Saturday October 15, 2011

Irn Bru SFL Division 2

Brechin City

1-1

King 51 pen

Airdrie United

Donnelly 14

DESPITE playing almost three-quarters of the match with ten men, Airdrie picked up their first point away from home in an entertaining clash at Glebe Park.

Kieron Stallard became the second Airdrie player to be shown a straight red card in as many games, but the depleted Diamonds refused to lie down, and could well have taken all three points.

It was Brechin who took the game to Airdrie early on, having a penalty claim denied in the first minute, then shortly after forcing Connor Fairley into a good save with his feet.

Fairley was one of two changes for Airdrie, taking over in goal from Paul McKane, while Craig Hill replaced the suspended David Lilley in the heart of the defence.

It took Airdrie 14 minutes to launch a serious attack, but when they did top-scorer Ryan Donnelly was on hand to put the ball in the net once again.

Paul Lovering released Jamie Stevenson down the left, and he raced to the byline before whipping in a cross which Donnelly thundered off the crossbar. The ball bounced on the line, and Donnelly was first to react, his low shot squirming under the body of Craig Nelson.

This sparked the Diamonds into life, and Fraser Keast was involved, first delivering a great cross which just evaded the oncoming attackers, then finding himself one on one with Nelson only to be foiled by the offside flag.

In 26 minutes Stallard saw red for a challenge on Graham Weir which referee Kevin Clancy deemed to be violent. A hasty reshuffle in the Airdrie ranks saw Rhys Devlin drop back into defence, with John Boyle filling his midfield role.

The resultant Brechin free kick was well struck, but equally well dealt with by Fairley, who touched the ball over.

Airdrie didn't look like a team reduced to ten, and Jamie Stevenson stung Nelson's palms with a 30 yard strike ten minutes before half time.

The second half saw Nathan Blockley replacing Boyle in midfield, and six minutes after the restart he must have been wishing he'd stayed on the bench, lunging into a tackle on King on the corner of the Airdrie penalty area. King dusted himself down and despatched the penalty high and hard down the centre of Fairley's goal.

With Craig Hill limping off to be replaced by debutant Kevin Green, Airdrie's makeshift back four defended resolutely, breaking down Brechin's attacks as they tried to press their advantage.

Airdrie's best chances were coming on the break, and Jamie Bain had a decent effort well saved after driving in from the right.

Substitute Derek Holmes had the ball in the net after a period of pressure which saw Airdrie win four corners in quick succession, but his effort was flagged offside.

With Brechin's attacks frequently denied by the linesman's flag, a draw seemed a fair and inevitable result, but Ryan Donnelly almost snatched a winner in injury time. Jamie Stevenson's cross found the striker unmarked three yards out, but he headed straight into Nelson's hands, and the game ended one apiece.

Stuart Mathie at Glebe Park.

Photographs © Stuart Mathie. Click to view full size.

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