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Berwick Rangers FC 0
Annan Athletic FC 2
19th September 2015
Jordan Hart,  Martin McNiff,  Peter Watson,  Steven Black,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Steven Sloan,  Josh Todd,  Matthew Flynn,  Bryan Gilfillan (Greig McDonald, 90),  Smart Osadolor (Stuart McColm, 87),  Rabin Omar (David Ferguson, 74),  
Blair Currie,  Jamie Watson,  Ryan McStay,  Scott Norman,  

The traditional three o’clock kick off was delayed by 30 minutes due to the Annan team bus breaking down en-route to the match. The delay however did little to dampen Annan’s appetite for the game as they bounced back from the defeat at Clyde the previous week with a good team performance and a justified victory over Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park. The victory leap-frogged Annan back to the top of the league for the second time this season after current joint leaders Clyde and Elgin City were both defeated by East Fife and Queens Park respectively.

 

Annan boss Jim Chapman made changes to his starting line up with Steven Sloan being re-instated back into the midfield at the expense of David Ferguson who was relegated to the bench and Bryan Gilfiilan made his first competitive start for on his return to the club. Berwick played some nice possession football but they provided very little threat up front to trouble a solid Annan defence which for the third time this season kept a clean sheet.

Annan opened the scoring in the 13th minute and the goal was well created in midfield with Sloan breaking play down and switching play from the left to the right with a 30 yard diagonal ball and Rabine Omar homing in on goal connected with the cross ball to volley the into the top corner. Berwick put this early set back behind them and their neat possession football had Annan chasing the ball, player manager Colin Campbell tried his luck with an effort from the edge of the box but the shot sailed over the bar. The only time Berwick looked like breaching the Annan defence was in the 25th minute when Graeme Beveridge’s effort struck the base of the post. It was a real let off for Annan whose play kept breaking down time after time. Berwick’s Darren Lavery was presented with a rare scoring opportunity just before the break when Rabin Omar conceded a free kick on the edge of the box but Lavery’s free kick went straight into the Annan wall and the opportunity was lost.

 

Berwick playing up the slope in the second half started promisingly with Jordan Hart pulling off a top class save to tip Hendersons header form a Beveridge’s cross over the bar. Annan responded with their second goal in the 57th minute, Josh Todd picked up McNiff’s thrown in with an intelligent run into the 6 yard box and in acres of space he slipped the ball across the face of the goal to Smart Osadolor who side footed the ball into the empty net from 4 yards for his 5th goal of the season. Matty Flynn then squandered a golden opportunity to seal the match in the 60th minute when he broke the play down 30 yards out and made a bee line for goal only to be denied when keeper Kevin Walker smothered his effort with Osadolor in a great position waiting for the pass that never came. Osadolor’s overhead kick from a Gilfillan flick went over the bar as Berwick struggled to contain Annan’s superiority at this stage of the match. Hart then denied Lavery in the 81st minute pulling off a save low down to deny the Berwick striker who latched onto a corner kick. With time running out Matty Flynn took exception to a bad challenge by McKenna on Swinglehurst which saw both Flynn and McKenna being booked.

Annan boss Jim Chapman praised his team for grinding out their second away victory of the season and inflicting Berwicks first home defeat of the season, “It was by no means a classic but we worked hard all over the pitch and made it difficult for Berwick to open us up. We defended well and kept a clean sheet which was pleasing especially after conceding 4 goals last week”.

This Ladbrokes League is turning out to be one of the most keenly contested leagues with only one point separating 6 teams. Annan’s next match at home to second placed Elgin City on Saturday has the potential to be another exciting spectacle, but the question is can Annan retain their place at the top of the league come Saturday evening.

BERWICK RANGERS:-Kevin Walker, Ewan McNeil, Ross Drummond, Colin Cameron (Robert Wilson ht), Steven Notman (Dwayne Coultress 80min), Jonny Fairbairn, Michael McKenna, Finn Graham, Blair Henderson, Darren Lavery, Graeme Beveridge (Barry Hogg 64 min).  SUBS NOT USED: Andrew Russell, David Morris, Keiran Ainslie, Mark Walters GK.

ANNAN ATHLETIC:- Jordan Hart, Steven Black, Steven Swinglehurst, Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan, Rabin Omar (David Ferguson 73 min), Mathew Flynn, Bryan Gillfillan (Greig Macdonald 89 min), Josh Todd ,Smart Osalodor (Stuart McColm 86 min). SUBS NOT USED: Blair Currie GK, Ryan McStay, Scott Norman, Jamie Watson.

Referee:-Scott Miller.    Assistants:- Graeme Stewart and Richard Murray.     Attendance:- 405

 
 
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