Stirling Albion FC 3
Annan Athletic FC 1
17th December 2016
Blair Currie,  Nathan Flanagan,  Steven Swinglehurst,  Stephen Bronsky,  Jean Guy Lucas,  Callum Home,  Barry Cuddihy,  Aidan Smith,  Darren Ramsay (Rabin Omar, 76),  Max Wright (Peter Watson, 82),  Trialist (David McKenna, 87),  
Alex Mitchell,  Raffi Krissian,  Adam Asghar,  Przemyslaw Dachnowicz,  

Stirling Albion won this important match to reduce the gap at the bottom end of the table and now only three points separate six teams who are all likely candidates to battle out the position for the bottom of the table spot.

Annan got off to the best possible start going ahead in the opening minute when Aiden Smith’s darting run into the box was halted by a tackle from Ross Smith and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which Max Wright converted. Annan’s lead lasted 10 minutes until Darren Smith squared the game with a low shot from 17 yards which appeared to take a deflection on its way into the net.

The goal spurred the home team on and in the 15th minute Stirling went ahead after Annan conceded a corner kick and Darren Petrie’s corner was headed into the net by Ross McMillan. It was another disappointing goal for Annan to lose from a set piece.

Annan created a promising opening in the 29th minute when Nathan Flanagan’s cross picked out Aiden Smith who shot tested keeper Chris Smith. Stirling pushed forward forcing a couple of corners and in the 35th minute Ross McMillan’s powerful header from Petrie’s corner went narrowly over the bar. Max Wright went close at the other end when his shot went narrowly over the bar.

Annan started the second half on the attack with Chris Smith plucking Ramsay’s corner out of the air. Minutes later Flanagan’s poor corner was intercepted and set up Stirling with an opportunity but Morrison’s poor shot did not test Blair Currie.

Barry Cuddily’s 65th minute effort pulled out a good save from Chris Smith as Annan pushed forward. It was however Stirling who scored the important goal in the 75th minute which sealed the match in their favour after a penetrating run by substitute Dylan Nguene Bikey’s low shot found the net after Blair Currie saved the initial effort.

The bottom of the table is now a minefield with Cowdenbeath now occupying the bottom position after losing out to an injury time winner against Forfar, Berwick also lost an injury time winner to Montrose. It is going to be a long haul to the end of the season for the six teams occupying the bottom slots with Annan now in a position they have not been accustomed to in the past. The Christmas eve clash with Berwick Rangers at Galabank next Saturday takes on even more importance and Annan will be hoping that in the season of good will they will lift the points to give them the an ideal xmas present.

Stirling Albion : Chris Smith, Ross McGeachie, Jamie Mills , Ross Smith ( Scott Davidson 67min), Ross McMillan, Darren Petrie, Darren Smith (Dylan Nguene Bikey ), Angus Beith, Callum Morrison (Marc McKenzie 78 min), Calvin Colquhoun, Ross Kavanagh. Substitutes not used Cammy Vinnie GK, Brian Hodge, Blair Henderson, Eddie Ferns.

Annan Athletic : Blair Currie,, Jean Guy Lucas, Callum Home , Stephen Bronsky,Stephen Swinglehurst, Barry Cudihy, Nathan Flanagan, Trialist ( David McKenna 87 min). Aiden Smith, Max Wright ( Peter Watson 82 min), Darren Ramsay (Rabin Omar 76 min). Substitutes not used – Alex Mitchell Adam Ashgar, Raffi Krissian.

Referee Craig Napier Assistants Alan Mulvanny and Gary Farmer.

Crowd 694

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