Saturday February 20, 2016
Ladbrokes League One
Supersub Liam Watt scored his sixth goal of the season to top the club's goalscoring chart and earn a share of the points for the Diamonds.
Stranraer had arrived at Airdrie full of confidence on the back of a five match unbeaten run to pull away from their relegation threat, and are becoming a contender for the final play-off place.
Both sides needed the points as they are in the group of clubs with a chance of grabbing that fourth spot in the table and the play-offs.
Manager Eddie Wolecki Black, having already planned for the absence of David Cox, had a further problem after Jim Lister - who had found the net four times in the last five league games - was unavailable for selection due to work commitments.
In the first half Airdrie struggled to threaten the Stranraer goal, yet should have gone in at the break a goal to the good.
The visitors had more of the ball although their delivery into the box was often overhit while some of their shooting was wide of the mark.
Neil Parry was quick to react to gather Steven Bell’s deflected 20-yard effort in the seventh minute.
Stranraer were winning successive corners but Parry and by his defenders were able to clear their area.
With 27 minutes played Craig Pettigrew sent a troubling 25-yard shot that looked destined for the net but was well saved by Parry.
Six minutes later Hugo Faria won the ball from Liam Dick and after reaching the penalty box sent a terrific pass to Dylan Mackin in front of goal. He cut back from a challenge and looked set to open the scoring only to see his shot from six yards out saved by Blues keeper Cameron Belford’s foot.
Watt replaced Mackin at the break and from then the Diamonds play looked much more purposeful.
With 51 minutes gone Jamie Bain’s header from David Ferguson’s cross was headed wide to the right of Belford’s goal.
Watt went close to breaking the deadlock in 54 minutes after latching on to a ball in the box and firing a shot for goal that Belford could not hold, but the loose ball was cleared away.
A minute later, Kieran MacDonald’s far post cross was headed back across goal by Bain, and Marc Fitzpatrick sent the ball wide of Belford’s goal.
During Airdrie’s best spell the visitors took the lead. On the hour mark, Paul Cairney was given time to play the ball inside the penalty area and he mishit a shot that led to an almighty scramble in front of Parry. Mark McGuigan forced the ball into the net for the opener.
Their lead lasted only eight minutes when Watt raced on to Bryan Prunty’s flick on and powered into the box before drilling the ball past Belford at the left of his goal.
A minute later Watt slid a through ball past the visiting rearguard for Bain to square to Prunty, who passed the ball into the net. A late offside flag ruled out the goal.
A curling free kick from Watt in 76 minutes was followed into the box by Alan Lithgow who was just a fraction away from making contact.
His fellow central defender made excellent contact with Nicky Cadden’s corner on 86 minutes. Sean Crighton’s powerful header smacked the crossbar and was cleared.
In the end a point for each side which will go down well to those just below them, while Airdrie remain in fourth spot.
John O'Brien at New Broomfield.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size