Spartans fall short against Annan

Posted on 22/07/2012 by

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A Michael Daly double was enough for Scottish Third Division side Annan Athletic to defeat hosts Spartans 2-1 in a pre-season friendly at Ainslie Park yesterday.

Keith McLeod trys to get a shot away. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

The Galabankies made the long journey north from Dumfries and Galloway but didn’t seem affected by the travelling as they controlled the fixture for large spells and always looked comfortable.  A first-half brace from striker Daly was enough in the end, even though a late surge from Spartans – including a delightful chipped goal from John Grant – threatened the Annan lead.

It was Spartans’ second preparation game in their schedule and after last weekend’s credible 0-0 draw with a Falkirk XI at home, manager Douglas Samuel was hoping to get another positive result from a Scottish Football League side.  The result didn’t go their way, but the performance showed promise and the late second-half attempts to get a draw will have pleased Samuel –  especially with seven first-team regulars missing.

Chris Anderson tries to hold of the defender. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

Annan took the lead after 17 minutes when Steven Sloan saw his shot parried by Spartans’ goalkeeper Chris Flockhart onto the post, only for number nine Daly to slam into the back of the net. It was an early blow for Spartans but it didn’t dampen their spirits.

Jordan Finnie came close to equalising for the home side as he saw his header from six yards go just by the ‘keeper’s left-hand post and out for the goal-kick.  Shortly after Finnie’s chance it was striker Keith McLeod’s turn to attempt to level the scoreline. He received the ball on the edge of the area before turning the Annan defender quickly and powering a shot just wide.

Annan thought they had doubled their lead after 36 minutes, but the tap-in was ruled offside.  Graeme Ramage tried his level best to double it for real but his shot from just inside the box was always rising and the ball went over the bar.  They did manage a second goal just before half-time when a good cross came in from the left and the 27-year-old Daly rose well to angle a header past the goalkeeper and into the net. Their half-time lead of two goals was very much deserved.

New signing Alistair Woodburn almost put Spartans in front in the opening minutes. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

Annan’s left-back Gary Thorburn was proving to be a good weapon for Harry Cairney’s side and it was his delivery three minutes into the second half that gave Daly a chance for a hat-trick, but he put his header just over.  Sean Wringe then wasted a great opportunity to pull his side back in the game when he blasted well over after cutting in from the left just inside the danger area.

With ten minutes left Steve Swinglehurst went close with a powerful header from a superb right-hand side delivery from Ramage, and the Annan number four could have paid for the miss as Spartans got one back minutes later. After finding some room on the right-side of the box, John Grant expertly lobbed Craig Summersgil, much to the delight of the home support. With six minutes left Spartans pressed for an equaliser but ultimately fell short as the game ended 2-1 to the visitors.

SPARTANS: Chris Flockhart, Robbie Manson, Gary Cennerrazzo, McCuish, O’Donnell, Mark Whatley, Alastair Woodburn, John Grant, Jordan Finnie, Keith McLeod, Sean Wringe.  Subs: Chris Anderson, Sean Palizcka, Neil Irvine, Ian McTurk.

ANNAN ATHLETIC: Craig Summersgil, John Blake, Gary Thorburn, Steve Swinglehurst, Michael McGowan, Scott chaplain, Steven Sloan, Tordyn McKechnie, Michael Daly, Graeme Ramage, David Murray.  Subs:  Alexander Mitchell, John Watson, Jack Steele, Ally Love, Graeme Bell, Kieran McGachie, Andrew Donnelly. 

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