Friday, 25 March 2011

Annan Athletic - Galabank

19th March 2011

Annan Athletic 2-1 Montrose

The day out to Annan began with an inauspicious start, as a wheel trim somehow escaped its cable ties and disappeared free-wheeling down the M8 – these buggers cost me around £15 each to replace.  Arriving at my destination over an hour before kick-off allowed me access to that wee executive car-park just to the north of the ground.  

I also took the opportunity of a leisurely meander along the banks of the River Annan in the crisp spring sunshine, listening to Abbey Road on the MP3 player.  I was reminded once more just how fresh that medley of tunes which closes the album sounds.  Well…………. maybe not “Mean Mr Mustard”.

Down by the water there were a number of small plaques where trees had been planted in memoriam of departed loved ones, for whom this walk had plainly meant something special.  I came across one where the tree – a sapling really - had been snapped off quite deliberately, and it set me wondering what sort of a person would derive any measure of satisfaction from doing such a thing.  I imagined the family coming along the walk, and being heartbroken upon discovering what had been done and, like me, wondering why 

What can I say?

Everholm Stadium, Annan.

Doubling back to Galabank I passed Everholm Stadium, where Gretna 2008 had played for a spell before being given access to Gretna FC’s former home Raydale Park.  This was not the first time I had visited Galabank, as in my Caledonia Dreaming incarnation I had dropped in on the ground in 1998.  

The ground was, of course, a non-league one back in those days and, since admittance to the Scottish League, the black painted shed had been superceded by a neat little stand.  Breeze-block in a rather fetching pink had also replaced the chain-link fencing which had enclosed the ground.

The entrance to Galabank.

View from the stand.

The stand at Annan Athletic's Galabank

The Galabank Pavillion.

Annan enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first-half without really creating an awful lot, and it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 21 minutes; Paul TOSH heading in Dougie Cameron’s free-kick.  Annan’s few half-chances were squandered as their forwards contrived to slip and tumble on the greasy pitch at the crucial time on three separate occasions.  To paraphrase Billy Connolly: “There is no such thing as bad conditions, just the wrong boots”.

The match turned on its head, however, just after the break.  On 47 minutes, a quick ball forward caught out the Montrose defence, and Ian HARTY sprinted away to slip the ball over visiting ‘keeper, the Argentine born Ramiro Gonzales.  3 minutes later HARTY made it 2-1, smartly converting a penalty-kick awarded after Montrose defender Alan Campbell had handled on the line.

Montrose 'keeper Gonzales looks less than commanding
 attempting to deal with this corner in the first-half.

Ian Harty's penalty puts Annan 2-1 up.

The game then opened up into a quite enthralling affair as Montrose, down to 10 men, realised they had to throw caution to the wind if they wished to salvage anything from the day.  Annan’s David Cox looked to have scored a third around the hour, when he stroked the ball home after it had squirmed from Gonzales’ grasp, but the referee, quite bafflingly, decided he had impeded the ‘keeper in some way.  The visitors’ best chance to snatch a draw fell to Tosh, but he failed to beat Annan’s Craig Summersgill when sent through one-on-one.

So, despite a plethora of second-half goalmouth action, 2-1 it finished; a fourth consecutive with for the Galabank outfit, keeping their promotion challenge well on course.  For Montrose player/manager Steven Tweed this was to be his last match in charge, the former Scotland B Internationalist deciding to resign in order to concentrate on his real job with the Royal Bank of Scotland where, presumably, he does not have to endure numpties chanting “Tweedy, Tweedy. Get tae Fuck”, when things don’t go quite as planned.   

Steven Tweed (centre) leaves the park at half-time in what
would be his last match as Montrose Player/Manager.

The Steven Tweed Appreciation Society

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