Saturday August 9, 2014

SPFL League One

Stenhousemuir

1-0

Grehan 87

Airdrieonians

The Diamonds dominated their league opener, but Martin Grehan's 87th minute goal sealed a smash-and-grab victory for hosts Stenhousemuir.

Airdrie boss Gary Bollan made changes to the side that lost to the Warriors in the League Cup last Saturday, Scott Gray and Chris O'Neil coming in on the right flank, whilst Jamie Bain played an unfamiliar left-midfield role and Liam Watt supported lone striker Jim Lister.

Scott Booth's Stenny brought ex-Airdrie youth Stewart Greacen into their defence, with former loanee Josh Watt continuing on the left wing.

The Lanarkshire men started brightly, a long-range O'Neil effort blocked before Watt brilliantly controlled his overhead kick and crossed to Lister, who headed straight at Stenny goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.

Scott Stewart was keen to get forward from his central midfield berth, but his 14th minute volley was high and wide.

In Stenny's rare attacking forays, former Stranraer hitman Martin Grehan was proving a handful, but Airdrie defended in numbers when necessary.

Scott Gray looked lively for the visitors, linking well with Watt who screwed two low efforts wide as half-time approached.

For all of Airdrie's productive passing play, their best chance of the match came from a long ball from defence 8 minutes into the second half.

Jim Lister won the footrace with Alan Lithgow only to see his low effort brilliantly saved by Hamilton.

Ten minutes later Lithgow was proving the last line of defence, stooping to head a Watt effort off the line after Jamie Bain had burst into the box. The resulting stramash was eventually cleared from danger.

Scott Gray was forced off following a rough tackle, and his replacement Jack Haggerty combined well with O'Neil to send a tantalising ball across the 6 yard line, but it was missed by everyone.

The home side's own substitutes forced their way into the match, an 80th minute piledriver from Colin McMenamin fizzing past Andy McNeil's left hand post.

With three minutes remaining, Sean Dickson fed fellow sub Ryan Millar on the right of the Airdrie penalty area.

The young forward squared the ball to the onrushing Grehan, who slammed the ball past McNeil to secure a scarcely deserved win for the hosts.

With League One new boys Peterhead visiting New Broomfield in a week's time, Bollan's men will be sorely disappointed by today's result, but can take encouragement from a much-improved performance.

Stuart Mathie at Ochilview Park.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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