Saturday March 1, 2014
SPFL League One
Parker 75 pen
Airdrieonians climbed out of the League One relegation zone for the first time since October after extending their unbeaten run to seven games at the expense of nine-man Ayr.
Goals from Craig Barr, Liam Watt and Keigan Parker earned the Diamonds their biggest league win since August 2012 at New Broomfield on Saturday.
Diamonds gaffer Gary Bollan stuck with the same starting line-up which drew 1-1 at home to Stenhousemuir on Tuesday night.
Ayr made five changes to the side which lost 3-0 at Dunfermline Athletic. Gordon Pope, Alan Lithgow, Alan Forrest, Robbie Crawford and Brian Gilmour went out with Jackson Longridge, Martyn Campbell, Kyle McAusland, Michael McGowan and Anthony Marenghi coming in.
Caolan McAleer came close for the home side in the early stages and that was the only real chance before they grabbed the opening goal on the half-hour mark.
A long throw into the box was fisted clear by keeper David Hutton as far as Watt. He knocked the ball back into the danger zone with Barr doing brilliantly to hook a shot over his shoulder and into the corner of the net.
The visitors almost equalised two minutes later when Craig Malcolm's shot was diverted inches past his own goal by central defender Stefan Milojevic.
In the 35th minute, a free-kick from Anthony Marenghi was beaten away by Grant Adam with Kevin Kyle guiding wide the rebound before colliding with the Diamonds custodian.
The game was bubbling away and eventually tempers flared six minutes later. Ayr's Adam Hunter barged Watt off the ball, on the main stand touchline, and was immediately red-carded by referee David Somers.
Airdrie were by far the better side and secured the victory thanks to two goals in a six-minute period which also saw Ayr go down to nine men.
Midfielder Liam Watt doubled the advantage in the 69th minute when he converted a low cross from Lister who charged into the area after Longridge lost possession.
And Parker sent Hutton the wrong way from the spot after Somers had red-carded McAusland for a foul on substitute Nathan Blockley in the box.
The Diamonds are now up to eighth place in the table on goal difference with East Fife dropping into the relegation play-off spot.
Bollan's troops have next weekend off but will be watching with interest as rock-bottom Arbroath host Gary Naysmith's Fifers in what is a massive game for all sides at the foot of League One.
Colin Paterson at New Broomfield.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.