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Annan Athletic FC 2
Peterhead 1
22nd March 2014
,  ,  Martin McNiff,  Josh Todd,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Peter Watson,  Kenny MacKay,  Steven Black,  Iain Chisholm,   (Scott Davidson, 84),   (Kieran Brannan, 84),  
Zak Caldwell,  ,  ,  David Hopkirk,  Alex Mitchell,  

ANNAN EDGE CLOSER TO PLAY OFF ZONE

 Annan Athletic ensured that the SPFL Div 2 Title was kept on hold for the time being with a single goal victory over title favourites Peterhead at Galabank. In what was a must win game for the home team to retain any interest they had on the title, it looked dubious as Peterhead went ahead in the 15th minute but a 2 goal burst by the home team at the start of the second half overturned Peterhead’s lead to earn Annan the points and ensure that the title is put on hold for the time being for Peterhead.

The first half was fairly even with the only goal coming in the 15th minute courtesy of a dubious free kick awarded to the visitors on the edge of the 18 yard box after Steven Blacks challenge from behind on McAllister. From the resulting free kick the Blue Toon’s top goal scorer Rory McAllister  somehow managed to slip the ball past the Annan defensive wall and into the corner of the net past the desperate effort of Kenny Arthur in the Annan goal.

Annan squandered a great opportunity to square the match in the 20th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick after Gilfillan was adjudged to have handled Chisholm’s cross but Ally Love failed to convert the spot kick with Graeme Smith pulling off an important save low down. Annan continued to press for an opening and in the 30th minute they came close when Watson’s header from Mitchell’s corner was cleared off the goal-line. At the other end Arthur confidently dealt with a McAllister effort . Andy Mitchell then came very close  in the 39th minute when his 25 yard drive cannoned off the underside of the bar.

Annan started the second half, immediately taking the game to Peterhead straight from the kick off and within seconds they were level. Blair Henderson done the damage with a penetrating run to the edge of the box where he was stopped in his tracks and from the ensuing free kick Andrew Mitchell’s free kick was superbly taken to beat Graeme Smith low down at his left hand side. The goal gave Annan a real lift but in the 52nd minute they had a let off when within seconds Andy Rogers    struck the cross bar twice. Annan almost immediately broke from defence down the right with Blair Henderson combining with Kenny Mackay who released  Ally Love in on goal and Love  thundered the ball low and hard into the net from 10 yards to put Annan in front.

Annan almost increased their lead minutes later when Swinglehurst rose to head Mitchell’s corner  narrowly past the post. The visitors worked their way back into the match and Annan were forced back to defend in numbers as Peterhead worked their way back into the game. Peterhead were then dealt a blow when Ross Smith was sent packing for an over the top challenge on Kieran Brannon. Annan substitute Scott Davidson came close in the 87th minute when his shot slipped past the upright. Peterhead tried to unlock the resolute Annan defence who stood firm to secure a victory which very much retains their interest in the play off zone with the defeat delaying Peterhead’s job of lifting the SPFL Division 2 title to another day.

Peterhead boss Jim McInally was not to despondent despite his team being beaten, “There was a lot of tension in the game today and with Annan playing Albion on Tuesday evening at Coatbridge it could be down to a 5 point advantage but that could be disrespectful to Albion Rovers who had a good  result today and they are on the verge of the play offs, it will be an interesting game at Coatbridge . I knew that whatever happened here today we were still in a great position. What I did not want to happen did happen , I did not want any red cards or hassle but unfortunately I don’t think the referee was strong enough for the game which was disappointing.  I had a look at it earlier in the week and I thought that this game could have done with someone who has been over the coarse a wee bit and I felt it was all a bit too much for him for both teams, but that is life we just get on with it , Annan got the result today and Annan have done fantastic this year.”

Annan boss Jim Chapman commented “It was not a pretty game it was a game of getting the basics right it was a very nervous game, both teams did not play at all we tried to compete as best we could and we had a few chances, we got the basics right and I thought that’s what let us get back onto the game and our never say die attitude was brilliant. It was a good victory and I thought that on the balance of play we merited it but again some good quality players at Peterhead and always a threat we got a couple of good breaks in the second half but did not get any breaks in the first half. Winning a football match is educational you learn to win with humility and lose with humility a couple of weeks ago we were on the opposite end and now its Peterhead’s  turn at the end of the day there is a lot of professional respect between the two clubs , it’s a good 3 points for us and keeps us moving in the right direction. The harder you work the luckier you become and credit to my players they just kept working away and they got the breaks , delighted for Love to get the winner after missing the penalty. I was delighted to win the points . The gap at the top is big enough, this league is so competitive and everybody will beat everybody ,they are at the top on merit and  if they do go on and win the league  which I expect them to do then I know that from my club and from myself we wish them all the best.”

Ally Love  scorer of the winning goal praised the team spirit in the Annan dressing room , “the spirit in there is fantastic, the best I have ever experienced. We must now try and get the points at Albion to keep our hopes alive, its pointless winning here if we slip up on Tuesday evening.”

Annan Athletic – K Arthur, I Chisholm, M McNiff,  P Watson,  S Swinglehurst , S Black,  J Todd, A Mitchell, K MacKay , B Henderson (K Brannon 80 min)  , A Love (S Davidson 80 min) . Substitutes not used P Bradley, A Mitchell, J Moffat, D Hopkirk and Z Caldwell.

Peterhead – G Smith, G Sharp,  S Noble , R Smith, S Ross, D Cowie (F McLaren 65 min), A Rodgers , J Redman, R McAllister,  B Gilfillan (J Brown 62 min), R Strachan . Substitutes not used C McGlinchey, D Richardson, P Jarvie, A Low, R McCann.

Annan Athletic- A Mitchell ( 46 min) and A Love(53 min)

Peterhead – R McAllister (15 min)

Referee A Newlands                              Assistants  G Chambers and C Haswell                Crowd 452

 

 
 
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