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Annan Athletic FC 1
East Stirlingshire 2
29th October 2013
,  ,  Martin McNiff,  Peter Watson,  Matthew Flynn,  Kenny MacKay,  Peter Weatherson,  ,  David Hopkirk,  Josh Todd (Scott Davidson, 74),   (Kieran Brannan, 62),  
,  Steven Swinglehurst,  ,  ,  Alex Mitchell,  

East Stirlingshire kept top spot in a match that Annan boss Jim Chapman will want to forget in a hurry. The game was a real disappointment for the Black and Golds as the home side committed defensive suicide, assisted by what can only be described as controversial refereeing decisions. Following their encouraging performance against Elgin on Saturday Annan undone all their good work last Saturday with a disappointing performance at home on Tuesday evening against top of the table East Stirlingshire.

Annan started brightly with a golden opportunity in the first minute when he drilled over the bar form 10 yards following a corner and minutes later Todd connected with Hopkirk’s cross to force another corner. The game was then un-eventful up until the 26th minute when Annan’s defensive frailties were exposed after Watson failed to make a fairly routine clearance which presented Kevin Turner with a scoring opportunity but Kenny Arthur saved the day blocking the effort , the ball broke Bradley on the goal line also failed to clear his lies and was eventually judged to have fouled David Greenhill inside the penalty area. The referee appeared to get the decision to award the penalty wrong as the challenge was outside the box. Ian Thomson converted the spot kick to give Shire the edge.

The second half started with Annan taking the game immediately to their opponents and within minutes they were level. It was well constructed goal with Ally Love swinging in an inviting ball to the back post and Martin McNiff’s header was well saved by keeper Grant Hay but David Hopkirk lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range. Annan’s joy was short- lived as once again a poor decision to concede an unnecessary corner proved costly when the deep corner to the back post was headed across goal by the unchallenged Chris Townsley and the unmarked Jordan McKechnie was left with the easiest of opportunities to fire Shire ahead. The goal rocked the home side who clearly lost that initial momentum that the goal should have given them and it was not until late on that they started to impose their authority on the game. Annan appeared once again to be on the wrong end of a controversial decision by the referee in the 88th minute when Ally Love burst into the Shire penalty box and Ian Thomson clearly fouled Love with a clumsy challenge from behind but to the astonishment of the 301 fans within Galabank, the Annan winger was booked for simulation. This decision then sparked a melee that saw Davidson, Love and Flynn booked for the home some side and Townsley for the away side.

It was the final incident in a controversial match that left the fans bemused with Shire extending their lead at the top of the table and leaving Annan pondering on how they missed out on a golden opportunity to overtake the leaders at the top of the league. Annan boss Jim Chapman could not hide his frustration with his teams inability to capitalise on the opportunity presented and was critical of the teams shabby defending and poor decision making. “We have two important matches immediately ahead of us at Stenhousemuir in the cup on Saturday followed by the game at Galabank on Tuesday against Peterhead in the league and I will be looking closely at how we can eradicate the defensive mistakes that were evident tonight”. Annan – K Arthur, M McNiff, P Bradley (K Brannon 64min), A Mitchell, P Watson, M Flynn, K MacKay, J Todd (S Davidson 75 min), P Weatherson, D Hopkirk, A Love. Substitutes not used C Jardine, G Anderson, A Mitchell, S Swinglehurst, J Moffat

 
 
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