Stranraer v Annan Athletic
Kyle Fleming (Nathan Flanagan, 62)
Max Wright (Aaron Splaine, 74)
Iain Anderson (Ross Love, 80)
Games were off throughout the country but conditions were decent at Stair Park for this SPFL2 match. Annan were without the injured Tyler Fulton and Lewis Hunter but Steven Swinglehurst was back into the team and Nathan Flanagan was back on the bench.
The first half was a game of few chances with both defenses giving very little away. The opening 20 minutes proved to be a stalemate until Annan created a good opening in the 20th minute when a ball over the top caught Sonkur on the turn and Max Wright was thwarted by an important save from keeper Fleming.
Stranraer’ s best and only opening in the first half fell to Thomas Orr who’s low shot from the edge of the box went narrowly past the post.It was a good effort but the nearest any team came to scoring on the opening 45 minutes fell to Owen Moxon whos spectacular effort from fully 30 yards almost caught keeper Fleming out but Moxoncould only watch as his effort went narrowly past the upright.
Annan continued to press forward and Jordan Lowden created a dangerous penetrating move down the right but it was Stranraer whofinished the half on top with the Annan defence having to endure some anxious moments as Stranraer pushed for an opening but thenearest they came was when Adam Cummings had a wild shot in the 44th minute which sailed over the bar.
The second half started well for the hosts Stranraer with most of their threat coming down the right through Andy Stirling who always looked a danger . Annan made their intentions clear bringing on Nathan Flanagan in the 64th minute for Kyle Fleming but almost immediately Annan were dealt a blow when Stranraer took the lead. The goal in the 65th minute stemmed from a long kick out from Fleming which bounced kindly for Thomas Orr who finished clinically with a great shot from 12 yards which beat Mitchell at the near side post .
It was just the tonic that the home team needed and it arrived at a critical moment in the match as Annan then appeared to lose their discipline and composure when Owen Moxon was sent off in the 73rd minute for an elbow on Darryl Duffy. It was a stupid reaction from Moxon right under the eye of the referee who was left with no option.
Annan brought on Aaron Splain to replace Max Wright and Stranraerbrought on Matt Yates to replace Daryl Duffy but Annan’s fortunes were dealt a further blow when Stranraer were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute after Swinglehurst appeared to inadvertently trip Ayrton Sonkur leaving the referee with no option. Ruari Paton converted the spot kick with Mitchell getting a hand to the effort.
These two decisions cost Annan big time and left Stranraer with a smile on their faces . Annan and Stranraer made a number of late changes Ian Anderson was replaced by Ross Love and Stranraerbrought on Vitoria and Elliot to replace Orr and Paton .
Annan finished strong but unable to penetrate the resolute home defence, Aidan Smith’s header in the 87th minute went close it was however all too late for Annan who could have no complaints for the outcome of the match.
The referee did not appear to cover himself in glory with his decisions which frustrated both sets of players but Moxons sending off could prove costly for Annan as they will be deprived of the services for the Scottish cup tie next Saturday. The referee did however get the big decisions correct and the victory maintained Stranraer’s challenge for a top 4 position and the defeat leaves Annan in a dangerous position at the lower end of the table.
Hear what the manager had to say after the game by clicking here
Stranraer – Greg Fleming, Scott Robertson, Adam Cummins, AyrtonSonkur, Grant Gallagher, Connor McManus, Andy Stirling, KeiranMillar, Ruari Paton (Cameron Elliott 80 min ) , Darryl Duffy ( Matt Yates 74 min ) , Thomas Orr (Joa Victoria 83 min ). Substitutes not used – Jamie Walker GK, Sean Burns, James Hilton, Lewis McIntyre,Tom Devitt, Jamie Hamill.
Annan Athletic – Alex Mitchell, Mark Docherty , Cameron Clark, Matthew Douglas, Steven Swinglehurst, Kyle Fleming ( Nathan Flanagan 64 min ), Owen Moxon , Max Wright ( Aaron Splain 74 min ), Jordan Lowden, Aidan Smith, Iain Anderson ( Ross Love 80 min ). Subs not used, Jordan Pettigrew, Peter Watson, Harry Emmerson , Russell Currie.
Referee – Kevin Graham Assistants Andrew McWilliam and Michael Williamson
Next Saturday Annan travel to Play Formartine United in the Second Round of the Scottish Cup.
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