Saturday November 12, 2016

Ladbrokes League One

Airdrieonians

1-0

Iain Russell 53 pen

Brechin City

Iain Russell helped the Diamonds consolidate their top four placing with the only goal of the game against second top Brechin City.

It was payback for the 2-3 defeat at Glebe Park in September and kicked off the run of three home fixtures with a good victory.

The first half of the match was not one where free flowing football was in evidence, on account of frequent stoppages breaking up the play.

The visitors did start brightly with a couple of early efforts, a Willie Dyer cross into the box that was headed over the bar by Ross Caldwell and a James Dale 30-yard shot that was also well over the crossbar.

Caldwell did rob the ball from Marc Fitzpatrick in the third minute and sent a shot that stung the palms of Rohan Ferguson before the keeper collected the ball.

Adam Brown sent in Airdrie’s first real effort when he fired the ball high over Graeme Smith’s goal in eight minutes after taking a pass from Andy Ryan.

With 10 minutes played Russell’s through ball sent Ryan into the penalty area but his attempt to find Brown at the back post was blocked.

After 13 minutes Brown’s whipped in cross was pushed away by Brechin keeper Graeme Smith.

At the other end five minutes later, former Rovers striker Ally Love took a pass into the box then turned and fired a low driven shot wide of Ferguson’s goal.

Brechin wasted a threatening opportunity on the edge of the box in 22 minutes after Daniel Boateng’s foul on Caldwell gave the visitors a chance for a shot on goal.

The final 15 minutes saw Airdrie start to control the play and enjoy decent pressure, but for all their possession there was a lack of a cutting edge in the final third that would see the breakthrough.

Brown set up Ryan a minute from the break and his low shot was on target but well taken by Smith, while Brown’s free kick in stoppage time saw Smith slap the ball away from his goal as danger threatened.

Nine minutes after the restart the deadlock was broken after Dougie Hill’s handball saw a spot kick awarded. Russell duly supplied his customary finish from the spot.

A minute later Ryan Conroy drilled a low shot in on goal that had Smith diving low to collect the ball.

As Brechin chased an equaliser Ferguson comfortably gathered Lewis Spence's 25-yard shot in 63 minutes.

After fine play down the left Ryan fired over a far post cross in 68 minutes with Brown unable to make good contact as he sent the ball wide of the target.

Smith was working well for the visitors and made a fine double stop from Ryan in 73 minutes, a powerful 20-yard shot seeing the keeper push the ball back out before collecting the striker's follow up shot.

With 10 minutes remaining City saw their skipper Paul McLean red carded after a high lunging challenge on Jack Leitch.

A minute later keeper Smith made another fine save, this time from Brown’s angled shot after racing from the right with the big keeper blocking with his feet.

In the closing stages Conroy and Brown had chances to end any worries as the clocked ticked down but the one goal was enough to see the Diamonds pick up all three points from the match.

The win was the Diamonds' fourth successive victory, their third clean sheet of the season and means they have taken more points from the second quarter already than they did in their first nine matches.

John O'Brien at New Broomfield.

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

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