Saturday May 12, 2012
Irn Bru SFL Division 1 play-off semi-final, second leg
Holmes 55, 65
AIRDRIE are through to the SFL1 promotion play-off final after a first win at Ayr in two years.
A double from Derek Holmes sank the Honest Men at Somerset Park on Saturday with Willie McLaren also on target.
Airdrie made two enforced changes to the team which drew 0-0 at home to Ayr on Wednesday night with Euan McNeil and Ricki Lamie replacing the injured Cameron MacDonald and Paul Lovering.
The hosts also made two changes. Jamie McKernon came in for the suspended Liam Tomsett while Martyn Campbell was preferred to Keigan Parker.
A big crowd filed into the sun-soaked ground for kick-off with Airdrie surviving an early scare when Sean Lynch smashed an Alan Trouten cross off his own keeper, Grant Adam.
Ayr came close again in the 15th minute when Jamie McKernon's 30-yard drive rattled off the bar but disaster lurked around the corner.
Two minutes later, referee Steven McLean correctly sent-off Jackson Longridge following his two-footed lunge on Lamie.
Lamie had a header cleared off the line by McKernon and Jamie Bain was thwarted by Chris Smith either side of Eddie Malone curling wide a free-kick for Ayr.
Airdrie were looking to capitalise on their numerical advantage and took the lead in the 54th minute when Holmes converted after Bain's shot was parried out by Kevin Cuthbert.
However, Ayr equalised midway through the second half when Andy Geggan guided a Malone free-kick past Adam from close-range.
Parity was only restored for a few fleeting moments. The Diamonds regrouped quickly and made it 2-1 when Holmes turned in a Ryan Donnelly cross.
And Airdrie sealed their play-off final spot, and sentenced Ayr to relegation, in the 85th minute when McLaren slotted home after a great run.
Ayr's miserable day was completed in the dying seconds when Jonathan Tiffoney was red-carded for a petulant lash out at Jamie Stevenson.
By then, the party had already started in the Railway End among the Diamonds faithful who can now look forward to the play-off final against Dumbarton.
Colin Paterson at Somerset Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.