Saturday April 19, 2014

SPFL League One

Airdrieonians

2-1

McAleer 52
Lister 78

East Fife

Campbell 63

Jim Lister rifled home his 10th goal of the season to clinch League One survival for Airdrieonians.

The former Dumbarton striker struck after Steven Campbell cancelled out Caolan McAleer's opener for the Diamonds at New Broomfield on Saturday.

It was a dramatic day in the bottom half of the table but this win ensured Gary Bollan's men will be playing third-tier football next season thanks to a terrific run of only one defeat in 14 games.

But East Fife are now in a real shoot-out with Arbroath to avoid the automatic relegation spot with just a point separating the teams with two games left.

The Diamonds made one change to the side which started the 1-1 draw at Brechin City with 18-year-old Chris O'Neil making his first appearance in six months in place of the suspended Paddy Boyle.

East Fife gaffer Gary Naysmith made two changes to the team beaten 2-1 at home to Stenhousemuir. David Cowan and Scott McBride came in for Craig Johnstone and Stephen O'Neill.

Airdrie made an excellent start and came close to breaking the deadlock three times in the space of five minutes.

A Lister header, from Jamie Bain's cross, bounced off the top of the bar before Craig Barr blazed over the bar from six yards after creating a good opportunity for himself in the area.

On-loan Partick Thistle winger McAleer was a threat and his centre found Keigan Parker, who got in ahead of Kevin Rutkiewicz, but keeper Greg Paterson pulled off a brilliant save.

Naysmith's men eventually found their feet and had the ball in the net in the 22nd minute when Scott Durie converted a lovely through ball from Kevin Smith but linesman Francis Andrews flagged for offside.

Nathan Austin then smacked a shot against the post for the Fifers before Barr had an effort ruled out for offside at the other end soon after.

Incredibly, referee Nick Walsh and his officiating team disallowed a third goal for a push in the box when Gregor Buchanan headed home McAleer's corner.

East Fife had the first chance after the interval with Austin nodding past Liam Buchanan's cross before the home side took the lead a minute later.

A swift counter-attacking move saw Airdrie pour forward with Lister neatly playing in McAleer who fired his second goal of the season into the bottom corner of the net.

However, the Methil outfit grabbed a vital equaliser in the 63rd minute when centre-back Campbell powerfully headed home a Hughes corner.

It was tense stuff but Airdrie restored their lead in the 78th minute with Lister blasting his shot, from Barr's threaded pass, beyond the exposed Paterson.

Now Airdrie just had to hang on for the win which would make them safe.

And they did just that with the Diamonds faithful erupting when they heard the full-time whistle.

Colin Paterson at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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