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Play-off highs and lows but Annan retain hope

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Chris Jardine | 19:03 UK time, Thursday, 19 May 2011

We rode our luck at times during our second-leg match at Alloa Athletic, but the 0-0 result meant we had reached the play-off final for a place in the Scottish Football League Division Two.

We're a very proud bunch and it's a remarkable achievement after only our third season in the SFL.

We enjoyed the moment and it was a special feeling knowing you're potentially only two matches away from promotion.

Annan Athletic's Jack Steele and Albion Rovers' Steven Canning

Annan's Jack Steel (left) battles for possession with Albion Rovers' Steven Canning. Photo: SNS.

The boys were conscious of the feelings of the Alloa players and fans as we knew they had been relegated so we hope that we never went overboard with the celebrations.

I'm sure there will be positive feelings about the club already after just appointing Paul Hartley as their new player/manager. I wish the club all the best in the Third Division next season but forgive me when I say that I really hope we're not facing each other again for at least another year; unless it's in the Cup of course.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue the celebrations home as I was heading through to stay with family in South Queensferry before Rugby Park the following day. I was getting a lift through with a few members of the Edinburgh Supporters Club and in the rush to get showered and changed I left my bag with my clothes for the next two days and nights underneath the medical table at Recreation Park!

All I had was my Annan tracksuit and some dirty training gear. What made it worse was the fact I never realised until the car pulled up to the Ferry. I thought the guys might have taken me back through but it wasn't to be! Only joking guys, you're generosity was very much appreciated.

Anyway, after an up-and-down start to the weekend it definitely got better; I even managed to get hold of my bag and changed in the toilets of a McDonalds somewhere along the M8 at 9.30am on Sunday morning. Thanks Mum! Monday quickly arrived again and it was back to work and thinking about Albion Rovers.

After a bit of a disastrous spell we ended up losing the first leg 3-1 up at Cliftonhill so it's going to take an almighty performance on Sunday to reach our new ambition.

I sat on the bench for about 85 minutes and I honestly never saw us losing that game. After going behind fairly early on we were the better side, got a deserved equaliser and should have been in front by half time.

We started the second half in the same fashion before we hit the self-destruct button with around 20 minutes left. A bad mistake allowed them to get ahead and we lost ourselves for a while after this and lost a further goal.

Credit must go to Robert Love for his hat-trick but he'll probably never score an easier one. He's a right good player and he has shown in the games against us this season why our club tried to attain his services during the summer.

There was a really good atmosphere at the game and the fans were crammed in to the main stand area at Cliftonhill. The players were delighted to see so many travelling supporters coming to see us and it was just disappointing we couldn't get a better result from them.

As I said at the beginning of my column, we've not given up on this tie and we hope that you haven't either. Galabank is a great little ground when it's packed out so there will be no greater lift for all of us than to see you come out in your numbers and support us as we try to turn this final around.

See you Sunday!



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