Saturday February 22, 2014

SPFL League One

East Fife

0-0

Airdrieonians

Airdrie stretched their unbeaten run to five games, but will perhaps be disappointed not to have taken all three points after dominating lengthy periods against East Fife.

There were two changes from the starting line-up which lifted the Diamonds off the foot of the table last week, Jamie Bain and Gregor Buchanan coming in for Nicky Cadden and Grant Evans.

Gary Naysmith's East Fife included in-form striker Liam Buchanan, who featured for Airdrie for a short spell last season.

The visitors had a lively start, Stefan Milojević finding himself unmarked from a corner, only to see his goalbound header deflected wide.

East Fife defender Joe Mbu, who enjoyed a lively battle with the Airdrie strikers, almost gifted Keigan Parker a gilt-edged chance on 11 minutes.

His missed header left the Diamonds frontman in a footrace with East Fife goalkeeper Greg Paterson, however the stopper was alert to the danger and cleared his lines.

The Methil men had chances too, a mix up between Milojević and Paddy Boyle leaving Kevin Smith in acres of space, but he pulled his header wide.

Paterson was in action again just after the half-hour mark, a smart backheel by Jim Lister teeing up Caolan McAleer, who saw his low effort saved by the goalkeeper's legs.

The second half saw further chances for Gary Bollan's Diamonds, Liam Watt and Caolan McAleer at the centre of some nice moves in the middle of the park.

McAleer in particular looked to be in the mood, and the home fans were relieved to see his 57th-minute free kick fizz just over the bar.

Keigan Parker was next to threaten, brilliantly controlling a McAleer corner and shooting past Paterson, but left-back Scott Durie blocked the effort two yards from goal.

Jamie Bain, returning from suspension, had two tantalising chances in the space of a minute midway through the half.

Latching on to a Jim Lister knock-on, the midfielder's looping header bounced off the top of the crossbar. Less than 60 seconds later, Lister was again the provider, putting Bain through one on one with Paterson who parried his effort well.

Caolan McAleer repeated the feat with two quick-fire efforts from range, but Paterson was equal to them.

Despite this good spell of dominance, the Diamonds had a Grant Adam wonder save to thank for keeping the scores level with five minutes remaining.

A cross from deep was knocked down to the unmarked Liam Buchanan only six yards from goal. He unleashed a volley which looked certain to hit the back of the net, but Adam somehow got down to knock the ball wide.

With Arbroath losing to Angus neighbours Forfar, the draw allowed Airdrie to increase the gap from bottom spot to three points, but they will count this as a missed opportunity to close the gap on 8th placed East Fife.

Tuesday's rearranged match with Stenhousemuir now offers another chance to close that gap, and the Diamonds will be determined to find their shooting boots by then.

Stuart Mathie at Bayview Stadium.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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