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Annan Athletic FC 0
Stenhousemuir FC 3
1st February 2020
Lyle Avci,  Michael Hewitt,  Mark Docherty,  Peter Watson,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Kyle Bradley,  Jamie Ballantyne,  Kyle Wilkie,  Tommy Muir,  Christian Nade,  Scott McLean (Trialist, 70),  
Ayrton Sonkur,  Jordan Wooding-Holt,  Harry Emerson,  Russell Currie,  Alex Mitchell,  

Annan’s slump continued to show now signs of abating as the team lost its fifth consecutive match against Stenhousemuir at Galabank on Saturday, it has been a miserable period for Annan which has now saw them concede fifteen goals and score only two goals in this 5 week period. It is a problem that manager Peter Murphy needs to try and resolve as he attempts to halt Annan’s slide down the league.

Annan’s long term injuries to Nathan Flanagan, Matty Douglas, Lewis McLear and more recently Niya Joseph resulted in the team selection being curtailed against a struggling Stenhousemuir team who like Annan are battling to climb the league for their own SPFL survival.

The Annan starting line up on Saturday showed several changes with local lad Peter Watson being recalled and taking up his role at the centre of defence along side Steven Swinglehurst, new Ayr United temporary transfer Mathew Hewitt went straight in to occupy the right full back role and ex Forfar Athletic player Mark Docherty making a return to Annan after being released by Forfar Athletic. It was a much changed Annan team but one which failed to solve their ongoing defensive frailties.

Stenhousemuir boss David Irons was without the suspended Andy Munro who was serving the first of a two match ban for being sent off the previous week against Edinburgh City otherwise the Warriors manager had a full squad to chose from.

The outcome of the match was decided in the first half when the visitors romped to three goal lead. There was little between the teams in terms of possession but in terms of finishing Stenhousemuir proved to be the team with the cutting edge. They scored two goals through brilliant strikes and although Annan partially contributed towards the Warriors second goal it was very much a half that the visitors could be pleased about.

The opening 25 minutes were evenly contested until the 28th minute when Ryan Blair collected a pass from Callum Moore and finished with a stunning low strike from 20 yards which ripped into the bottom right hand corner of the net past the helpless Annan keeper Lyle Avci. Five minutes later the visitors doubled their lead it was a simple ball played over the top of the Annan defence which caught Annan out with Swinglehurst and Avci caught in 2 minds with the ball breaking wide to the right to Hopkirk who’s cross found Botto Biabi one on one with the Annan keeper and the Warrior’s striker finished clinically to give the vistors a two goal cushion.

Annan’s first half misery was then concluded in the 42nd minute when Callum Moore collected a cross pass from David Hopkirk finishing with a stunning 25 yard shot into the corner of the net to give Avci no chance.

The second half was evenly contested with little between the teams in terms of possession but Annan could not penetrate the well organized Stenhousmuir defence who curtailed Annan to only one strike on target from their trialist 5 minutes from time. Wilkie managed to get the ball in the net from a Nade back header but the goal was correctly called offside.

ANNAN ATHLETIC – Lyle Avci, Michael Hewitt, Jamie Ballantyne, Mark Docherty, Peter Watson, Steven Swinglehurst, Scott McLean ( Trialist 70 min ), Kyle Bradley, Tommy Muir, Kyle Wilkie, Christain Nade. Subs not used – Alex Mitchell , Jordan Holt, Ayrton Sonkur, Harry Emerson, Russell Currie.

STENHOUSEMUIR – Graeme Smith, Jonathan Tiffony, Scott McLaughlin, Robert Wilson , Jordan Armstrong, Sean Burns, Ryan Blair ( Connor McBrearty 68 min ), Connor Moor, Greg Spence, David Hopkirk ( Connor McBride 65 min ), Botto Biabi, Subs not used . Mark McGuigan, Abdelhak Massagougahou, Thomas Hallerhan, Kyle Marley GK.

Referee. Grant Irvine, Asistants – Stuart Hodge and Andrew Bryson

Crowd 286

The league is starting to hot up, victories for Queens Pak, Elgin City and Stirling Albion resulted in all three teams leapfrogging Annan . Queens Park defeated Cowdenbeath at Hampden with the winning goal being scored in the 9th minute. Brechin City looked to picking up a precious victory until 2 late goals in the 83rd and 86th minutes secured the points for Elgin City who are now back in the play off position leaving Brechin firmly routed to the bottom of the league. Stirling Albion secured a great result defeating Edinburgh City 1-0 to move Stirling Albion into a promising position and denting City’s title hopes . Albion Rovers secured a share of the points against Cove Rangers with a 2-2 draw .

 
 
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