Saturday March 23, 2013

Irn Bru SFL Division 1

Airdrie United

1-2

Bain 7

Raith Rovers

Spence 44
Anderson 78

The New Broomfield pitch may have beaten the freeze, but lacklustre Airdrie failed to beat Raith Rovers - at this season's sixth time of asking.

It was a familiar pattern for the Diamonds as an early lead was squandered for the third week in a row, and results elsewhere leave Jimmy Boyle's side eight points adrift at the bottom of the table.

The starting line up saw two changes from last week's defeat at Cowdenbeath, Jamie Bain and John Boyle returning to the side in place of David Lilley and Jordan Moore.

The Diamonds started brightly, and Marc Warren's 5th-minute cross found Ryan Donnelly at the near post, but his glancing header was just over.

The Fifers failed to heed the warning, and two minutes later Donnelly and Warren combined again. This time the Australian's flighted cross was met by Jamie Bain at the back post and he bundled the ball past David McGurn.

Airdrie had further chances, Steven Hetherington twice going close with fierce drives from the edge of the box, and John Boyle curling a shot just wide.

Raith Rovers found chances to level hard to come by, and when Greig Spence found space to shoot his effort was gathered cleanly by Robbie Thomson.

It was Spence who eventually squared the scoreline for the Kirkcaldy men in the 44th minute, dispossessing Warren on the corner of the box and squeezing his shot under Thomson.

Airdrie almost went back in front straight from the restart, but Donnelly's header from Boyle's smart cutback was touched on to the top of the bar by the impressive McGurn.

There were to be few further chances in the second half, with the game becoming a scrappy affair in the middle of the park.

A first-half injury to Chris O'Neill had seen the Diamonds defence reshuffled with Gregor Buchanan taking over the right-back role, but Hetherington and Sean Lynch - himself a half-time substitute for Nathan Blockley - provided fine protection.

However, the makeshift defence had no answer to Rovers substitute Grant Anderson, who broke away down the right hand side on 78 minutes and fired the Kirkcaldy men in front.

The introduction of 16-year-old striker Liam Coogans wasn't enough for Airdrie. Despite a lively debut from the young substitute, the Raith defence were able to close out the game and consign Airdrie to their ninth consecutive match without victory.

Stuart Mathie at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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