Stenhousemuir suffer narrow defeat in play-off hunt

Stenhousemuir boss Stephen Swift called his side’s 1-0 defeat to Annan Athletic just one of those days, as he admitted the loss could be crucial in the race for a League 2 play-off spot.

The Warriors, who have beaten Peter Murphy's side in the other three matches this campaign, dominated the match at Ochilview but couldn’t find the back of the net.

With 24 shots on goal, he didn’t know how his side weren’t on the scoresheet by full time.

Speaking to the Herald, he said: “It was just one of those days that you get once or twice a season but it has come at a time that can really make or break your season.

Robert Thomson can't believe it after his struck wide after rounding the goalkeeper (Pictures: Scott Louden)

"Our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make outwith the goal and I asked the team to show their character and they did.”

"Peter actually came over to me after the game and said how did we not score and take something from the game, which tells you all you need to know.

“We did everything expect score and we brought on Euan O’Reilly at half time for an injection of pace and he made a brilliant impact.

"Coming back from injury and putting in a performance like that is a good sign for us, with our remaining games coming thick and fast.”

Sean Crighton looks to win the ball back in midfield

Top goalscorer Tam Orr missed out through injury but Swift didn’t believe that played a part in the lack of composure in front of goal.

"In the last couple of months, we have actually had quite a few games where we have struggled to score,” he explained.

"It’s weird because, at the start of the season, we were scoring for fun but couldn’t keep a clean sheet. Now it feels like the other way about.

"Recently, we’ve been very good at the back but have not been as potent up front.

Euan O'Reilly claims for a spot kick after Michael Anderson went down

"We’re in a wee lull just now, for sure. As soon as we went one-on-one we seemed to lose a wee bit of focus.

"Tam missed out but he plays better going in behind and we had a lot of the ball, so I don’t think it would have made much of a difference.

"In the first half, he would have helped but, in the second half, we did so well that we just had to score.”

The Warriors boss also thought his side should have had a spot kick when Michael Anderson was felled in the box while looking to strike the ball.

He said: “Where I was standing Michael Anderson has volleyed it in the ground and there is contact for sure, he has ligament damage so that shows the contact.

"How the referee gave a corner from it I’ll never know, to be honest, but it felt like that sort of day, as I said.”

Stenhousemuir next face the long trip north to face ninth-placed Elgin City with just four matches to play left in the league season.

Play-off rivals Edinburgh City are three points ahead of the Warriors after they picked up a respectable point against leaders Kelty Hearts.

He said of the run-in: “It’s harder now than it was beforehand, for sure, but I believe we can do it and it three points isn’t much to claw back.

"We have a group of real characters that I know can do it and that starts at Elgin.

"They are down near the bottom but they beat Edinburgh City recently and, in this league, everyone can beat everyone on their day, so it will go down to the wire.”