Saturday January 2, 2016
Ladbrokes League One
Reid 67 OG
Jim Lister came off the bench to grab all three points as Airdrie got 2016 off to a winning start against Albion Rovers.
The Diamonds maintained this season's unbeaten record against their local rivals, beating the Cliftonhill side for the second time on their own patch.
Taylor Morgan and Jordan Morton started the match while David Cox recovered from his midweek injury.
It was the Diamonds who went closest to opening the scoring in seven minutes after Nicky Cadden’s excellent weaving run saw him fouled just outside the penalty box. David Cox curled the ball over the Rovers wall but it struck the top of the crossbar and then was cleared away for a corner that came to nothing.
Two minutes later, Paul Willis was alert to a knockdown inside the box to flick the ball past Neil Parry but Marc Fitzpatrick was on hand to boot the ball off the line.
The home side were showing good pace on the counter attack and Willis raced from inside his own half to the edge of the box before drilling a 20-yard effort wide of Parry’s right post with 10 minutes played.
Josh Mullin raced in from the right after Chris O’Neil had slipped on a very uneven surface, but Parry blocked the first effort then smothered the follow up comfortably.
After 17 minutes, Alan Reid’s delivery resulted in the ball landing at the feet of Scott McBride who ran the ball wide of Parry’s left post.
The home side took a deserved lead in 26 minutes. Some fine play between Reid and Mullin had the visitors retreating quickly after a fine crossfield ball picked out McBride on the left in space. His cross into the box was perfect as John Gemmell raced in to powerfully head the ball into the Airdrie net for the opening goal.
The Diamonds hit the woodwork for a second time in 31 minutes after Cadden’s 25-yard free kick struck Ross Stewart’s left post.
Cox fired a 25-yard free kick over the goal seven minutes from half-time, but the home side enjoyed the lead at the interval.
Former Rovers man Parry was subjected to continual jeering from the home support, particularly in the second half, but the goalkeeper silenced his critics with some excellent saves.
Four minutes after the restart the Diamonds' keeper tipped Gemmell’s header from Gary Fisher’s free kick over the crossbar.
Rovers counterpart Stewart was called upon in 51 minutes when he gathered Alan Lithgow’s netbound header from a Liam Watt corner.
Parry again made another decent stop in 55 minutes, blocking Mullin’s shot from inside the box after the wide midfielder was set up by Willis.
With little over half an hour remaining, Bryan Prunty and Jim Lister entered the fray.
Former Diamond Ross Davidson picked out Fisher in 65 minutes and once again Parry kept his former side from adding to their advantage.
Lister’s presence was worrying the home defence and in 67 minutes after Cadden’s back post corner created panic, Reid headed the ball into his own goal to level the match.
Davidson fired a low dipping effort on target in 79 minutes which Parry took comfortably, while Fisher’s volley in 82 minutes was also taken with confident ease.
Cadden, who had played excellently throughout, set up Airdrie’s late winner in 86 minutes. A cross to the edge of the six yard box saw the Rovers defenders and keeper come to meet the ball but Lister was up early enough to head flick the ball into the net to turn the scoreline around and provide new gaffer Eddie Wolecki Black with his first taste of victory.
John O'Brien at Cliftonhill.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size.