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Peterhead FC 2
Annan Athletic FC 0
2nd September 2017
Alex Mitchell,  Blair Henderson,  Ellis Pearson,  Owen Moxon,  Peter Murphy,  Scott Hooper,  Peter Watson,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Rabin Omar,  Brandon Luke (Daniel Orsi, 64),  Aidan Smith (John Cunningham, 80),  
Ayrton Sonkur,  Jack Brannan,  James Creaney,  Jim Atkinson,  

Annans hopes of progressing in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup were dashed by Peterhead on Saturday. It was very much a match of two halves with the wind having a bearing on the outcome of the match.

Annan enjoyed the majority of play in the first half but their failure to take the couple of scoring opportunities which came their way in the first half left them with a lot to do in the second period.
The second half was a reverse of the first with Peterhead making the best of the strong wind in their favour and the introduction of double substitutes Willie Gibson and Rory McAllister in the 66th minute made an impact as Peterhead took the game to Annan limiting Annan to very few scoring opportunities in the second half.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine and both managers made changes to their sides, Annan gave debuts to Ellis Pearson and Blair Henderson, Owen Moxon and Alex Michell were also given a starting place, Peterhead boss Jim McInally also took the opportunity to introduce several changes to his line up.
Annan started brightly with the thrust of their attack being directed through Aiden Smith. Smith tested keeper Fraser Hobday with a low shot in the 12th minute. Minutes later Annan conceded a free kick from a dangerous position but Scott Adams effort never really tested Mitchell in the Annan goal. This was then followed by another free kick conceded by Annan from an almost identical position but this time the effort sailed over the bar.
Annan forced a couple of corner kicks but both corners were too deep to cause any problems. Brandon Luke squandered the best opportunity of the half after Aiden Smith unlocked the Peterhead defence but the shot failed to hit the target. Minutes later Annan created another golden opportunity when Blair Henderson sent Aiden Smith in from the bye line but the striker failed to hit the target and the opportunity was lost.
As the match approached half time Hooper conceded a free kick 28 yards out but once again the advantage of the set piece came to nothing with McIlduff’s effort not seriously testing Mitchell. It was frustrating half for Annan against a Peterhead team who defended well to set them up for the remainder of the half.
The home team started the second half winning a free kick wide on the left and Jason Brown ghosted in at the back post heading wide of the target. It was the first real opportunity which Peterhead had created but it was warning to Annan. Peterhead made the breakthrough in the 58th minute and it is a moment in the match that Swinglehurst will look back on with some regret as his challenge from behind bundled Russell McLean to the ground leaving the referee with no option but to award a penalty kick. McLean stepped up and dispatched the ball into the corner of the net.
It was the beginning of the end for Annan  Peterhead then brought on McAllister and Gibson and from here on you almost sensed that Annan were in trouble. The home team were then denied what looked like a stone wall penalty after Ellis Pearson’s short pass resulted in Alex Mitchell and Nicky Riley clashing with Mitchell appearing to take out the Peterhead attacker. Mitchell then pulled off a good save at full stretch to deny Riley as the home team went all out to secure the match.
McAllister dented any hopes Annan had of progressing to the Quarter finals in the 77th minute when he collected Gibson’s low corner to make space for himself and finishing with an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. The goal appeared to resign Annan to defeat and for the remainder of the match Peterhead looked comfortable and deserved their place in the last eight of the challenge cup.
Jim McInally praised his team for a good performance particularly in the first half when they went in at half time without conceding a goal. We knew the wind would be a factor and we worked hard in the second half to control the game and scored a couple of goals. It was a diabolical decision not to award us a penalty but overall I was very pleased with the performance.
Peter Murphy said the penalty changed the game along with the set piece from the corner which lead to the second goal, “I was disappointed the way we finished the game when we went 2 goals down it looked like we were accepting defeat at that stage. We should have done better from the two clear openings that we created in the first half in the first half. It was a long journey and overall the players equipped themselves well but they must learn from these experiences.”

Peterhead: Fraser Hobday, Jason Brown, Aiden McIlduff, Mason Robertson, David McCracken ( Scott Brown 21 min), Simon Ferry , Scott Adams,(Willie Gibson 66 min), Marc Lawrence, Russell McLean ( Rory McAllister 66 min), Alan Smith, Nicky Riley Substitutes not used: Greg Fleming, Jack Leitch, Paul Cairney.

Annan Athletic – Alex Mitchell, Scott Hooper, Ellis Pearson ( James Creaney 81 min), Peter Murphy, Peter Watson, Steven Swinglehurst, Blair Henderson, Owen Moxon, Aiden Smith (John Cunningham 80 min), Brandon Luke ( Dan Orsi 64 min), Rabin Omar. Subs not used Jim Atkinson (GK), Ayrton Sonkur, Jack Brannan

Referee – Craig Napier ​Assistants Chris Phillips and Will Smith.​​

Crowd 529

 
 
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