League One / Galabank / Attendance:
Sat 13 Apr 24 / 14:00

Annan Athletic




Cove Rangers



More defensive woes contributed to a loss which could have a major impact on our dreams of making the top four.

Annan were gifted a 2-0 lead from corners, Goss and Douglas unmarked when scoring, but we battled back to level by the interval through Connell and Kerr. That was to be the highpoint of the match for us, Luissint and Walker clinching the victory for the home side after the break.

The manager made three changes for the long trip south with Balint Demus, Paul McGowan and fit again Rumarn Burrell all restored to the starting line-up. Suman, Gillingham and Jones dropped to the bench as Paul Hartley reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.

On a cold, blustery afternoon, Annan kicked-off, but it was Cove who threatened first, Kyle Connell’s long throw running through to Connor Scully at the back post. Under pressure, the midfielder failed to connect properly, and his shot was saved comfortably by Fleming.

Scully was again involved soon after, winning a corner on the left which was taken short. McGowan rolled it back to Fraser Fyvie who sent in an inviting cross, Muir just beating Mark Reynolds to the ball and conceding another corner.

That delivery was half-cleared, Fyvie sent in a clever pass, and Burrell found himself free in the area. The striker took the ball wide, but got his shot off, Fleming making a save at the near post.

Rumarn fell awkwardly in the tenth minute and required treatment, but was thankfully able to continue.

With the rain now driving into their faces, the players continued to dominate possession, and looked to have gone ahead in the thirteenth minute. Fyvie and Paul McGowan linked-up well in midfield before Fraser rolled the ball into Burrell. He laid it off for the overlapping Arron Darge who fired in a superb cross, McGowan converting as he dived in at the back post. Our celebrations were cut short when the assistant raised his flag to signal offside.

Annan countered and created their first opening, MacIntyre crossing from the left and finding Benjamin Luissint in the box, but the big midfielder headed over from eight yards.

We were enjoying plenty possession, but unable to make any kind of breakthrough as the home side sat deep, and then, following a swift counter-attack, Annan took the lead. Smith crossed from the left and Luissint let fly from fifteen yards, Balint diving to make a superb save, pushing the ball behind for a corner.

Gibson swung in the delivery from the right and the towering Tommy GOSS, unmarked, sent an unstoppable diving header high into the roof of the net.

The boys tried to hit right back, but Kyle Connell’s low shot lacked power, and was saved easily by Fleming.

The second goal came in the twenty-ninth minute and was again down to poor marking as we attempted to defend a corner which had been conceded by Reynolds. Gibson sent in the same delivery, and this time it was Matty DOUGLAS who had the freedom of the area to sidefoot home.

We snatched a lifeline three minutes later. Mark Reynolds sent a long pass forward, Douglas got to it, but could not retain control, and Kyle CONNELL passed the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Reynolds then sent in another inviting delivery, but Fyvie failed to get sufficient purchase on his header, and Fleming gathered comfortably.

With the pitch briefly bathed in sunshine, both sides enjoyed spells of possession without seriously threatening, until we very nearly levelled on the stroke of half time. McGowan chipped a superb cross into the box which Connell met with his head, Fleming pulling off a superb low save before Douglas smashed the ball out for a corner.

The goal was delayed only briefly. Fyvie swung in a pinpoint delivery which was flicked on, and Josh KERR climbed highest to head home at the back post.

Annan made the brighter start after the interval, Demus collecting a couple of crosses, then Scully forced a corner in our first attack of the half, the home defence scrambling the ball clear.

Good pressing by Sena forced Greg Fleming into conceding a throw-in and from Connell’s long delivery, we very nearly nudged in front. The ball bounced into a dangerous area and Rumarn Burrell’s header beat the keeper, only for Douglas to hack it away off the goal line.

Scully then flashed in an accurate cross, but Connell failed to properly control the ball, and he was crowded out before he could get his shot away.

Benjamin LUISSINT collected a booking for tugging back Sena, moments before putting the home side back in front. Picking the ball up thirty yards out, there appeared to be no danger, but the midfielder caught his shot superbly, and it flew into the roof of the net.

Nugent worked his way into the box soon after, Demus making an excellent save to prevent his cross finding a team-mate, then we countered, Burrell driving the ball off Douglas to win a corner, which came to nothing.

Fyvie sent in a cross, finding Connell, but the home defence swarmed all over the striker and his shot was charged down. Annan then broke upfield to double their advantage. Josh WALKER skipped away from Kerr, rounded Reynolds, and from just outside the area, curled a low shot beyond Demus and inside the far post.

To make things worse, both Connor Scully and Fraser Fyvie went down injured in separate incidents, the latter being forced to limp off to be replaced by Will Gillingham.

Kyle Connell raced in behind and rounded the onrushing Fleming, only to be stopped by the assistant raising his flag. He looked onside.

It was to be the last action of the game, another bitterly disappointing defeat severely damaging our hopes of making the playoffs.

ANNAN ATHLETIC (4-1-3-2): Fleming; Galloway (Nugent 56), T. Muir, Douglas (c), MacIntyre; Gibson (Ndiweni 90); Luissint, Hunter, Smith; Walker (Maxwell 90), Goss

Substitutes: Heraghty, R, Muir, McMenamin, Quitongo, Watson

Goalscorers: Goss (23), Douglas (29), Luissint (67), Walker (80)

Booked: Galloway (39), Luissint (64), Gibson (90)

COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Demus; Darge, Kerr, Reynolds, Doyle; Fyvie (c) (Gillingham 86), Sena, McGowan, Scully; Burrell, Connell

Substitutes: Suman, Jones, Stewart

Goalscorers: Connell (32), Kerr (45)

Booked: Reynolds (90)

Referee: Stewart Luke

Attendance: 416

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