Saturday March 25, 2017
Ladbrokes League One
Danny Mullen 8, 62
Declan Gallagher 10
Nicky Cadden 85
Ryan Conroy 34
Andy Ryan 90+2 Pen
A poor start proved to be Airdrie's undoing as the Diamonds went down to league leaders Livingston.
Andy Ryan returned to Airdrie's lineup in place of the suspended Jack Leitch, but the final meeting of the sides ended with the same scoreline as the first fixture back in August.
The home side started in whirlwind fashion and aided by poor Airdrie defending Livingston had a two goal advantage after ten minutes.
With a minute on the clock an Adam Brown free kick sent into the box saw the ball break to Joe Gorman who fired it over the crossbar.
Two early goals saw the home side take a grip of the match. Indecision in the penalty area by the Airdrie defence allowed Liam Buchanan time to cut back the ball into Daniel Mullen’s path and he fired it low past Rohan Ferguson to open the scoring with eight minutes gone.
Two minutes later Shaun Byrne intercepted as Iain Russell tried to take the ball out. He made for the penalty box then saw his shot hit Ferguson’s right post before Declan Gallagher lashed the rebound high into the net.
Airdrie recovered slowly and would have reduced the margin had Jordan McGregor been able to connect with Brown’s 18th minute free kick in to the back post.
It was Ryan Conroy who pulled one back on 34 minutes after Andy Ryan was crudely fouled by Craig Halkett, who was booked for his third offence. Conroy’s free kick was sent over the Livingston wall and into the net to Liam Kelly’s left hand post.
Five minutes from the break a good run by Russell down the right ended with a decent cross into the middle that Ryan was able to direct on target but Kelly comfortably gathered the ball.
Airdrie enjoyed a decent spell five minutes after the restart when a Brown short corner to Conroy saw the midfielder clip the ball in but strike the crossbar on the way over the goal on 53 minutes.
A Kieran MacDonald run into the penalty box in 57 minutes was followed by a drilled cross from the left that was cleared away, and a powerful run down the right on the hour by Scott Stewart contributed to pushing the home side back into the final third of the field.
Against the run of play in 63 minutes a ball forward by Buchanan to Mullen saw the striker turn McGregor and drill a 20-yard shot into the net.
Ferguson made an excellent save on 69 minutes after another defensive lapse allowed substitute Nikolay Todorov one on one with the keeper.
Five minutes from time the home side added a fourth after former Diamond Nicky Cadden cut in from the right then fired the ball low under Ferguson.
Ryan added a late consolation goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time, firing home for his 20th goal of an excellent season for him after Halkett brought down Russell inside the box.
John O'Brien at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.