Annan 2-0 Stenhousemuir; Warriors go down at Galabank

Stenhousemuir have an uphill battle to preserve their League One status after going down 2-0 to Annan Athletic in the first leg of their semi-final play-off.

By Craig Turnbull
Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 10:41 pm
Mark McGuigan can't prevent the second Annan goal
Mark McGuigan can't prevent the second Annan goal

The Warriors were second best throughout against the League Two side and fell behind to Chris Johnston's opener on eight minutes.

Stenny continued to struggle and were 2-0 down when Ayrton Sonkur headed in a second despite Mark McGuigan's best efforts on the line before the break.

Marsh had a glorious chance to halve the deficit but his volley from five yards was saved by Mitchell.

They will be looking for a much improved performance at Ochilview on Saturday if they have any hopes of playing League One football next season.

Annan started brightly, full of energy and playing at a fast tempo.

They were rewarded with an opening goal on eight minutes but it was the Warriors who were architects of their own downfall.

Livewire Aidan Smith proved to be a handful and he picked the pocket of Dingwall before playing the ball inside to Johnston who swept the ball past Graeme Smith.

If that was a wake up call for the Warriors they did not take heid as they continued to produce insipid and uninspiring football. Former Kilmarnock winger Johnston was causing all sorts of problems, he twisted and turned inside the box and fired a shot which was saved by Smith as Annan threatened to add to their tally.

Stenny had not been seen in an attacking sense, the closest they came to scoring in the first half was when Annan midfielder Tony Wallace miscued from a corner and almost put the ball into his own net but to the relief of the Galabankies it rippled the side netting.

Annan doubled their lead on 39 minutes and again it was dismal defending. A Johnston corner was not defended properly and Sonkur planted a header into the net despite the best efforts of the defender on the line.

There was a bit more urgency in Stenny's play in the second half and Marsh should have halved the deficit on 61 minutes but he couldn't execute his volley properly from five yards after Reid's initial effort took a wicked deflection.

Annan looked dangerous on the counter and substitute Tommy Muir almost bundled his way through the defence but Smith came out to smother the ball.

It could have been worse for the Warriors as Swinglehurst rose above the defence from a Johnston corner to power a header into the corner but McGuigan cleared off the line.