Jan 25 2012 by Susan Bryden, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
Annan Athletic slip down the table with costly defeat
QUEENS Park leapfrogged Annan in the league with a deserved victory at Galabank on Saturday.
The Spiders imperious form continued as Gardner Speirs side came from behind to dump Annan into fourth position in the Irn Bru Third Division .
The visitors carved open Annans defence in the opening seconds when Paul McGinn and Craig Smith combined to release Jamie Longworth but the striker could only shoot into the side netting.
Annan responded immediately and struck gold in the second minute when Sean OConnor flicked on Aaron Muirheads throw for trialist David Winter to time his run to perfection before burying a low powerful effort round keeper Neil Parry to open the scoring.
The early setback did not deter the visitors, whose quick passing on the sticky surface had Annan stretched and a shot from Longworth and a Smith header proved threatening.
Annan started to impose their own threat and Queens keeper Neil Parry pulled off a fine save to deny OConnor before Ben McKenna clipped over an inviting back post cross for the big striker to try his luck again.
Parry then pulled off another fine save to deny Winter, who latched onto OConnors pass and fired an effort goalwards.
The visitors levelled the scores on 19 minutes after referee Andrew Dallas pointed to the spot after McKenna collided with Sean Burns in the box.
Martin McBride drilled the ball low to the left of Alex Mitchell and Queens Park, who hit Elgin for six last week, got a massive lift from the goal.
On-loan winger McKenna proved a threat down the right for Annan and in the 35th minute the Carlisle youngster tried his luck with a speculative overhead kick that wasnt far away.
With half-time approaching Annan had edged possession and Muirhead was unlucky not to put his side ahead when he headed past from Chris Jardines corner kick.
The Galabankies started the second period well but it was the visitors who got their noses in front, again as a result of another penalty five minutes into the second half.
Muirhead couldnt handle the pace of Watt on the right wing and his late challenge on the Hampden sides striker left the referee with no other option.
McBride stepped up again to drill the ball into the corner of the net, leaving Mitchell with no chance.
Annan boss Harry Cairney sent on Jack Steele, Steven Sloan and Ian Harty in his search for the equaliser but the home side couldnt force their way back into the game.
The visitors extended their lead with two minutes remaining when David Andersons through ball opened up the Annan defence for Smith, one-on-one with the keeper, to curl the ball into the corner of the net past Mitchell.
Annan pulled a goal back in the final minute when Harty teed up OConnor to fire a powerful shot into the corner of the net but proved to be little more than a consolation.
Harry Cairney had few complaints with the result and was left disappointed at his sides performance on a costly day where they slipped another place down the table.
He said: We did not play well and defended poorly today and when you concede two penalties in a game it makes it very difficult.
Our decision making was poor and our positioning and challenges at time were naive.
There was no denying the penalties.
The players are struggling to take things on board and consequently we are not winning enough games.
Spiders manager Gardner Spiers, whose team have now won five league games in a row, was delighted at the way his side responded after going behind. He said: Annan is a difficult place to come to and this is a great win for us today.
There is still along way to go, we are only at the half way stage but we are aiming for promotion.
Annan: Mitchell, Muirhead (Sloan, 65 min), McGowan, Gibson, Watson, Mitchell, McKenna (Harty, 75 min), Jardine (Steele, 65 min), Winter, OConnor, Cox. Subs not used: McKechnie, Summersgill
Queens Park: Parry, McGinn, Meggatt, Little, Gallacher, Anderson, Watt, McBride, Smith, Longworth, Burns. Subs not used: Bradley, Quinn, Daly, Ronald, Strain.
Referee: Andrew Dallas