Saturday October 12, 2013

SPFL League One

Arbroath

3-2

Linn 20
Banjo 77
Erwin 89

Airdrieonians

McLaren 60
Coult 79

Airdrieonians returned from Angus just a point from the foot of the League One table after Arbroath beat the Diamonds by the odd goal in five in a match which had everything.

Manager Jimmy Boyle made one change to the line-up that beat Brechin City last Saturday, striker Jim Lister dropping out following the early-morning birth of his daughter.

Lewis Coult, who came off the bench to score Airdrie's third goal last week, was his replacement.

Arbroath included ex-Diamond Alan Cook in their line up, and he started the match in determined fashion, perhaps with a point to prove.

Cook was at the centre of early Arbroath pressure, and went down in the box under a Grant Evans challenge in the 12th minute.

Referee Craig Charleston had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Cook stepped up to take the penalty himself, but crashed it off Scott Gallacher's right hand post with the keeper beaten.

It took only 6 more minutes for the Red Lichties to take the lead, and it was former East Fife man Bobby Linn who broke the deadlock.

An Evans challenge broke kindly for the wide midfielder, who drove into the box and unleashed a low shot past Gallacher.

Paul Sheerin's men had chances to increase their lead in a first half which saw absolutely no attacking threat from the visitors, strikers Lee Erwin and Steven Milne both going close.

A thrilling second-half saw a transformed Airdrie team take the game to their hosts, with half time substitute Willie McLaren linking well with teenage striker Liam Coogans.

McLaren stung the palms of Arbroath goalkeeper Scott Morrison after 53 minutes with a 25-yard drive, but he couldn't stop the winger five minutes later.

Coogans weaved into the box from the left flank, drawing Morrison out before squaring to McLaren. The Arbroath keeper thwarted his first attempt, but he buried the rebound to level the scores.

There was controversy on 75 minutes as the Diamonds thought they had taken the lead.

Despite offside appeals, the linesman's flag stayed down as Coogans broke free. The young striker netted through Morrison's legs, only to see referee Charleston over-ruling his assistant's decision and disallowing the goal.

The classic sucker-punch followed as the home side broke upfield, and a ball over the top caught Airdrie's defence flat-footed.

Defender David Banjo still had work to do, but he smashed the ball beyond Gallacher to put Arbroath back in front.

It wasn't long before the Diamonds equalised for a second time, Coogans picking up Martin Hardie's blocked effort and crashing a shot off the post. Lewis Coult was first to react, and thundered home the rebound from the edge of the box.

With just over ten minutes remaining, neither side looked happy to settle for the draw, and McCormack went close for Airdrie before Arbroath substitute Lee Sibanda turned a low cross over Gallacher's bar.

The match was settled with another moment of controversy in the final minute. The impressive Linn broke free, and was tugged back by Chris O'Neill.

The defender can have no complaints with his straight red-card, as he denied the winger a clear goalscoring opportunity, but Airdrie protested furiously at the award of a penalty, as the offence seemed to take place outside of the box.

Scott Gallacher was booked for his protests, and could do nothing to stop on-loan Motherwell striker Erwin slotting home the disputed spot-kick.

Stuart Mathie at Gayfield Park.

Photographs © Graham Black. Click to view full size.

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