Rangers rocked by Annan fightback

Annan Athletic 3, Berwick Rangers 2: BERWICK allowed hosts Annan to overturn a two goal lead in a disastrous five minute spell during the second half at Galabank on Saturday, leaving the Black & Gold marooned in ninth place after two games.

The most disappointing aspect of the contest was Rangers failure to kill off the home side after taking a 2-0 interval lead.

After a slow start, Rangers engineered a beautiful flowing move in the 10th minute, Lavery carrying the ball from the half way line to feed Addison, whose angled shot was kept out courtesy of a low diving block from Mitchell in the home goal. Two minutes later, Lee Currie banged a free kick over Mitchell’s bar from the same position he’d scored twice against Raith Rovers.

Rangers took the lead in bizarre circumstances on the 15 minute mark. Mitchell took a routine backpass from Thorburn but took an age to get the ball under control, by which time Addison had closed down his options. As Mitchell tried desperately to clear, Addison hung out a foot and deflected the clearance into Mitchell’s goal.

Annan recovered their composure enough for Swinglehurst to bullet a diving header over Bejaoui’s bar in the 17th minute, but it was Rangers who doubled their lead in the 25th minute when McLaren’s backside inadvertently deflected McDonald’s well struck corner beyond Mitchell.

To be honest, the scoreline flattered Rangers but no-one of a Shielfield persuasion was complaining. Annan broke forward in the 37th minute and let Rangers off the hook after Bejaoui parried Steel’s fierce drive back to Sloan, but the winger hammered the rebound over the top when it looked easier to score.

Rangers were abysmal in the second period, save for a late surge inspired by subs Jacobs and the energetic Craig Stevenson, whose aggression helped create a series of late half chances. Rangers begain the half sitting too deep, which had the dual effect of allowing Annan to press them and made it harder for the ball to stick up front, where Addison and Lavery were forced to feed off scraps, while McLaren was having one of those days that did’nt include taking on his man. With Lancaster getting the runaround from Ally Love, gaps started to open up in the Rangers defence though it took a very soft penalty decision to go against them for Annan to get on to the scoresheet in the 56th minute.

There was no question that Sloan’s driven cross struck Townsley’s hand, but the central defender had his hands pressed to his side and many referees would have waved play on in the circumstances. Unfortunately for Rangers, Ref Gavin Ross did’nt, and Chaplain buried the spot kick.

Annan levelled the scores three minutes later, Chaplain heading Jardine’s cross beyond Bejaoui. Annan’s lazarus-like recovery was completed in the 61st minute, when Steele picked the ball up in splendid isolation before homing in on Bejaoui, who half-blocked the shot which broke to Love for a tap in.

Steele then had a shot cleared off the line by Brydon as Annan rampaged through a defence that was now in tatters, the home side running out comfortable winners.

Annan: Mitchell, Blake, Swinglehurst, McGowan, Thorburn, Sloan, Chaplain, Jardine, Love, Steele, Daly (Donnelly 82).

Berwick: Bejaoui 5, Droudge 6, Townsley 6, Brydon 5, Lancaster 4, McLaren 4, McDonald 5, Currie 4, Janczyk 4, Addison 6, Lavery 5.