Saturday April 8, 2017
Ladbrokes League One
Iain Russell 20, 56
Kieran MacDonald 23
Jack Leitch OG 45+3
Kieran MacDonald’s first goal for Airdrie and an Iain Russell double saw off play-off contenders Brechin City.
Meetings between the clubs have seen home advantage win the day as each side took maximum six points from the two games in which they were hosts.
There remains the possibility that the clubs could meet again for another couple of fixtures if both finish in the top four.
Airdrie controlled the first half but were caught by a sucker punch in stoppage time.
With 12 minutes gone an interception by Russell saw him set up Jack Leitch and his back-post cross was heading for Kieran MacDonald until former Diamond Liam Watt intercepted to head the ball away for a corner.
A period of pressure built up on the visitors and a Ryan Conroy’s 20-yard effort took a deflection wide off a teammate.
20 minutes in a superb interception by Kyle Hutton saw him gather the ball then race forward into box before sliding the ball to Russell, who waited until keeper Graeme Smith had come off his line to send the ball into left hand corner of the net and open the scoring.
A slick piece of passing play three minutes later saw the home side double their advantage with a fine goal.
Andy Ryan reacted quickly to a clearance, controlling the ball then drilling a pass in to the middle for Ryan Conroy. The midfielder made headway in possession of the ball while full back Kieran Macdonald was powering down the left hand side. Conroy sent the ball between the space to pick out MacDonald who was able to send the ball past Smith into the net to double the advantage.
Ryan tried to add a third goal on 34 minutes after MacDonald picked him out with a pass, but he was crowded out by the Brechin numbers.
City had only offered a couple of efforts on goal, a long range shot by Willie Dyer and a header on target by Andy Jackson, with Rohan Ferguson comfortably gathering the ball on both occasions.
In time added on in the first half Brechin exposed some hesitation in the home back line after Jackson followed on to a long ball to send a header for goal that saw Ferguson pushing the ball over the crossbar. From the resultant corner Ally Love’s near post ball was headed into his own net by Jack Leitch.
Immediately after the restart another long ball saw Jackson able to race in to the box and his low 10-yard effort was collected by Ferguson.
Gary Fusco fired a 20 yard shot well over the goal a couple of minutes before Russell scored his second goal in 56 minutes.
A superb driving run down the right by Scott Stewart took him to the edge of the penalty area before passing the ball into the middle for Russell who took sight of the goal then curled the ball beyond Smith into the net.
Brechin reacted in 64 minutes after Liam Watt cut inside from the left then saw his angled shot pushed away for a corner by Ferguson.
Conroy was enjoying himself and in 68 minutes showed slick control to emerge with the ball surrounded by three Brechin players, laying it off for Ryan who sent his shot wide of the target.
The midfielder had a free kick in 77 minutes deflected wide with defender Joe Gorman heading the ball straight at Smith from the resulting corner.
Russell looked in for his hat trick with four minutes left after being picked out by substitute Adam Brown. He slipped the ball past keeper Smith but defender Dougie Hill was back to clear his lines.
And so the three points sees the sides swap places, but with 12 points still up for grabs, nothing was decided on the day that Livingston were crowned League One champions.
John O'Brien at New Broomfield.
Photographs © Derek Watt / Brechin City FC