Friday January 29, 2016
Ladbrokes League One
Jamie Bain finished a wonderful team move to bury Dunfermline as the Diamonds sparkled in front of the cameras.
The Pars' 15 game unbeaten league run stretched back to early September - but usually when matches are televised, Airdrie will turn up with a performance.
That proved to be the case as the first month of 2016 drew to a close and while storm Gertrude was battering various areas of the country, for the second time at East End Park this season messrs Parry, Lithgow and Crighton, with Fitzpatrick sitting in front, were coping with whatever the league leaders could produce.
Hugo Faria was also keeping a close watch on this season's League One sensation Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
Looking to establish the depth of his squad, manager Eddie Wolecki Black made five changes.
Neil Parry returned in goals, with Kieran MacDonald, Jamie Bain, Liam Watt and David Cox also started the match.
Josh Falkingham linked up and forced Parry into an early save inside two minutes.
Liam Watt was alert to Alan Lithgow’s long throw on six minutes but had his attempt blocked after a suspected hand ball by Andy Geggan fell to him inside the box.
After Bain was fouled just outside the box in the ninth minute, debutant MacDonald sent his free kick well over.
Lots of possession by Dunfermline was followed by poor passing and poor delivery of crosses by the home side, all of which were being well managed by the experienced Diamonds.
With 24 minutes gone Michael Paton weaved into the box but found Lithgow blocking his shot on goal.
The Pars were not using the wind to their advantage though Airdrie’s slick movement in 30 minutes opened the scoring. It was truly a thing of beauty.
A long punt from defence by Jason Talbot was headed forward by Crighton, and Jim Lister’s control was instant before a lay off to David Ferguson saw the on-loan Motherwell full back immediately passing the ball on to Watt in the middle. Watt’s awareness saw him turn his marker then slide the ball wide to the left for MacDonald. The full back then picked a pass in behind Shaun Rooney as Cox had made a great run behind the home defence. The delivery from Cox was screaming for a runner in the middle and Bain raced in to finish with great aplomb. A terrific move involving seven players in the build up to what proved to be the winning goal.
Watt nearly took advantage of slack play by the home side a minute later, but his 20 yard effort lacked power and was off target.
David Hopkirk cut inside from the wing in 32 minutes and fired straight at Parry, who had the shot covered.
Lister and Watt created an opening in 33 minutes but Watt’s shot was in the midddle of the goal and gathered by Sean Murdoch.
A free kick by Michael Paton five minutes from the break was curled wide of Parry’s left post and he fired a shot straight at Parry two minutes later following a break upfield.
El Bakhtaoui took on a few players a minute from the interval before setting up Michael Moffat, who missed the target.
On half time Moffat sent an angled shot in, which Parry gathered at the second attempt.
Nine minutes after the restart Watt and Lister combined to feed Bain, who fired high over the goal.
Despite their 15 games unbeaten, the home support were being very critical of their side. Misplaced or overhit passes led to frequent delays in the flow of the game.
Geggan’s free kick in 62 minutes eluded the Airdrie wall but the ball was taken low by Parry.
With each shot blazed over the goals, the home support became more critical of their players and it seemed to add to the frustration. There was a lack of creativity about the leaders and their aim of trying to alter things through a succession of substitutions changed nothing.
Lithgow headed Watt's corner over the top of goal in 80 minutes.
Cox had the chance to finish the match in 83 minutes after Parry’s kick out
found him inside the box, but he elected to head the ball and Murdoch saved the effort.
The Diamonds outnumbered the home side in the box and their attempts on goal were poor.
Despite six minutes of stoppage time, Dunfermline were unable to provide a spark. The win takes Airdrieonians into the top four.
John O'Brien at East End Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size