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Annan's play-off place sealed with a party

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Chris Jardine | 11:56 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

After what seemed like forever, we finally sealed our place in the play-off semi-final with our 3-0 win over champions Arbroath on Saturday.

It was about as close to a perfect day as you could get; the lads were brilliant and I'm sure the 650 fans that were there enjoyed their day in the sun.

Jack Steele would have been perfect for my dream team with three assists and Sean "Des" O'Connor scored two peaches at just the right time.

Big Des probably hasn't scored as many goals as he would have liked but he is so important for the team and has been excellent since he was brought in. Ian Harty has taken the plaudits for his goal-scoring this season but with him missing we relied heavily on Des and he came up with the goods.

The boys certainly enjoyed the victory because of what it meant and I suppose the pre-arranged team night out was perfectly planned.

I couldn't make it but I managed to stay at the club for a couple of hours with the team and the supporters to celebrate what we had achieved.

Arbroath are the Third Division champions

Perhaps champions Arbroath were a little hungover at Galabank on Saturday...

During the celebrations I was told by a supporter that the game we had just won could have been a league decider! He was probably right but again we're talking about ifs and buts.

So if that was the case and it was a league decider I think I could guarantee that we wouldn't have had it so easy against Arbroath.

Apparently the team night out went well and there weren't too many stories flying about at training on Tuesday night so I'm assuming the boys behaved themselves.

Everyone made their train home back to Dumfries and the Annan boys all got home at a reasonable hour although Peter Watson had to be helped up the road and in his front gate.

According to big Watto, he didn't think he was too bad but maybe the photograph of him scaling a traffic light in the town tells a different story!

Before the night out and immediately after the game, the supporters' club presented the trophies to their player of the year and away day player of the year. Aaron Muirhead won my trophy from last season as the away day player and Ian Harty was chosen as the player of the year.

Both winners were well deserved and those two have had good seasons so let's hope they've still got a bit left in the tanks to push us on in our remaining league game and the play-off semi-final.

We face East Stirlingshire in our final league game of the season and this will be treated as a very important match. We can still finish in second place but we can also fall to fourth.

I'm a bit unsure what my preference is but I know that for the club it would be more beneficial for us to finish in second. This would see us play the second leg at home but more importantly our home leg would be on the Saturday which would probably see us attract a better crowd.

I think the players see it differently in that we would rather travel to Coatbridge on the Saturday than face the journey, albeit a small one, after a shift at work on a Wednesday night. Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here; there is a job to be done at Ochilview first.

I've been honest throughout my column this season that our target was to finish in the top four so whatever happens in the play-off games I think everyone associated with the club can be proud of our achievements.

We've done what was expected of us but now we have to move the goalposts slightly and aim that little but higher. We'll take it a step at a time but the target now is the play-off final.


  • Comment number 1.

    Chris, I have been reading your blog for the last two season now and I have enjoyed the life of a new league club, and now I am pleased to see Annan in the play-offs. I hope a win will see Annan in division two next season and also see you win a new contract. Your honesty in your blog is a breath of fresh air in the "win at all costs" mentality of today's sport. I wish you and the boys all the very best for the forth-coming matches. What is your conecntion with Sandy Jardine?

  • Comment number 2.

    Guess who else is in a play off position and deserved....queens park!

  • Comment number 3.

    Congrats to the Annan lads. A well-deserved play-off spot.

    Adam: Do QP not have it's own forum? I'm starting to think you enjoy it here. Soon enough you'll be wearing the black and gold yourself. Also, QP may still drop to 5th.

  • Comment number 4.

    JP: who is in the play offs! The mighty QP!

  • Comment number 5.

    Good luck to Annan in the play-offs. As an East Fife fan it would be great to visit somewhere new next season and whilst I don't mean to disrepect (ok, I do) Alloa, Queens Park and Albion Rovers those are places and clubs I am all too familiar with.

    We just missed out on the play-offs ourselves and have high hopes for doing better next season under John Robertson and Gordon Durie. Indeed, a real tilt at the title now that Livingston have cleared off is being talked about down Methil way especially as nearly all of our best players have already signed up for next season.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Annan.I've really enjoyed keeping tabs on them this season and will hopefully get to the playoff games.

    Yesterday was poor mind you.Need to keep the momentum going.

    I heard at the weekend that Neil Mcfarlane has already approached a few players for next season on pre contracts and that 1 is a youngster released by Man Utd.Can you shed any light? Also any word if he wants to keep you on?

    Great blog as always.I will email the BBC during the week and ask that they keep this blog going next season even if you get released by Neil.

    Any holiday plans?

  • Comment number 7.

    When did Neil Mcfarlane get the managers job at annan Athletic?
    I am sure Harry Cairney is still the Manager.
    I hope you manage to make it to the play-off games to see Annan get promoted(hopefully).

  • Comment number 8.

    Good luck to Annan in the play offs

    Will the chairman buy a round for all the fans ...... £50 should it !

  • Comment number 9.

    He isn't manager yet.He takes over in the summer.

    Harry is moving to America to work with youth development or something similar.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments and apologies about the late reply.

    lebraveheart - very kind comments that are very much appreciated. The only connection I have with Sandy Jardine is that of our surname.

    adam - congratulations to Queens park, very much deserved.

    haveagojoe - I certainly hope you are visiting Galabnk next season and I've no doubt you and your fellow supporters would enjoy the trip. A lot of hard work to go before we can even start thinking of that however, starting tonight.

    jamborobbo - you have mentioned this before, correct? I have no idea about any of these rumours but I would very much doubt they will be true. You usually hear these kind of things when you're at a club but this is all new to me; well except for the last time you mentioned it!


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