Edinburgh City on cusp of play-offs after rip-roaring start against Annan Athletic
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Goals from Ryan Shanley and Ouzy See had Alan Maybury's side 2-0 up inside 20 minutes as the visitors were left feeling the effects of turning up late for the game, which was delayed until 7.55pm, thanks to problems getting to Ainslie Park.
Annan eventually managed to find their feet and pulled one back just before half-time through Dominic Docherty. They put their hosts under real pressure after the break but couldn’t find a second as City now sit four points clear of Stenhousemuir in the race for fourth. The Warriors play Stranraer on Saturday and need a result to take this race down to the wire.
"Playing on the Friday night it can be an advantage if we win the game,” said Maybury, in the position of interim boss following Gary Naysmith’s sacking in March. “So we wanted to get on the front foot, go out and do our bit and make sure we’re not chasing Stenhousemuir.
"We scored two good goals, could’ve scored more and really managed the game well.”
If Annan were a little cold, the home side roared out of the traps with a dominant performance in the first half-hour.
See snatched at a loose ball following a corner from the right, before Shanley was denied by an impressive stop from Annan keeper Greg Fleming.
The well-travelled, lower-league stalwart had no answer for Shanley's next effort, however, as the striker powered in a low drive on 13 minutes following a bit of combination play with See from a high ball forward.
The hosts then doubled their advantage with See the beneficiary. The lanky hitman knocked home from close range after captain Robbie McIntyre powered Danny Handling's corner toward goal.
Callum Crane came close to netting a goal-of-the-season contender as the ex-Hibs youngster powered forward from his own half, leaving three Annan defenders in his wake, before sending a rising shot over.
For their play, City deserved to go in at the break with a comfortable lead, though Annan were allowed to reduce the arrears in rather soft fashion on 42 minutes. Charlie Barnes was given too much space down the right to pick out Docherty with a cross. Though his got a fair bit of power in his header, Brian Schwake should have done better in the City goal.
Hibs loanee Innes Murray was then denied by Fleming as he sought to restore the two-goal advantage shortly into the second half.
Annan looked like they were going to have their equaliser with 15 minutes remaining as space opened up for leading scorer Tommy Goss inside the penalty box. The striker was denied by an incredible sliding block from Lee Hamilton, who appeared from nowhere to repel the attempt.
Murray had a curling effort saved by Fleming but otherwise it was all Annan in the closing stages as they ramped up the pressure.
It looked as though City had saw the game out with no further nerve-shredding chances to endure, only for slack play to allow substitutes Aidan Smith and Iain Anderson to combine. The latter looked certain to score at the back post, four minutes into stoppage time, but sent his effort wide.