Saturday August 15, 2015
Ladbrokes League One
Sean Crighton's second goal of the season was not enough to prevent Airdrie slumping to last-minute defeat at Stenhousemuir.
For the second week in succession the Diamonds were taught the harsh lesson of not just the need to perform for the full 90 minutes but also to stay focussed until the final whistle.
Gary Bollan’s side turned in another under-par first half display which saw them go to the break behind by a goal to nil.
The continual long ball forward gave David Cox and Taylor Morgan little opportunity to hold up play and bring the rest of the side into the match.
Both sides were serving up an object lesson of how to provide few goalmouth chances in the opening half hour.
Stenny's Colin McMenamin blasted the ball high over Neil Parry’s goal in 15 minutes, after Stephen Stirling cut the ball back into his path.
An injury saw Kevin McBride replaced by Scott Stewart leass than halfway into the first 45 minutes.
Airdrie’s only chance in that period came in 18 minutes from 20 yards out when Nicolas Šumský fired the ball high over the top of Jamie Barclay’s goal following a headed clearance from Jamie Bain’s long throw.
Five minutes later Airdrie’s most likely source of a goal, central defender Crighton, rose at the back post to head Šumský’s free kick for goal and Barclay made a fine save with the ball being cleared upfield.
Seven minutes from the break, again Crighton’s presence threatened but the loose ball from his header for goal was also cleared away from goal.
Stenhousemuir took the lead before the break during a decent spell of pressure from the home side.
Allan Smith headed wide of goal in 39 minutes, but three minutes later the ball was swung across goal from left to right. Mark Gilhaney sent the ball back from the right and after the high ball ricocheted off two players, it fell nicely for Alan Cook for the former Diamond to hammer the ball into the back of the net.
Gilhaney fired a shot wide of goal a minute later as Airdrie’s composure disappeared.
Jordan Morton replaced Bryan Gilfillan after the interval.
Crighton was to have three attempts in as many minutes before heading home the equaliser in 49 minutes.
With a greater sense of urgency and purpose Airdrie pressed their hosts back. A first header from a corner was netbound only for Barclay to turn the ball away for a corner.
A second effort was headed just wide of the goal.
However after Bain was brought down wide on the right, Šumský’s free kick was perfect and Crighton rose high above everyone to give the static Barclay no chance.
Gilhaney’s 52nd minute angled drive from inside the box was pushed away by Parry then gathered comfortably.
At the other end a minute later a long ball forward picked out Morgan inside the box and he blazed the ball well over the goal frame.
The pressure was going one way with the home side enjoying some good fortune around their goal.
Alan Lithgow rose and headed a Šumský corner just wide of the goal in 68 minutes.
Morton fired an angled shot over the goal in 71 minutes after being picked out by Bain.
Cox and Bain were linking well down the right and only last gasp challenges saved the day.
With five minutes left a cross from Cox found substitute Bryan Prunty in front of goal, and his shot was on target but straight at Barclay.
With three minutes left a cross into the Airdrie penalty box was half cleared by Parry but the keeper was alert on the ground to direct Cook’s follow up shot away for a corner.
With the clock ticking down, in the final minute a long ball forward by Jon McShane saw the Diamonds defence stand off substitute Fraser Eddington who was able to race into the box and clip the ball past Parry for the winning goal.
It left the Diamonds pointless and with a feeling of déjà vu recalling last season’s start when the first quarter yielded eight points from nine matches against the division’s opposition.
Next week’s trip to Brechin, who are also without a league point, gives the chance to get something on the board.
John O'Brien at Ochilview Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size.