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Albion Rovers FC 1
Annan Athletic FC 0
24th April 2021
Alex Mitchell,  Tyler Fulton,  Matty Douglas,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Mark Docherty,  Owen Moxon,  Kyle Fleming,  Ross Love (Darren Christie, 81),  Nathan Flanagan (Lewis Hunter, 68),  Tony Wallace (Iain Anderson, 68),  Aidan Smith (Russell Currie, 81),  
Ross Munro,  Harry Emerson,  Dean Watson,  Alex McCaw,  Ryan Sinnamon,  

Match Report by David Hastie

It was not to be three wins a row for Annan Athletic on Saturday afternoon, succumbing to a well-organized Albion Rovers 1-0 in Coatbridge. There was no place in the starting eleven for Cammy Clark and Lewis Hunter, with Peter Murphy replacing them with Steven Swinglehurst and Mark Docherty.

The visitors could and possibly should have been 1-0 inside two minutes, with an Owen Moxon corner being headed onto Tony Wallace, whose shot fizzed wide to the left of the goal.

And they were unlucky again 13 minutes in, with Aidan Smith charging down Harry Stone’s kick out, but the ball looped just wide right.

Albion had their chances too, with Calum Wilson gaining possession of the ball outside of the box, driving to the byline before unleashing a shot which was comfortable for Mitchell in the Annan goal.

Steven Swinglehurst was almost an unlikely hero for Annan on 23 minutes, beautifully controlling a headed clearance and attempting a lofted effort, landing just the wrong side of the crossbar.

Annan were controlling the game, however, were notcapitalizing on their chances. A pass to Kyle Fleming on the left side of the box saw his quick feet dance inside, before cutting back to Tony Wallace, but his effort flew high over the bar.

They wanted a penalty barely minutes later, with a beautiful ball over the top finding Nathan Flanagan. His touch played him into the box, before going down under pressure from the Rover’s captain Lynas, however the referee waved away any protests, pointing for the corner.

A free kick on the half hour mark from midfield found Swinglehurst on the six-yard box, but his header was straight at keeper Stone, causing further frustrating for the away side. And it was Swinglehurst again to cause Rover’s problems, with a Flanagan cross finding him at the back post, but his header landed wide.

Half Time: Albion Rovers 0-0 Annan Athletic

Annan’s dominance continued in the second half, controlling the ball, but still not finding the back of the net. Owen Moxon had a cross from the right side of the box, with Flanagan’s clever touch looping into the keeper’s arms.

The game completely changed just before the hour mark. A long ball played up-field by the Harry Stone was headed away from danger by the Annan backline. Owen Moxon raised his foot to collect the ball, however connected with the Albion Rover’s player’s side, causing the referee to pull out the red card.

And Annan would find themselves a goal down from the resulting free kick. Lewis Kidd played the ball in, and it fell to Wilson at the back post. His ball was played high back across goal, to be nodded in by half time sub Jamie Leslie.

It was as if the goal had awoken the Coatbridge side, and an almost identical free kick 8 minutes later could have doubled the home sides lead, but James McGowan headed over the bar.

The Galabankies were pushing for a leveler, with a couple of headed chances falling wide of the mark. The sustained pressure was almost their downfall, however, as Albion found themselves 3 on 1 and pressing forward. They got back well, however and managed to break down the attack, much to the anguish of the home support gathered on the hill.

But they would soon be heading home happy after a smash and grab win, with Annan wondering how they did not come away with at least a point going into the rematch of a week ago with Stenhousemuir on Tuesday.

 
 
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