Saturday November 7, 2015

Ladbrokes League One

Forfar Athletic

2-3

Martin 45, 52

Airdrieonians

Lithgow 14
Cox 22
Fitzpatrick 29

Airdrie survived a Forfar comeback to take the points after surging ahead in a thrilling opening half-hour.

Boxing Day 2011 was the last time Airdrieonians visited Station Park and made the return journey back down the A9 with all three points for their efforts.

They turned in one of their best 45 minutes of the season against Dick Campbell’s side to push themselves above neighbours Albion Rovers.

Nicky Cadden retained his place in the starting line as Gary Bollan went with the same eleven from the derby match a week earlier.

The home side dominated the early possession with a lot of passing play from wing to wing, but there was an inability to exert any pressure inside the penalty box.

In nine minutes Gavin Swankie’s header was on target but straight at Neil Parry.

When the Diamonds played the ball on the ground they started to press well and play with the width provided by two natural wide players. All of a sudden Forfar were retreating back to their goal.

With 11 minutes gone Cadden’s free kick picked out Sean Crighton whose effort was wide of Rab Douglas’ goal.

Decent play two minutes later saw David Cox and Cadden combine down the left with the youngster’s drilled cross cleared behind.

The resultant corner was delivered into a congested penalty area and the clearance eventually fell to Cox, who fired a curling cross to the far post. Just as it appeared to have eluded the inrushing Airdrieonians players, Alan Lithgow reached the ball and connected to send it into the back of the net for the opener and his first ever goal for the Diamonds.

Swankie blasted a Danny Denholm cross high over Parry’s goal a minute later, as the home side reacted to the loss of the first goal.

Cadden saw his free kick blocked in 16 minutes, after Bryan Prunty was fouled.

Ahead of their second goal Airdrie’s pressure was continuous, with Caolan McAleer getting a shot on goal that was cleared off the line, while immediately after Liam Watt was unfortunate when the ball appeared to get stuck under his feet after it was fired in by McAleer. The midfielder did get a shot away, but the ball was gathered by Douglas.

In the 22nd minute Airdrie scored a deserved second goal.

Some fine play on the right saw Chris O’Neil overlapping beyond McAleer to send a powerful cross over into the centre of the goal. The clearance fell to Cadden, who took time to send in a terrific ball that Cox turned in to the back of the net.

Forfar were stunned, and seven minutes later they conceded for the third time.

Ian Campbell’s late challenge on McAleer went unpunished with the winger’s final touch winning a corner for the visitors. Cadden’s delivery was precise, picking out Marc Fitzpatrick whose header from just inside the penalty area beat Douglas at his left post to nestle in the back of the net.

A Michael Rose header a minute from the interval was wide of the target.

A goal either side of the interval almost undid all of Airdrie’s great work. Scott Martin was on the end of Denholm’s delivery to narrow the margin just before the half time whistle, and seven minutes after the restart the on-loan Hibernian striker sent in a 20-yard shot which Parry could only push high into the net.

It took Airdrie a while to settle in the second half as Forfar pushed forward. Martyn Fotheringham, Denholm and Swankie were off target with their efforts in the opening 20 minutes.

A fine run by Taylor Morgan took him beyond the home defence with his 20-yard shot beating Douglas, but striking his left post.

Crighton, Lithgow and van Zanten were standing firm as the home side looked to complete their comeback.

Parry comfortably collected Denholm’s effort from the edge of the box with quarter of an hour remaining. Fotheringham blasted the ball high over the goal a minute later from ten yards out.

Cox sent a shot in on goal with 13 minutes to play after a spell of Airdrie pressure saw Watt’s shot blocked and deflected into his path.

With just over three minutes left an amazing weaving run by Cadden took him down the touchline before cutting the ball back to Morgan, whose netbound shot was pushed away by Douglas to maintain the home side’s hopes.

It was the last real chance for either side and the victory increased the points difference between the sides.

John O'Brien at Station Park.

Photographs © Forfar Athletic FC. Click to view full-size.

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