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Saturday October 1, 2016

Ladbrokes League One

Alloa Athletic




Greig Spence 54


Andy Ryan 28
Ryan Conroy 52


Airdrie got back to winning ways in style, emerging victorious from the home of league leaders Alloa.

It will take some time for the derby disappointment to subside, but going into the Wasps den and returning will all three points will go some way towards improving the league position and building the confidence level.

The win came thanks to goals from Andy Ryan and Ryan Conroy, and was filled with good individual performances and the collective will to battle until the final whistle.

The return of Joe Gorman to the heart of the Diamonds defence saw him turn in another man of the match display but he was ably supported by Daniel Boateng and Scott Stewart who were there to close down the opposition in the final third.

Kevin Schmidt came in for the suspended Iain Russell.

Alloa started on the front foot and in the first five minutes Ian Flannigan sent a couple of efforts high and wide of Rohan Ferguson’s goal, while Greig Spence had his attempt blocked.

The home side's early pace relented slightly, although former Diamond Graeme Holmes’ 20-yard shot was on target but well taken by Ferguson in 14 minutes.

With 16 minutes gone a Boateng passback came up short, and after Ferguson remained on his line the big centre back had to rush back to retrieve the situation, making a saving challenge just in time as Kevin Cawley homed in on goal.

With 20 minutes gone Adam Brown picked up the ball inside the Alloa half, carrying it towards the home side’s penalty box, but fired wide of Neil Parry’s goal.

Ferguson made a smashing save in 21 minutes after indecision in the Airdrie box saw the ball break to Flannigan and although his effort from the edge of the box was deflected, the Diamonds keeper had to leap to his left to turn the ball away for a corner.

Airdrie were seeing more possession as the match wore on and in 28 minutes they opened the scoring from a good passage of play.

Marc Fitzpatrick picked a pass to Brown in space on the right. He made some headway then curled the ball into the box allowing Andy Ryan to race into the back post and slam home to give the Diamonds the lead.

Alloa pushed for an equaliser in the final 10 minutes of the half but they were met by a stubborn Airdrie defence well marshalled by Gorman, while Ferguson was assured in goal taking any cross balls comfortably.

After the interval Jason Marr had an early effort, another that was easily taken by Ferguson.

With 50 minutes gone Ryan Conroy put goalscorer Ryan in for a sight of Parry’s goal, but the striker blazed the ball well wide of the target.

That was not the outcome a minute later when the roles were reversed. As soon as Conroy had the goal frame in his sight he curled a delicious shot into the postage stamp corner of the net, giving Parry no chance.

Alloa reduced the deficit three minutes later but it came from a long punt upfield that was misjudged by the defence allowing Spence to run in behind and he was able to lob the ball over Ferguson and reduce the margin for the home side, restoring their hope of something from the game.

Ryan went close to adding a third in 59 minutes after a powerful run in behind the home defence but forced an excellent save from Parry.

Alloa threw on substitutes and pressed Airdrie back but their attempts to either weave their way through the middle of the defence or win the aerial battles were met with strong defending.

One of the best chances actually fell to the Diamonds in the closing stages. With six minutes remaining Brown raced forward on the counter attack, while substitute Robbie Leighton joined him with an excellent supporting run in the middle. Brown took the difficult option in trying to beat Parry at his near post and hit the upright with his shot.

In the end it didn't matter, and the win not only ended the sequence of five matches without a win but also proved the Diamonds' credentials that they can compete in this division.

John O'Brien at The Indodrill Stadium.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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