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Elgin City suffer fourth straight defeat in 2-0 loss to Annan Athletic

Elgin's Kane Hester takes on Annan Athletic player Steven Swinglehurst.
Elgin's Kane Hester takes on Annan Athletic player Steven Swinglehurst.

Elgin City’s struggle near the foot of League 2 continued as they lost for the fourth consecutive game, beaten by promotion chasers Annan Athletic.

First half strikes by Lewis Hunter and Aidan Smith floored a City side low on confidence at the moment.

Black and Whites boss Gavin Price made just one change from the team that lost to Stranraer on Saturday, with Daniel Hoban taking over in goal from Tom McHale who was unavailable due to work commitments.

An Annan side unbeaten on the road since November 13 made a good start with a spell of possession play to ease their hosts back on their heels.

The opening goal arrived for the south side on seven minutes, a fine passing move worked into the box and Tommy Goss found Lewis Hunter with a first time pass which he guided wide of Hoban into the net.

City looked for a quick reply and created a chance just inside the area for Angus Mailer but he flashed a drive wide of target.

Changing their formation from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 in response to the goal, Elgin continued to attack and Tony Dingwall weaved his way into a scoring position only to hoist the ball over the bar on 12 minutes.

Elgin’s Evan Towler stops the progress of Annan’s Charlie Barnes.

Annan came back with an Aidan Smith run from midfield before trying his luck from 20 yards with a strike which flew too high.

Mailer saw another strike for Elgin touched wide by keeper Greg Fleming on 21 minutes and from the corner, Rabin Omar was inches away with a shot from the edge of the area.

City were piling on the pressure and should have levelled on 23 minutes when Kane Hester nicked the ball off Annan stopper Matt Douglas but keeper Greg Fleming saved the striker’s dinked effort.

Two minutes later Omar fired in another drive on the Annan goal which Fleming again saved well diving to his left.

Rabin Omar in action for Elgin City.

Home frustration grew to bewilderment when Annan were awarded a disputed free kick 30 yards from goal. Owen Moxon’s kick evaded the home defence and Aidan Smith was given acres of space in the box to spin and slip the ball in for Annan’s second goal on 40 minutes.

A half time Elgin sub saw Aidan Sopel come on for teenager Fin Allen.

The home side won a free kick on 57 minutes and Russell Dingwall’s kick was blocked back to him for a shot which was blocked into the path of Darryl McHardy, who sliced high over.

There was plenty of attacking intent but little creativity in the second half from City, with Dingwall and sub Kevin Hanratty both shooting well wide.

Rory MacEwan in the air against Annan’s Tommy Goss.

Indeed it was Annan sub Rob McCartney who came closest to adding to the scoring in the closing minutes with a low drive held by Hoban as the game fizzled out.

Elgin now face a vital match on Saturday at bottom club Cowdenbeath, who are nine points behind them with three games in hand.

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