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Saturday September 17, 2016

Ladbrokes League One





Iain Russell 59 Pen

East Fife

Kevin Smith 14


Airdrieonians were unable to take the chance to move above opponents East Fife and move into fourth place, and had to settle for a point.

The Diamonds made the better start in the match with a Ryan Conroy free kick after eight minutes being blocked by the visitors' defensive wall and deflected for a corner.

Two minutes later a fine chipped pass behind the visiting defence gave Andy Ryan the chance to test Mark Hurst the Fifer’s keeper, but he blasted a rushed effort well wide of the goal frame.

Against the flow of the match Gary Naysmith’s side went in front after 14 minutes. Kieran MacDonald retreated and failed to stop the cross from Mark Lamont that went over Scott Stewart in the middle with Kevin Smith rising to head the ball into the net past Rohan Ferguson.

Adam Brown fired an angled shot just over keeper Hurst’s goal after 25 minutes following Stewart’s hard work to win the ball.

On the half hour Brown’s front post free kick was flicked towards goal by Iain Russell who had made a decent run to get there but his effort was just wide of the keeper’s near post.

Ryan Conroy’s 34th minute delivery into the penalty area led to attempted headed clearances as the ball bounced around and a shout for hand ball was waved aside.

Eight minutes from the break Kevin Schmidt, an early replacement for Conor McLaughlin, linked well down the left with MacDonald only to see the full back’s cross unable to pick out anyone in the penalty box.

Only five minutes of the half remained when East Fife went close to doubling their advantage, Scott Mercer’s cross from the right picking out Smith but the striker headed wide on this occasion.

Schmidt took players on just before the break, weaving a path to the edge of the box and Conroy’s attempt was wide of the mark.

Any expected reaction from the Diamonds after the interval was slow to arrive. In fact the opening 10 minutes saw Ferguson collect the ball comfortably from shots on target by Ross Brown and James Insall.

Airdrie levelled the match in 58 minutes. Hardworking Ryan raced into the penalty area and Jonathan Page’s lunge took him down with the referee instantly pointing to the spot. Iain Russell provide his usual accomplished finish to send goalkeeper Mark Hurst the wrong way and level matters.

Ferguson gathered a shot from Insall midway through the half in a rare venture forward after Airdrie’s equailser, while the Diamonds lacked a real cutting edge to their build up play.

With 11 minutes remaining Brown went close to earning all three points when he reacted quickly and sent a net bound shot in from 20 yards though Hurst made the save of the match to get down low and somehow send the ball spinning over the crossbar.

Ryan and Russell linked with seven minutes to play with Russell's endeavour earning Ryan a look at goal, but he blazed a 20 yard shot well over the top.

With only two points taken from Airdrie's last three league games a gap has been created to the three of the sides at the top of the league.

The first Lanarkshire derby is a week away and with Airdrieonians having a goals tally of 11 for and 11 against while Albion Rovers have scored 10 and conceded 13, there will be few who would believe a goalless draw is on the horizon.

John O'Brien at New Broomfield.

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

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