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Saturday April 15, 2017

Ladbrokes League One





Mark McGuigan 12
Kyle Turner 64


Andy Ryan 72


Andy Ryan's 21st goal of the season wasn't enough to earn Airdrie a draw against a battling Stranraer side.

The Diamonds hitman's 72nd minute strike meant Ryan has scored every time the sides have met this season, but similar to the last meeting it was a mere consolation as the Blues took all three points.

Airdrie started with the same line-up which beat promotion rivals Brechin City last weekend, and it was the Diamonds who had the first sniff of goal in windy conditions at Stair Park.

A foul on Ryan 25-yards from goal gave Ryan Conroy a dead-ball opportunity after nine minutes, but the midfielder dragged the free kick wide of goal.

Three minutes later the home side opened the scoring. A deep cross from the Stranraer right squirmed through the hands of goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson, and Blues striker Mark McGuigan remained calm to slot home the loose ball.

A similar cross ball on 18 minutes found Liam Dick in space at the back post, but the full back shot wide when it looked easier to score.

Airdrie should have levelled on the 25 minute mark when Ryan picked up a flick on and danced through the Stranraer defence before squaring to the unmarked Conroy, but the midfielder's effort was tame and home keeper Cammy Belford got down to touch the ball round the post.

Belford was on hand again five minutes before the break, clutching Ryan's header from Kyle Hutton's cross.

The Diamonds began the second half with more directness, Scott Stewart in particular finding joy with some marauding runs down the right.

Fresh from his first Airdrie goal last weekend, Kieran MacDonald found himself in a good position on 56 minutes, but Morgyn Neill got across to block the shot.

Adam Brown replaced Joe Gorman on the hour mark as Airdrie started to push forward in search of the equaliser, but Stranraer provided the sucker punch four minutes later.

Ferguson controlled a backpass, but under pressure from the Stranraer attack the goalkeeper's kick landed at the feet of Blues midfielder Kyle Turner, who advanced with the ball before firing home from the edge of the area.

Ryan pulled one back ten minutes later. The striker fed MacDonald who picked out Adam Brown in the area. With Ryan continuing his run, the substitute split the defence to put the ball on a plate for the Diamonds top scorer, who lashed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

Conroy almost rescued a point for Airdrie with two minutes remaining, his curling free kick looking netbound all the way before Belford acrobatically tipped it over the bar.

The Diamonds final chance fell to Russell at the back post, but the striker miscontrolled Conroy's header and the ball went wide.

With Brechin and East Fife both losing, Airdrie remain in a play-off position with three games to go.

Stuart Mathie at Stair Park.

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

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