Valuable point at Montrose
Montrose .............. 1 Annan Athletic ..... 1
Annan’s fine away form continued with a hard-fought draw against second-placed Montrose.
The point was even more valuable following Steven Swinglehurst’s dismissal for a second yellow card with 20 minutes still on the clock.
Boss Peter Murphy was forced to make one change from the side which drew with Berwick Rangers the previous weekend, with Scott Roberts starting in place of the suspended Rabin Omar.
Montrose started the game positively winning a free kick on the edge of the box but Iain Campbell’s effort went well wide.
The home fans were on their feet after only seven minutes when Craig Johnston skipped past the challenge of Jack Brannan and fired a low cross to Chris Templeton who gratefully fired in from close range.
Templeton almost doubled the Gable Endies lead minutes later when his header crashed against the crossbar from Campbell’s corner kick.
It was a nervy start from the visitors but they gradually worked their way back into the game.
In the 17th minute Roberts squandered a golden opportunity to equalise when he headed wide from an inviting Dan Orsi cross.
Annan’s good spell continued as they took the game to Montrose and in the 23rd minute Orsi did well again to set up Blair Henderson who fired past the post.
Swinglehurst received his first yellow card on the half hour mark when he brought down Johnston on the half way line.
Annan finished the first half on the front foot. Scott Hooper’s 40th minute effort went over the bar before Peter Watson’s header from a Ryan Sinnamon corner was directed straight into the arms of keeper Alan Fleming.
Montrose started the second half exactly as they had in the first and, following a 52nd minute corner, Annan had keeper Jim Atkinson to thank when he saved Templeton’s well struck low shot with his feet.
Once again Annan worked their way into the half and in the 60th minute struck back when they won a free kick 30 yards out.
Sinnamon’s perfectly flighted free kick caused uncertainty in the Montrose defence, allowing Swinglehurst to level the tie from close range.
The centre back then received his second booking in the 70th minute for a challenge on Sean Dillon, forcing Murphy into a reshuffle which saw defender Ayrton Sonkar introduced at the expense of Roberts.
Down to 10 men, the visitors were fortunate to see Terry Masson’s well-directed shot hit the top of the crossbar as Montrose tried to prize open the Annan defence.
Now under the cosh, Peter Watson rescued his side late on by hooking a Graham Webster effort off the goal line.
In the dying minutes, Orsi opened up the defence and almost grabbed Annan all three points but his late effort sailed wide.
Steven Swinglehurst scored the goal but was later red-carded
Peter Watson made a goal-line clearance in dying minutes
Saint and sinner