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Annan Athletic 3-1 Clyde

Clyde face an uphill battle to retain their cinch League 1 status after a two-goal deficit leaves Annan Athletic in control of the Playoff Final.

Jim Duffy made a enforced triple change from the team that started the semi-final second leg with Barry Cuddihy, Euan Cameron and Martin Rennie replacing the injured Ross Lyon, Kyle Doherty and Cameron Salkeld.

The first opportunity of the match fell to Conner Duthie in the second minute after the ball landed at his feet at the edge of the box, but his effort rolled narrowly wide. Liam Scullion also fired a shot from long range, but it flew straight at Fleming.

Clyde continued their promising start as Duthie breezed into the box and squared the ball to Scullion, however, his shot was swiftly dealt with by the ‘keeper. However, the visitors would be left to contemplate spurning their early chances after Annan opened the scoring in the 18th minute with their first shot on target. The visitors failed to adequately deal with a corner and Kilsby capatialised on slack defending to fire a powerful strike into the top corner of the net.

As the match reached the half hour mark, play between the two sides became increasingly tight with both teams being consistently thwarted in front of goal. Smith latched onto Kilsby’s cross, but his header was calmly collected by Mullen, while at the other end, Jon Craig’s effort from a distance sailed off target.

Despite that, The Bully Wee hauled the match back to equal terms with a 33rd minute equaliser. Euan Cameron flicked the ball to Martin Rennie, who sent it back, allowing Cameron to drill a low composed shot past Fleming from distance. The Galabankies came close mere minutes later after Muir navigated opposition bodies in the box to attempt an effort from close range, however Sula was on hand to intercept and make the clearance.

Brian McLean was next to try his luck for the away side as he won possession from a corner kick in the 41st minute, but he couldn’t garner sufficient power with his header.

Lyon snatched control of the ball for the hosts after a scuffle in the box within two minutes of the restart, but his shot blazed agonisingly wide. Meanwhile, The Bully Wee were frustrated in the 52nd minute after three consecutive attempts inside the box from Rennie and Duthie were expertly blocked by a stubborn defence. The Galabankies then scuppered a chance shortly before the hour with Docherty’s header from a Gibson cross failing to trouble the ‘keeper.

The home side regained control of proceedings in the 67th minute courtesy of Kilsby again. Wallace sent in a teasing cross from the left hand side which was interpreted by Darren Hynes, however, he was tackled to the ground by Smith, which then enabled the Annan defender to pounce on the loose ball, drive forward and rifle the ball beyond Mullen.

Annan, relishing in newfound confidence from reclaiming their advantage, were relentless in pushing bodies forward and came close yet again in the 74th minute. Wallace waded into the box to connect onto Smith’s cross and was seemingly heading goalbound, however, Sula swiftly raced in front of the ball to divert it wide. The hosts then doubled their lead with eight minutes of normal time remaining, Smith directed the ball into the box and McLean’s clearance bounced off Sula and beyond Mullen into the net.

REACTION — Jim Duffy’s post match comments

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Picture by Craig Black