacking the Annan goal, Chris Smith pulled off a routine save from Connor McBride, Dylan Dykes had a couple of efforts blocked as the home team increased the pressure on Annan. Darren Barr was introduced in the 61st minute replacing Jordan Holt and the move had the desired effect on the game with Annan starting to reverse the flow of the match.
Annan squandered a great opportunity when they broke down the left against the stretched Stenhousemuir defence but the final pass from Tommy Muir was intercepted and the chance was lost.
The winning goal came into injury time when Annan caught the Stenhousemuir defence square when Swinglehursts ball was perfectly weighted for Kyle Wilkie who finished with a clinical lob over Graeme Smith.
STENHOUSEMUIR – Graeme Smith, Jpnathan Tiffony, Andy Munro, Jordan Armstrong, Allan Cook, David Hopkirk, Dylan Dykes (Mark McGuigan 82 min ), Ryan Blair, Connor McBride, Botti Biabi, Scott McLaughlin. David Hopkirk. Subs not used .Trialist GK, Chris O’Neil, Kieran Anderson, , Max Potter, Ryan Watters.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Chris Smith, Matty Douglas, Jamie Ballantyne, Kyle Bradley, Steven Swinglehurst , Niyah Joseph, Jordan Holt (Darren Barr 61 min), Kyle Wilkie ,Tommy Muir(Christain Nade 71 min ), Broque Watson ( Lewis McLear 89min ) , Nathan Flanagan . Subs not used – Lyle Avci , EuanGriffiths, Ayrton Sonkur, Russell Currie.
Referee. Graham Grainger – Frank Connor and Steven McKay
Cove Rangers were defeated for the second week in a row going down to a Liam Henderson Double before Mitch Megunson pulled one back with all the goals coming in the first half. Brechin City finaly got the win that could kick start their season with a 4-2 victory over Stirling Albion at Forthbank. A double form Declan Byrne secured the points for Albion Rovers against Queens Park. Finally Elgin City and Cowdenbeath had to be content with a share of the points in a goalless draw at Central Park.
Next Saturday Annan get an opportunity to revenge the Scottish Cup defeat against the in form Edinburgh City who are now only 2 points behind Cove Rangers following their victory over Cove last Saturday who make the journey to Galabank kick off 3-00pm .