Stirling Albion v Annan Athletic
Annan Athletic’s miserable run at Forthbank showed no signs of improvement on Saturday as they were defeated by two goals to nil. It was a game of very few chances with Stirling Albion taking both the opportunities which fell their way to earn them 3 valuable points as they strive to climb the league.
Annan started the match in confident mood , manager Peter Murphy made several changes to the starting line up which lifted the points in the mid week win over Brechin City, with Steven Swinglehurst returning to the centre of defence in place of the banned Mattie Douglas and on loan Hamilton youngster Jamie Walker was preferred in place of Jamie Ballantyne at left Fullback.
The first half produced few chances for the supporters with both defenses rarely being tested and neither goalkeeper being asked to make a serious save . The only opening came in the 38th minute when Annan got stretched down left flank where Sean Heaver sent over an excellent cross which found Danny Jardinepowering in at the back post and his diving header gave Chris Smith in the Annan goal no chance.
It was a defining moment in the match, at the start of the second half Annan boss Peter Murphy brought on Tommy Muir for Broque Watson in an effort to change the formation and make Annan more effective in the latter third of the field. The second half however started badly for Annan after Jamie Walker was stretchered off with a bad head knock after a challenge by Dylan Bikey left the Annan defender out cold and requiring medical attention. Jamie Ballantyne took over the left back role after a 5 minute delay.
Ross McGeachie’s effort narrowly went past which was followed by a Tommy Muir effort which Blair Currie easily dealt with. Christain Nade then won a ball on the bye line to finish with an inviting ball across the face of the goal. It was a promising start by Annan but then Stirling scored again against the run of play at that stage of the match. The goal however was due to an error by Steven Swinglehurst who appeared to misjudge McGeachie’s cross from the right and the assisted ball fell kindly for Darryl Duffy who made no mistake from 10 yards.
Annan tried hard to get back into the match Blair Currie pulled off a couple of good saves to deny Tommy Muir. Stirling had Darryl Duffy sent off in the 89th minute for a challenge on Ayrton Sonkur . Late substitutions by Stirling saw the clock run down and it was 3 deserved points for Stirling Albion which lifts them up a place at the bottom of the table.
STIRLING ALBION – Blair Currie, Ross McGeachie, James Creaney, Kyles Banner, Paul McLean, Jordan McGregor, Danny Jardine, Dylan Nguene Bikey (Craig Truesdale 82 min), Sean Heaver ( Max Wright 75 min), Darryl Duffie , Paul Willis ( Cammeron Thomson 87 min). Subs not used Fraser Scott, Dylan Mackin , Lewis Hawke , Cameron Binnie GK.
ANNAN ATHLETIC – Chris Smith, Darren Barr, Jamie Walker (Jamie Ballantyne 47 min) Kyle Bradley, Ayrton Sonkur, Steven Swinglehurst, , Scott McLean, Kyle Wilkie (Jordan Holt 80 min ), Christain Nade , Broque Watson (Tommy Muir ht ) , Nathan Flanagan ., Broque Watson, Subs not used – Lyle Avci, Lewis McLear, Euan Grifiths , Niyah Joseph.
Referee. Chris Graham, Assistants – Joseph Lawson and Sean Henderson
Cove Rangers relentless journey to win the league shows no signs of abatement with a convincing 3-0 victory over BrechinCity all the goals coming in the final 12 minutes. Edinburgh City scored an injury time penalty to defeat Albion Rovers 3-2 at City Park to keep them hard on the heels of Cove Rangers .Cowdenbeath keep in touch with the top 2 after they lifted the points with the only goal of the match scored in the first halfagainst Queens Park , two ex Annan players David Cox and Ryan Finnie were sent off in this match.
Next Saturday Annan are on the road again although it is a break from league duty in the form of the Scottish Cup at Edinburgh City. This is an important match for Annan and presents the team with an opportunity to progress to third round of the competition .