Elgin City slump to home loss to Annan Athletic in League Two
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ELGIN City suffered their first home league defeat of the season as a 2-0 loss to Annan Athletic left the Borough Briggs club hovering just a point above the bottom of League Two.
A red card for keeper Daniel Hobamn compounded a poor afternoon for the Moray men.
Manager Gavin Price made four changes to the starting line-up which drew 1-1 at Kelty the week before.
A goalkeeping change saw Daniel Hoban come in for Tom McHale, Tony Dingwall missed out due to a poisoned toe and Creag Little and Angus Mailer dropped to the bench, with Nathan Cooney, Aidan Sopel and Conor O’Keefe all coming in for a start.
Top scorer Kane Hester was listed among the subs despite a hamstring injury, and hje was later to make a brief appearance.
The game didn’t start well for Elgin as they conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal and Owen Moxon stepped up to curled a fine effort past Hoban on just three minutes.
Russell Dingwall tried Elgin’s first shot which was blocked for a fruitless corner while Annan scorer Moxon was given another shooting chance from a similar distance but dragged his effort wide.
The home side missed a golden chance when Brian Cameron and O’Keefe combined to set up Archie Macphee ten yards from goal but he hoisted his strike over the bar.
Straight to the other end, Annan looked poised for a second when Dom Docherty set up Chris Johnston for a shot which beat Hoban but Darryl McHardy was well positioned to clear near the goal-line.
Tommy Wallace had the ball in the Elgin net on 27 minutes but he was flagged offside.
Ten minutes before the break another Annan raid saw Docherty pick out Smith in the box but his effort was too weak to beat the diving Hoban.
It was gamble time for Elgin, with top scorer Hester fired into action as a half time sub with Sopel making way for the front man.
Annan had the first scoring chance of the half on 50 minutes when Johnston’s cross from deep on the right found Iain Anderson who headed straight at Hoban.
Hester’s first burst of action saw him race on to a MacEwan pass but his flick was blocked by the outrushing Greg Fleming on 53 minutes.
It was clear that Hester was far from fully fit but City were hoping his appearance could give the team a much-needed lift.
MacEwan tried his luck with a 35-yard effort which fizzed narrowly over the target on 66 minutes.
Five minutes later a home attack saw Nathan Cooney cross and Russell Dingwall dummy but Macphee miscued in front of goal to allow Annan to clear.
The visitors’ blatant time wasting tactics eventually caught the attention of the ref with a yellow card for Roan Steele, with Elgin’s frustration growing by the minute.
Price added another striker to the mix, trialist Olly Hamilton who scored five goals for the under-20s during the week.
And the gamble on Hester failed when the sub was subbed with ten minutes to go, Josh Peters coming on with ten minutes to go.
Another Elgin sub Creag Little was inches away from levelling with a header from a Dingwall free kick which scraped past the far post.
Another goal did arrive on 85 minutes and it was a clincher for Annan as Moxon’s free kick was nodded across goal by Steven Swinglehurst and Matty Douglas was on hand to flick home from close range.
City’s misery was completed in stoppage time when keeper Hoban dashed out of his box and fouled Aidan Smith to earn a straight red card.
Captain Euan Spark took over the gloves and did well to save Smith’s free kick in the final act of a poor afternoon for the Black and Whites.
Elgin: Hoban, Cooney (Trialist 72), Spark, McHardy, Grivosti (Little 85), MacEwan (Allen 89), R. Dingwall, Cameron, Sopel (Hester 46, Peters 80), Macphee, O’Keefe.
Subs: Lawrence, Machado, Mailer, McHale.
Annan: G.Fleming, Steele, Lowdon, Moxon, Douglas, Swinglehurst, Wallace (Purdue 83), Docherty (Hunter 89), Smith, Anderson (McCartney 72), Johnston (K. Fleming 83).
Subs: Goss, Birch, Hunter, Barnes, Adamson.
Ref: Mike Roncone