Saturday January 3, 2015
SPFL League One
Jim Lister's 47th-minute strike ensured that Airdrie started 2015 the way they ended 2014 - with a fantastic win.
On their last league visit to Cappielow, the Diamonds bagged their first league goal after 5 league fixtures, but having opened the scoring against Morton they conceded twice to lose the match - but how they learned from that lesson this time around.
Illness meant that Paddy Boyle was not able to start the match, and Jamie Bain slotted in at the back.
Luca Gasparrotto’s extended loan deal saw him start too and with Ben Richards-Everton and Chris O’Neil, the back four as a unit turned in their best performance of the season.
Early on Prunty and Lister were showing real understanding and some dangerous crosses into the box had trialist keeper Grant Adam under pressure around his goal.
With 7 minutes gone Russell ended a fine angled run from the left with a blazed effort high over McNeil’s crossbar.
2 minutes later some excellent interplay between Docherty and Fraser led to Fitzpatrick having sight of goal but he drove his shot wide of the goal.
In 16 minutes Adam charged for a loose ball and barged Blockley - luckily for the keeper it was outside the penalty area. From the resulting free kick by Fraser, the ball was cleared for a corner, Fraser curled into the box and Richards-Everton headed over.
In 18 minutes Lister’s cross from the right was flicked by Prunty but far too high to find the target.
At the other end in 22 minutes Richards-Everton put in a splendid block on Pepper’s shot inside the box that was on target.
In a really fast flowing match, in 23 minutes Prunty’s threaded pass found Fraser but once more an angled shot fizzed past the far post and we still awaited the opening goal.
McKee was next up as he blazed a curling 25 yard shot well wide in 25 minutes and the home side had a perfect opportunity to open the scoring 11 minutes from the break after Kilday squared the ball to McManus, but with the goal at his mercy his placed effort was taken easily by McNeil.
O’Neil made an excellent sliding challenge as McManus was running through into the penalty area, stabbing the ball away for a corner before the striker could shoot for goal.
2 minutes after the restart Airdrie took the lead.
They passed the ball across the 18 yard line from left to right before Blockley found space to make for the line. The midfielder powered in a low and testing ball across the face of goal and Lister was on hand to finish the move with good contact sending the ball into the net.
In 49 minutes a neat McManus turn and shot for goal was headed away by Richards-Everton.
McKee blasted over from outside the box in 55 minutes.
In 59 minutes after some fine hold up play down the right, Docherty passed to Fraser, taking out two home defenders but Fraser's shot on goal was deflected away by the home defence.
As the home side pressed they were faced with a resolute Airdrie defence with McManus finding his shot blocked then O’Ware heading a cross past the post midway through the half.
McNeil made an excellent save from McKee’s free kick in 67 minutes after O’Neil had picked up a yellow card for a mistimed challenge on the edge of the box.
Russell was next up to have a go a minute later, but curled a short wide.
Airdrie replaced Docherty and Fraser and had to reshuffle their midfield.
McManus had an effort that struck the crossbar, the closest Morton had come to squaring the match, but that apart there was to be no way past the Diamonds rearguard as they threw their bodies on the line when needed.
A terrific win – unbeaten in 2015 has a nice ring to it.
John O'Brien at Cappielow Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.