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Annan Athletic Preview

Shire and Annan Athletic will face each other for the second successive Saturday following their inconclusive contest at Galabank in the second round of this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.

The replay will go ahead at Ochilview tomorrow (29th October) with a 3:00pm kick-off. Admission prices have been set at £10 for adults and £5 concessions. Because it’s a cup-tie season tickets are not valid.

Both teams will wear the same colours as they did at Galabank; with Shire in their traditional black and white hoops while the visitors are in gold jerseys and black shorts. The match referee is unchanged as well with Alan Newlands appointed to be the man in the middle, as he was last weekend.

If the game again ends in a draw there will be 30 minutes extra-time and, if there’s no winner after that, the winners will be decided on shots from the penalty mark. Also, in a new rule change, if the game goes into extra-time each team will be permitted to use four substitutes.

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MATCH : Last week’s game ended in a 0-0 draw but was far from devoid of entertaining action. Shire had the best of things early in the match and could have had an interval lead especially after Derek Ure hit the post with a shot and Andy Rodgers forced Blair Currie in the Annan Athletic goal into a great save from a powerful header.

However the home side fought back after the break. Darren Ramsay’s effort hit the post and there were a few narrow escapes for Shire with efforts from the Annan strikers which went close but just wide.

At Ochilview Shire are defending a six game unbeaten run going back to early August and have won their last five home matches. Annan Athletic have already won at Ochilview this season, however, 2-0 in the Betfred Cup in July.

Watch our match highlights from last week’s game below :

THE PAST : Last weekend’s encounter was the first Scottish Cup meeting between the two teams but was the 35th match overall since Annan Athletic joined the Scottish Football League in 2008.

This weekend’s match falls on the fifth anniversary of the last Scottish Cup replay that Shire were involved in. That game, on Saturday 29th October 2011, took place at Buckie Thistle’s Victoria Park and followed a 1-1 draw between Shire and the then reigning Highland League champions at Ochilview.

Andy Stirling and Bradley Coyne had Shire 2-0 up within the first half hour of the replay but Buckie Thistle struck back with two goals in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. The game finished 2-2 after 90 minutes but further strikes in extra-time from Nico Gibson and Fraser Team saw Shire through 4-2 and on to a third round away match at East Fife.

The last time Shire played in a Scottish Cup replay at Ochilview was exactly one year prior to the Buckie game when, after a 0-0 away draw at Highland League Forres Mechanics, Shire had home advantage for the replay.

Kevin Cawley hit a quickfire hat-trick to put the team 3-0 up after just 47 minutes and the outcome of the match was not in doubt after that. However, late on, David Dunn made the final score 4-0 to Shire with one of his trademark free-kicks.

TEAMS : Shire coach John Sludden will be able to consider giving starting slots to Jamie Glasgow and Drew Ramsay for the match. Both players were given places on the substitutes bench at Galabank after having been absent from the squad in the weeks leading up to the game due to injury.

Glasgow made a late appearance as a substitute last week but Ramsay missed out for the second week running. However, the coach has confirmed both will be available to start this weekend which leaves him with some thinking to do about team selection.

Annan Athletic lost Steven Black and Rabin Omar to injury very early in last Saturday’s game and will hope these two key players will be available for the return tie.

VIEWPOINT : Coach Sludden is cautiously optimistic for the replay. He has warned his players that they should not believe for a moment that the difficult part of getting through to the next round has been achieved simply by bringing Annan Athletic back for a home replay.

“The job isn’t done,” said John. “It’ll be even harder on Saturday because they (Annan) were disappointed with their own performance last week. We’ve got a really hard, important game to come.”

Listen to John’s full pre-match thoughts by clicking on the link below :

Striker Andy Rodgers was one of the closest to breaking last week’s goalless deadlock at Annan. He says the team have to approach the replay in a confident frame of mind but he too says Annan Athletic will start as favourites.

“If we think the hard work’s done then we are going to get a shock,” said Andy. “We are going to need to be as good as we were last week, and probably a bit better, if we are to go and get the result we need.”

To listen to Andy’s pre-game interview click on the link below.