Annan Athletic v Stenhousemuir at Galabank, Annan on 7.5.19
Ladbrokes SPFL League One Play Off Semi-final First Leg Att 637
Annan Athletic 2 [Johnston 8, Sonkur 39] Stenhousemuir 0
Annan Athletic – Mitchell, Hooper [b90], Strapp, [b63] Wilson, Sonkur, Swinglehurst, Wallace [b45], Moxon, Smith, Nade [Muir 67] and Johnston. Subs not used – McAdams, Watson, Creaney, Brannan, Bradley and Fergusson
Stenhousemuir – Smith, Reid, Donaldson [b83], Neill [b84], Marsh, Gibbons, McGuigan, Cook [Duthie 68], Dickson, Munro and, Dingwall [b28][Watters 76]. Subs not used – McMinn, Ferry, Duthie, Breadner and Halleran
Referee – Steven Reid Assistants – Drew Kirkland and Joseph Lawson Fourth Official – David Lowe
After the game at Brechin the Warriors were relieved to be in the play-offs but they didn’t do themselves justice in the first leg and left themselves with an uphill struggle to stay in League One. It is possible that the exertions at Glebe Park with only ten men possibly contributed to a lacklustre start but that would do Annan an injustice.
Connor McBrearty was missing through suspension and Greg Hurst was absent through injury and Kieran Gibbons replaced Mark Ferry as the Warriors made three changes to the starting eleven.
The Galabank side took the game to Stenhousemuir from the opening stages of the game and they were rewarded for their efforts in the eighth minute of the game. Andy Munro tried to usher the ball to safety but Aidan Smith was able to win the ball and cut it back to Craig Johnston to drill home.
Smith was to prove a difficult player to control and there were several occasions when his namesake Graeme Smith came to the rescue of the visitors. At the other end of the pitch Alex Mitchell had little to do but he was almost beaten in the 37th minute when an Alan Cook corner was almost turned into his own net by Tony Wallace.
Any nerves that could have been induced in the Annan ranks were allayed a couple of minutes later when they scored their second goal through Ayrton Sonkur. When the half time interval came it was a relief that the Warriors were only two down after a poor 45 minutes.
The second half saw Stenhousemuir in a more attacking mode and Steven Swinglehurst made a double block the latter with his chest to deny Mark McGuigan. There were half hearted appeals for a penalty but it was more desperation than anything else.
On the hour mark Mitchell was eventually called into action as he produced a save from the top drawer. Alan Reid struck a long range effort that was deflected into the path of David Marsh and he touched it towards goal only to be denied by the keeper.
Tommy Muir replaced Christian Nade who had held the ball up well and this brought problems of a different kind due to his movement on and off the ball. Indeed he came close to extending the lead moments after his introduction but Graeme Smith saved from close range. Muir to his credit had kept on his feet to get the effort in when others would have went down and gave the referee a difficult decision.
Swinglehurst saw a header cleared off the line before the end of the game. Although there was a two goal margin Annan who had scored in their last 21 games would be confident of continuing their run in the second leg at Ochilview.
|May 7, 2019||7:45 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1 Playoffs||2018/19||90'|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|