10/05/2008 : Annan Win south challenge cup




Annan Athletic won the inaugural SFA Challenge Cup with a last minute goal at Netherdale Gala, in a match where the outcome was in doubt right up to the final whistle. Edinburgh City started the match with some excellent football which had Annan rocking and it was no surprise when City swept into a two goal lead before Annan staged a great comeback culminating in a dramatic last minute winner.

Edinburgh City started the match in positive fashion and Annan looked uncomfortable as the City attack pressed forward. Jordan Hall who had an excellent match sent out an early warning to Annan when he rifled in a shot from the edge of the box. City forced the first corner of the match in the 7th minute and John Hall’s speculative effort deflected off Robbie Ross into the arms of Dougie Calder in the Annan goal. It was all City as Annan struggled to contain the rampant City team . In the 10th minute the Annan team breathed a huge sigh of relief when Steven Clee weaved his way through the Annan defence to finish with a shot which struck the upright and into the arms of keeper Dougie Calder. Annan had no answer to City’s dominance and it came as no surprise when Edinburgh City went in front in the 25th minute. It was a well worked goal created in mid field which carved open the Annan defence , Steven Clee was the inspiration for the goal when he threaded the ball through the heart of the Annan defence to Robbie Ross who read the pass perfectly to finish with an emphatic finish from 10 yards. It was no more than Edinburgh City deserved and their superiority at this stage was confirmed with a second goal in the 35th minute. The dangerous Jean Ferrier was the creator with a penetrating run down the left sweeping aside the challenge of Stuart Hill and ending with a perfect ball cut back into the path of Robbie Ross who guided the ball into the corner of the net from 6yards. Annan were in deep trouble and had never seriously threatened the Edinburgh City defence but in the 41st minute Annan were handed a lifeline when Graeme Bell’s shot from 24 yards struck Scott Hunter on the upper arm and referee Steven Nicoll’s who was perfectly placed had no hesitation in awarding Annan a penalty kick. Mike Jack’s spot kick was perfectly placed beyond Duncan Monteith and Annan were back in the match. City finished the half in familiar territory taking the game to Annan and Jordan Hall tested keeper Calder with a good effort.

If the first half belonged to City it was Annan who upped the anti in the second half. Within minutes of the restart Graeme Bell cut the ball back to Peter Watson who failed to hit the target from a promising position, the move however signalled the start of a new phase in the match. Annan continued to press forward and in the 50th minute squared the match, Chris Jardine created the goal with a perfect cross to Darren Johnstone who eluded his markers to drift in at the back post to head the ball into the corner of the net from close range. With 55 minutes played Edinburgh City won a free kick 30 yards out and Ross McNamara’s kick was flicked on by Scott Hunter who was denied a goal by the cross bar. It was a warning for Annan but they continued to press forward and efforts from Jack, Hill and Dunglinson all tested the City defence and keeper Duncan Monteith. Jamie Sped was introduced at the expense of Jean Ferriera in the 70th minute in an effort to stem Annan’s growing dominance on the match. Calder then pulled off a confident save from a speculative Robbie Ross shot from the edge of the box. With 10 minutes remaining Chris Norval replaced Danny Dunglinson as Annan manager Harry Cairney went for burst up front. With extra time looming Annan had a let off when Robbie Ross intercepted Peter Watson’s 85th minute back header but the City striker failed to direct the ball on to the target with the ball hitting the side netting. The match appeared to be heading for extra time until a last minute Alan Inglis cross was delivered to the heart of the City defence and once again it was Darren Johnstone who read the ball perfectly to rise above everybody to head the ball wide of the diving Duncan Monteith. It was the final action in an enthralling cup final and the victorious Anna team had created a piece of history by becoming the last team to win the Qualifying Cup South and first team to win the SFA Challenge Cup South. The cup was presented to the victorious Annan team by SFA Board member Rod Petrie.

Annan Athletic manager Harry Cairney was delighted to have masterminded the victory, we did not start well , City were always on top and their front pairing of Robbie Ross and Steven Clee caused us no end of trouble and they were worthy of the two goal lead at that point. The penalty proved to be the turning point in the game. Obviously to win the cup is good for the players, supporters and club especially after our disappointing performance in the league.

City manager Shaun McManaus was disappointed to have lost out , I thought we were heading for extra time, the penalty was the turning point in the game it was a big decision which went against us. It was a game of two halves and had Scott Hunter’s effort at 2-2 gone in instead of striking the bar then we could have won the cup.

Annan Athletic – Calder, Sloan, Inglis, Hill, Watson, Jack, Dunglinson ( Norval 81 min), Jardine, Bell, Johnstone, Short. Substitutes not used – Walker, Ruddick, Murray and Coultart.

Edinburgh City – Monteith, Hall, Gair, Macnamara, Morrison, Hall, Caddow, Hunter, Ross, Clee, Ferrier ( Speed 70 min) Substitutes not used C Monteith, Ksai, Campbell, Hogarth.

Referee – Steven Nicolls.

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