Saturday March 14, 2015

SPFL League One

Airdrieonians

2-1

Prunty 56
Blockley 66

Morton

J McCluskey 90

The Diamonds' sparkling run of form continued with a fantastic team performance to beat league leaders Morton at Broomfield.

After a couple of away fixtures picking up 4 points at Brechin and Ayr, the return home was critical for Airdrie to continue with their efforts to make it to the play-offs.

The Diamonds were also aiming for third time lucky against Morton, for their first home win over Jim Duffy’s side.

This victory came through the proverbial game of two halves, as the visitors forced the pace early on, winning a corner in the 1st minute during which a Forbes cross from the left was flicked towards goal by McDonald but keeper McNeil turned the ball away.

3 minutes later McDonald was on the end of a free kick, but he headed the ball over the top of goal.

Airdrie’s first threat came in 8 minutes when Docherty’s free kick found Prunty who turned and shot but his effort was blocked for goal.

4 minutes later Fraser played Prunty into the box but he elected to fire the ball across goal when a shot would have been a better option.

On the 20 minute mark, Gilfillan had an attempt from 30 yards out which went well wide, while 7 minutes later his match was over, picking up an injury and being replaced by Blockley.

Morton were enjoying a decent spell of pressure midway through the half while Airdrie were proving a really difficult back line to break down.

They were almost undone through their own making, going close to providing the lead in 37 minutes after a Forbes’ free kick was nearly headed into his own goal by Paddy Boyle but once again McNeil made a fine save, turning the ball away for a corner.

A minute from the interval Blockley got on the end of a Fraser delivery but headed wide of the goal.

After the break Airdrie offered much more, although Morton threatened 5 minutes after the restart when Russell raced into the box then fired the ball across goal just beyond the inrushing Stefan McCluskey at the far post.

A fine run by Paddy Boyle down the left began a strong spell of home pressure. His cross for Prunty was turned away for a corner in 54 minutes which came to nothing, but two minutes later the Diamonds were in front.

After gaining possession on the left, Jordan Morton was alert to pick a perfect pass into the path of Prunty who controlled the ball well before calmly playing a great up and down lob over the tall former Albion Rovers keeper Gaston.

In 58 minutes Lindsay went close to adding a second when he headed Fraser’s free kick delivery against the keeper’s left post.

In 66 minutes, a miscued header by Forbes saw Blockley charge on to take the loose ball. He then raced across the 18 yard line avoiding two challenges before lining up and drilling the ball past Gaston from the centre of the box, 18 yards out. It gave the keeper no chance.

Airdrie were taking great confidence by now and in 70 minutes a wonderful passage of play involving Paddy Boyle and Fraser led to Prunty going in on goal, only for a late flag to appear.

Morton threw caution to the wind in the latter stages with Miller firing a 25-yard shot straight at McNeil in 86 minutes, Caldwell curling a 20-yarder against the crossbar in 88 minutes, and in stoppage time they bagged a consolation goal after Jamie McCluskey slid a McDonald pass under McNeil.

Another 3 points and the play off hopes remain, while surely all previous relegation concerns have evaporated.

John O'Brien at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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