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Saturday December 29, 2012

Irn Bru SFL Division 1

Airdrie United




John Boyle 41

Partick Thistle

Erskine 79


Airdrie will go into the New Year visit of Cowdenbeath on January 2 with confidence after earning a point at home to title-chasing Partick.

The Diamonds took the lead through John Boyle's eighth goal of the season but Chris Erskine rescued a draw for the Jags at New Broomfield on Saturday.

Boss Jimmy Boyle made five changes to the team defeated comfortably by Hamilton Accies on Boxing Day.

David Lilley, Sean Lynch, Grant Evans, Josh Watt and Liam Buchanan were all left out in favour of Ricki Lamie, Jamie Barclay, Liam Watt, Nathan Blockley and Willie McLaren.

The Diamonds' starting line-up was certainly youthful. Chris O'Neil and Jamie Barclay are both 17, Watt is 18 and Lamie 19. McLaren, at 28, was the oldest player in the team.

In front of the biggest crowd at the stadium so far this season, Airdrie created the first opening in the seventh minute when Watt had a low effort blocked by Partick keeper Graeme Smith.

In the 33rd minute, Watt won a terrific tackle with the ball going to Blockley who fed John Boyle but his shot flew wide of the post.

The Jags had two chances to break the deadlock. A Steven Craig header was saved by Grant Adam before the striker nodded wide a deep Aaron Muirhead delivery.

But it was Airdrie who took the lead in the 41st minute. Ryan Donnelly found Boyle who drilled home his eighth goal of the season via the far post.

The advantage could have been doubled a minute late but Smith did well to turn away a McLaren header from Watt's high cross.

Partick applied plenty of pressure after the interval with Airdrie pushed back deeper into their own half. Craig blasted an effort wide with an Erskine drive flying over the bar.

But Jackie McNamara's men, who lost top spot in the First Division table due to this result and Morton's win over Dunfermline Athletic, equalised in the 79th minute.

Airdrie couldn't clear the danger after another wave of Jags pressure with the ball dropping nicely for Erskine who lashed his ninth goal of the campaign into the corner of the net.

Both teams had an opportunity to snatch all three points late-on. A low Watt drive flew inches past the post with Alan Archibald going close with a header from Stevie Lawless' corner.

Airdrie gaffer Jimmy Boyle, who is now preparing for the match with Cowdenbeath, said: "I think that was definitely our best performance of the season as they are a good side.

"In the end, it took a goal of great quality to deny us but we kept going and we kept taking the game to them."

Colin Paterson at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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