Saturday December 10, 2011
Irn Bru SFL Division 2
WILLIE McLaren's piledriver earned Airdrie a share of the points at form-team Stenhousemuir's foggy Ochilview Park.
The Diamonds had gone behind to an early Andy Rodgers goal, but produced a spirited second half performance to force the draw.
Gaffer Jimmy Boyle opted to go with the same starting line-up that beat Stirling Albion convincingly last week, making two changes on the substitutes bench with Jamie Stevenson and Andrew Duncan coming in for Fraser Keast and Paul McKane.
It took Stenhousemuir only four minutes to break the deadlock, a loose ball from McLaren falling to Warriors left-back Kevin McKinlay, who's long range effort was deflected into the path of Andy Rodgers on the penalty spot. Rodgers did well to control the ball, turn, and fire a low shot into the net.
Both teams made chances after the early goal, with Graeme Owens volleying goalwards after Ally Brown punched clear a Jamie Bain cross. The shot struck a Stenhousemuir defender, but referee Mat Northcroft was unmoved by Airdrie's handball claims.
Stenhousemuir rallied, and Ian Thomson put a dipping shot just over the bar before Stewart Kean raced clear of the defence and forced a smart save from Connor Fairley.
Airdrie's best chance came just before half time, when Willie McLaren's low driven cross just evaded Ryan Donnelly at the far post.
Half-time saw Jamie Stevenson replace Phil Johnston, with Graeme Owens taking up the wide position and Stevenson playing through the middle.
Stevenson was to prove influential in the second half, controlling the midfield and orchestrating a more attacking game from the Diamonds.
Airdrie's equaliser came in the 69th minute, when Jamie Bain found Derek Holmes in the penalty area with a quickly taken throw in. Holmes' head-flick was cleared as far as the oncoming McLaren, who lashed the ball home from the corner of the box.
It was to prove the last action of the match for Holmes, who left the field on a stretcher two minutes later.
Airdrie pushed for a winner, and Jamie Stevenson had a shot turned on to the post by Brown, before Jamie Bain made a surging run down the right and played a quick one-two with Sean Lynch. Bursting into the penalty area, Bain was unable to keep his shot down.
With neither team creating any further clear-cut chances, the match ended 1:1.
Stuart Mathie at Ochilview.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.