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The gradual process of improvement at Annan

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Chris Jardine | 17:42 UK time, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

After Saturday's fully-deserved and comprehensive victory over Forfar, I was really looking forward to writing my blog this week - until I remembered we still had to face league leaders Livingston beforehand.

I was a little worried about our recent good work being undone, but I needn't have worried; the lads are playing with self-confidence right now and it's showing during games.

I keep referring back to that awful night against Albion Rovers, but it has turned out to be a real turning point for us.

We are now on a six-match unbeaten run after Tuesday's goal-less draw at home to the best team in the division.

Apart from a wee bad spell in each of the recent Forfar games and the last half hour against Elgin, I think we can be really proud of our performances.

I don't believe we have been given enough credit recently, but Harry Cairney and Derek Townsley are happy men right now - and that's good enough for me.

When a team goes on a successful run, there are always questions asked as to why now and not before, and I think it's all down to us being more professional since our last defeat.

We have always been a team that works hard for each other.

We would probably admit that we're not the most talented squad in the division, but we are now beginning to believe that we can match any of the other nine teams if we combine that work rate with making the right decisions at the right times.

Harry and Degsy continued to drum it in to us to be more professional and clever and it's only been in these last few weeks we've really taken things on board. I'm not too sure everyone actually realised what they meant.

For me, the Forfar game was a prime example and I'm maybe being biased, but I really did think it was a fantastic performance from us.

We decided to play against the wind because we felt we could soak up some pressure and hopefully catch Forfar on the break.

We lost an early goal - but didn't panic - and gradually got back into the game and fully deserved our half-time lead.

In the second half, we knew Forfar would have to come at us once more but felt they would tire and we could again get in behind them late in the game; which we did, scoring three more goals.

To sum it up, I thought it was a very professional performance and our best of the season in that respect.

I've mentioned before about the majority of our players coming from a lower level of football when there probably wasn't as much emphasis on game plans and tactics.

We have maybe been a bit naïve in games because we've not paid too much attention to this side of our game.

We just wanted to win games and would make wrong decisions on the park and then look to Harry and Degsy if things weren't going our way.

These last two games in particular have shown me that we are finally growing as a team and we've been taking games by the scruff of the neck ourselves.

We didn't panic after going down at Forfar and dug in for each other and a similar thing happened against Livingston on Tuesday.

They have so many good players and at times it seemed their midfield all had free roles.

A few weeks ago, we would have been looking over to the bench looking for Harry to change the formation, but we adjusted ourselves to suit as the game wore on while keeping our formation.

As it happened, Livingston actually changed their shape for the second half.

Believe it or not, we were a bit of a disappointed bunch after the game as we felt we could have won it.

Overall, I felt we created more chances, although not clear cut. But, make no mistake, we see this as a very good point to follow up our 5-1 win from the weekend.

There's no time to rest on our laurels as our next two fixtures are massive; we face Queen's Park at home, followed by a midweek trip to Stranraer - and these two results could pretty much shape the rest of our season.

Our only ambitions just now are trying to catch the team directly above us, so that makes Saturday a must-win in the first instance - then we can move on to next Wednesday.



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