Stenhousemuir 1 vs 0 Archive
Stenhousemuir 1 [Smith 44] Annan Athletic 0
This was an important game for both sides as they fought for the final play-off spot. Stenhousemuir have had a roller coaster of a season as they were top until January and then looked to be in terminal decline as they dropped down the table and out of the play-offs. However in the last two games they had beaten Berwick and Albion Rovers for the first back to back victories since September and by virtue of this had all of a sudden became favourites once again. Annan have had a steadier season but have exceeded all expectations from outsiders by competing so well after their step up from the lower senior leagues. The scenario was clear for this match as a win for Stenhousemuir would put Annan out of contention whilst a victory for the Solway side would make them favourites to secure fourth spot. With all three games this season being very evenly contested, it would not have been a surprise if the fourth draw between the clubs was the result and that would let Forfar back into the mix.
After their recent wins John Coughlin would have liked to have started the game with the same starting eleven but was unable to do so as Craig Molloy was suspended for this game. Stepping into the team was Paul Tyrrell who was probably the ideal candidate in the circumstances for the midfield battle where a lot of scrapping and battling was on the cards and ‘Bucket’ always relishes the challenge.
The game started frantically and Alan Brazil saw a header deflected wide in the first minute of the game, though in setting the tone for the rest of the game the assistant referee awarded a goal kick. A minute later Annan came close themselves and there was a real scare when Scott Bennett struck the ball off an Annan players back when clearing but luckily for the keeper nothing came of it. After this the game settled down and it was the 22nd minute before a Brazil diving header from an Iain Diack cross went just wide. The home side did have the ball in the net two minutes later but referee Neil Watters indicated that a foul had been committed and the scores stayed level. The Warriors tested Annan again in the 35th minute when a clearance was misjudged by the Annan defence allowing Robert Love to advance towards goal. He was unable to get a shot in but played the ball back to Kevin Motion whose effort from 25 yards was tipped over by Craig Summersgill. Annan came even closer and possibly should have scored in the 41st minute when a Lee Hollickin free kick fell to Peter Watson in the box but his effort from close range was stopped by Bennett. With only a couple of minutes of the half left a foray up the park by Alan Reid was halted abruptly by Kevin Neilson who chopped him down and was rightly cautioned. From the resultant free kick by Motion it fell to Diack on the left wing and he whipped a cross to the back post for Jordan Smith who showed composure to side foot a volley into the net. A number of Annan players complained that Smith was offside and certainly when he received the ball it was easy to see how they came to than conclusion but he had timed his run to perfection for the goal.
The second half started with a fine tip over by Bennett from a Mike Jack strike but to the astonishment of everyone a goal kick was awarded. The Warriors almost sealed the game in the 51st minute when a Chris McLeod ball behind the Annan defence was picked up by Diack and his effort back across goal struck the inside of the post but failed to go in. Annan’s Jamie Dunbar should have done better than fire over from inside the box on the hour when set up by Hoolickin from a Watson long throw in. This was to be the last real chance for the visitors as Stenhousemuir held firm throughout the rest of the game and although there was a scare when Bennett fumbled a cross in the main the home side was able to cope with everything that Annan threw at them.
In fact Stenhousemuir looked more likely to score as Annan began to throw more players up and were being caught out at the back. In the last minute a combination of Andy Brand and Scott Dalziel interplay ended with a fine save by Summersgill.
When the final whistle blew it was with a sense of relief in the home ranks that after a long sticky spell they still held the chance of promotion that had looked unlikely to many only a few weeks ago. They will now face a trip to Hampden in the semi-finals but if they continue to build on recent games they have a positive chance of doing something there.
Stenhousemuir – Bennett, Lyle, Reid, Thom, Smith, McLeod, Love [Brand 79], Tyrrell, Diack [Dalziel 64], Brazil [b51] and Motion. Subs not used – Thomson, Morgan and Renton
Annan Athletic – Summersgill, Watson, Hoolickin [Muirhead 80], Townsley, Neilson [b43], Jack, Sloan, MacBeth, Storey, Bell [Campbell 75] and Dunbar [Adamson 67]. Subs not used – Jardine and Calder
Referee – Neil Watters
Assistants – Stevie O’Brien and Colin Steven
|May 2, 2009||3:00 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1||2008/2009||90'|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|