Saturday November 5, 2016
Ladbrokes League One
Ross S Stewart 90
Andy Ryan 7
Iain Russell 32
Ryan and Russell were on the scoresheet again as Airdrie gave new head coach Mark Wilson a debut victory in an exciting Monklands derby.
Over a month after losing a 70-year-old record at home, the Diamonds travelled down the road to avenge their derby defeat by Albion Rovers.
Wilson watched his new charges stretch their run to three wins on the the bounce following his appointment last week.
The match mirrored the first derby where the visitors took a two goal first half advantage, although on this occasion the home side came close to turning around that first half deficit.
Andy Ryan was on the front foot from the kick off and after his early cross was cleared, a fifth minute centre to Adam Brown was met by a weak header that was on target but easily taken by Ross Stewart in the Rovers goal.
The keeper had little chance two minutes later as Ryan latched on to a long ball upfield, turning his marker Mark Ferry one way then the other as he advanced before hammering a 25 yard shot high into the the net for an early opener.
Marc Fitzpatrick drilled a low shot wide of the target in ten minutes as Airdrie looked to add to their lead.
Rovers' first effort came with 16 minutes on the clock after Connor Shields fired the ball beyond the target, leaving Rohan Ferguson a long trek to retrieve the wayward effort from the long grass behind his goal.
Steven Boyd weaved his way in from the left hand side past three Airdrie defenders and his 20th minute near post effort saw Ferguson turn the ball away for a corner.
As Rovers pressed Alan Reid returned a clearance from the resultant corner which was headed just wide of the goal by striker Ross Stewart.
Brown fired an angled shot wide at the far post in 21 minutes while Paul Willis sent a shot wide to the right of the Airdrie goal on 25 as play stretched from one end of the park to the other.
In 32 minutes a Brown free kick was poorly defended and the headed clearance fell to Iain Russell who blasted the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.
Six minutes into the second half there was almost a repeat, but this time Russell's effort was high over the goal frame.
Rovers had an opportunity to reduce the margin in 54 minutes when Boyd once again made headway into the box but his failure to get an early shot away saw Sean McIntosh block the attempt.
Despite enjoying decent pressure in the second period Rovers were wasteful. Willis fired another loose ball high over the goal in 65 minutes as the clock ticked down.
Brown sent in a shot in 67 minutes that Stewart was happy to push away while Willis let fly with another effort four minutes later that failed to trouble Ferguson.
Airdrie had a couple of chances to clinch the the points, in 76 minutes when a good run by Brown was followed up by an angled shot that Stewart pushed away, then with ten minutes left Brown's run down the right was followed by an inch perfect cross to Ryan in the middle of the goal, but his header was straight at Stewart.
Seven minutes remained when Ross Davidson's 25 yard shot struck the crossbar with Ross Dunlop netting the rebound only to see it disallowed for offside.
As the clock ticked down the home side were awarded a penalty after a foul on Stewart, but the Diamonds support behind Ferguson's goal were delighted to see Willis send the kick against the post.
The Airdrie defence failed to maintain their concentration as Rovers scored in the final minute, Stewart's header turning home a front post corner kick.
In time added on Ferguson was called upon to make a terriffic save as Stewart bore down on goal.
A valuable three points for the Diamonds with all of the top four sides recording victories, but the last two matches have been vital away wins with good fortune coming our way in the closing stages.
John O'Brien at The Exsel Group Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.