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Saturday April 4, 2015

SPFL League One

Stirling Albion





Prunty 53 pen, 79 pen


Airdrieonians battled hard against bottom side Stirling Albion but still managed to come away from Forthbank with three valuable points in the promotion play-off push.

Although not mathematically confirmed yet, the Binos are staring into the abyss of relegation and will be disappointed not to have taken anything from the game.

Signs of desperation and frustration were showing as both goals from the Diamonds came from the penalty spot with local lad Bryan Prunty adding his 13th and 14th goals of this season.

Playing behind him was new on-loan striker Bob McHugh who came into the starting 11 in place of the suspended Ross Docherty.

Despite this freshening up of the Airdrie attack it was the home side who had more of the chances in the first half, even in the first minute with striker Stirling only just failing to connect to McKinlay's cross into the box.

Captain Paddy Boyle was kept busy by right winger Hamilton for most of the first half, who made several crosses into the Diamonds box to no avail.

Boyle himself managed a cross 15 minutes in for Airdrie's first proper attack of the game, however McHugh's flick flew over the bar.

Nearly ten minutes later Smith tried to hit a long shot using the slight wind in the air, however it again went too high.

The Binos then had their best spell of the game with more shots on goal in a minute than the Diamonds had all game so far. The defence did their job but eventually the best of the chances fell to Stirling who was denied at close range by McNeill.

Airdrie went right back up the part with Boyle playing in Jordan Morton, quickly releasing Scott Fraser but his shot on the edge of the box was far too soft to trouble Reidford.

Five minutes later a long throw from Boyle was met by the head of Morton but again it was too soft and Reidford collected without hassle.

McHugh had another chance at a rebound, this time from a Bain shot, but again it sailed over the crossbar.

Shortly before the break Stirling had another opportunity to run in from the wing and required McNeill to make a decision - luckily for the Airdrie stopper it was the right one and he managed to prevent anything coming of the attack.

At half-time Morton was replaced by Nathan Blockley. It was his midfield partner, Fitzpatrick, though that had the best chance of putting the visitors in the lead. A cross in from Bain on the right was flicked on by Scott Gray and then Prunty but it was one flick too many as Fitzpatrick was only inches away from heading the opener.

The buoyant travelling support wouldn't have to wait long though as Gray made a cross into the box which was met by McHugh who was then pulled down by Cummins. Colvin pointed to the spot with Prunty designated the taker. Aiming top right, goalkeeper Reidford did get a hand to it but the shot was too strong to be kept out and Airdrie led 1-0.

A Scott Gray corner just before the hour mark was met by the head of Luca Gasparotto, however the ball bounced back off the crossbar.

The home side weren't out of it yet as Stirling took the ball along the right wing and passed to Beith, who was aiming for Smith in the middle however his low cross floated across the box behind the striker and straight out into the feet of the Airdrie defence again.

Shortly after, a McKinlay cross was brought down by Stirling to the feet of Smith but again the shot was high.

McKinlay was soon to be involved again as a Fraser corner was met by Liam Lindsay who shot at Reidford from point blank range. The ball came back out to Fraser who had made a run into the box but he was brought down by Forsyth and Colvin again pointed to the spot.

There were some afters between Fitzpatrick and McKinlay with both players seeing yellow cards. Eventually Prunty got his chance to double his tally for the day and Airdrie's lead, this time opting to shoot left. Again the ball hit Reidford, this time on the leg but again still too strong to be kept out and the Diamonds were 2-0 in front.

Despite the win, other results in the league wouldn't go Airdrie's way and next week's fixture against Forfar Athletic will make the top half of the table an interesting prospect.

Fans will have one eye on Stirling Albion again who have to travel to Brechin City, three points ahead of the Diamonds. As well as doing the fifth-placed side a favour, the Binos will be hoping to stave off confirmation of relegation for another week at least with a surprise result in Angus.

Douglas Barrie at Forthbank.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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