Saturday December 20, 2014
SPFL League One
P Boyle 57
Michael Dunlop's towering header rescued a point for Forfar Athletic after a sensational Paddy Boyle strike had put Airdrie ahead against the league leaders.
Results elsewhere meant Dick Campbell's men now sit second on goal difference, but ahead of today's match they topped the table and were unbeaten at Station Park.
For the Diamonds it will be seen as a good point from a tricky tie, but Gary Bollan's men may feel disappointed not to have taken more from a match they controlled for lengthy spells.
Airdrie kicked off with the same starting line-up that beat Dunfermline last week, the only change being on the substitutes bench where U20 player Jamie Watson replaced Scott Gray.
Bryan Prunty was first to threaten for the visitors, picking himself up from a half-hearted penalty appeal to shoot wide after 12 minutes.
Three minutes later Prunty was in action again when a Paddy Boyle free kick hit Jim Lister in the box. The striker was alert to volley the loose ball goalward, forcing a fine stop from veteran Loons goalkeeper Rab Douglas.
A looping Luca Gasparotto header was cleared off the line by Mark Baxter before Andy McNeil was called into action for the first time, easily gathering a long-range Stephen Husband effort.
Douglas denied Prunty again just before the half-hour mark, beating him to a low cut-back after Lister had sprung the offside trap.
McNeil had to be sharp as half-time approached, getting out to gather at the feet of Dale Hilson after the former Dundee Utd man intercepted a Ben Richards-Everton backpass.
Forfar should have taken the lead early in the second half, Hilson beating McNeil to a loose ball and turning the covering defender, but the striker somehow contrived to screw the ball wide of a completely open goal.
And it didn't take the Diamonds long to take advantage. Paddy Boyle picked up a square pass on 57 minutes, and was well tackled just over the halfway line.
But the Airdrie skipper showed great determination to win the ball back and charge forward to the corner of the penalty area, where he lashed a curling shot beyond the despairing dive of Douglas to put his side ahead.
The lead could have been doubled three minutes later. Another Boyle foray into the box resulting in a driven cross and Loons defender Michael Dunlop's wild clearance almost found his own net.
Dunlop threatened at the other end, meeting a corner kick to send a powerful header just over the bar.
Although the goal seemed to have spurred the home side into action, Airdrie were still threatening to increase their lead, and Gasparotto's downward header from Scott Fraser's corner was flicked onto the crossbar by Nathan Blockley.
Forfar got their equaliser after 81 minutes, another corner from the left hand side found Dunlop towering above everyone to nod home.
The Loons could have won it at the death, a low drive from Templeman was parried by McNeil and broke kindly for substitute Omar Kader, but the Airdrie goalkeeper did brilliantly to block his stabbed effort on the line.
Stuart Mathie at Station Park.
Photographs © Stuart Mathie. Click to view full size.