Saturday May 4, 2013
Irn Bru SFL Division 1
Goals from Liam Coogans and Willie McLaren ensured that Airdrie finished a desperately disappointing season with a win at East End Park, and consigned the troubled Pars to the First Division relegation play-off spot.
Airdrie boss Jimmy Boyle made one change to the line-up that lost at home to Livingston last week, Gregor Buchanan returning to the starting eleven at the expense of left-back Marc Warren.
After grabbing the headlines last week, 14-year-old Jordan Allan was not amongst the substitutes at Dunfermline, but two more youngsters took to the bench in the shape of Ryan McSherry and Jack Haggarty.
Dunfermline, who required a win or a favourable result for Hamilton over Cowdenbeath, started brightly and had by far the better of the first half chances.
An 11th minute counter attack saw Josh Falkingham bearing down on goal, but captain Ricki Lamie forced the striker wide and his angled shot was gathered by Kenny Arthur.
Airdrie too had their chances, Liam Watt and Gregor Buchanan combining well to set up Jamie Bain, but Michal Hrivnak was equal to his effort.
A spell of intense Dunfermline pressure came around the half-hour mark, and the Pars hit the woodwork three times in a fifteen minute spell, Falkingham driving against the post before Ryan Thomson rattled the underside of the bar with a volley.
The Airdrie goal was soon shaking again, but this time it was Steven Hetherington who struck his own bar attempting to clear a driven cross from the right.
Dunfermline's bad luck was matched by their wastefulness just before half time when ex-Diamond Ryan Wallace squared the ball to Thomson, who screwed his effort wide with the goal gaping.
Wallace then twice found himself one on one with Kenny Arthur, the Airdrie goalkeeper making a brilliant reflex save on one occasion, and Jamie Barclay recovering to make a fantastic last-ditch tackle on the other.
Airdrie stunned the dominant Pars within a minute of the restart. Striker Jordan Moore nodded on to Liam Watt, who managed to squeeze the ball through to Liam Coogans.
The teenager made no mistake in smashing the ball home via Hrivnak's near post.
Dunfermline continued to make chances at the other end, but Kenny Arthur was in fine form.
He was finally beaten on 58 minutes when Ryan Thomson beat the Diamonds' offside trap and squeezed the ball under Arthur to atone for his earlier miss and level the score.
The equaliser lifted the near-5000 Dunfermline crowd, but a double substitution by Airdrie swung the scoreline back in their favour.
Ryan Donnelly and Willie McLaren replaced Moore and Barclay, and in their first involvement combined well to put the Diamonds back in front.
Donnelly battled well to win the ball in the middle of Dunfermline's half, and found the advancing McLaren coming in from the left.
Bringing the ball under control with his first touch, the winger thundered into the far corner of the net with his second.
Airdrie had further chances as Dunfermline chased the game, Gregor Buchanan twice going close, but the scoreline remained 2-1.
Cowdenbeath's 3-1 win at New Douglas Park means that the Pars must now come through two play-off ties to avoid joining the Diamonds in Division Two.
Stuart Mathie at East End Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.