Wednesday February 29, 2012

Irn Bru SFL Division 2

Arbroath

2-2

Gibson 9, 41

Airdrie United

Holmes 48
Boyle 77

AIRDRIE fought back from 2-0 down to earn a vital point at Gayfield.

Goals from Derek Holmes and John Boyle cancelled out a first-half double from Keith Gibson on Wednesday night.

Boss Jimmy Boyle made four changes to the team which lost 2-0 to East Fife at New Bayview on Saturday.

Keeper Andrew Duncan made his full debut in place of the banned Grant Adam with Kieron Stallard, Paul Lovering and Cameron MacDonald in for Ricki Lamie, Graeme Goodall and Sean Lynch.

But it was the home side who took the lead in the ninth minute. Paul Sheerin's corner found Gibson who powered a header into the net.

The home side could have made it 2-0 in the 24th minute but a Sheerin volley, from Gavin Swankie's partially-cleared cross, was brilliantly saved by Duncan.

Diamonds gaffer Boyle was frustrated with his side's defending, particularly in the midfield area, with Arbroath given time and space to plot ways through to goal.

It was, therefore, no surprise to see the hosts double their advantage. A Swankie free-kick was headed against the post by Steven Doris with Gibson stabbing the ball home followng a melee.

Lamie replaced Stallard during the interval with Airdrie reducing the deficit early in the second half when Holmes converted his fourth goal of the season.

Willie McLaren and Ryan Donnelly both had good chances for the Diamonds who were causing the title-chasing Smokies real problems.

Arbroath were still a threat, though. Substitute Liam Caddis tested Duncan at his near post before the keeper made a fine stop to thwart Doris.

But Whinhall forward Boyle came on for Graeme Owens in the 75th minute and wasted no time in making an impact.

Within two minutes, he pounced on a header down from Holmes to bury his ninth goal of the campaign and make it 2-2.

There was a frantic finish to the game but Airdrie held on for the draw which closes the gap to the SFL2 promotion play-off zone to five points.

Airdrie manager Boyle said: "We didn't play well in the first half and the players were told their performance was unacceptable.

"But we got on top of it in the second and it's a good point for us from 2-0 down."

Arbroath player/manager Sheerin added: "It's two points dropped. You can't be drawing games at home from 2-0 up.

"A real opportunity has been missed as we had a chance to go and put some pressure on Cowdenbeath who have been at the top for a long time."

Colin Paterson at Gayfield.

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