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Saturday October 29, 2016

Ladbrokes League One

East Fife





Andy Ryan 10


Andy Ryan's tenth minute goal secured the points for Airdrie at East Fife - and capped off a brilliant week for the new dad.

Striker Andy, whose partner Ashleigh gave birth to baby Aaron on Monday, was on hand to net the winner as the Diamonds enjoyed their second shut-out of the season and pushed themselves into fourth place in the League One table.

It was the first time the team had won back to back matches in the league this season, although the margin of this win was much closer than the 4-1 triumph over Queen's Park.

Matchwinner Ryan had looked up for the game from kick off when he made a superb run after just two minutes, covering half the length of the park before drilling the ball across the goal, but Fifers keeper Mark Hurst was on hand to gather as Brown came racing in.

After ten minutes a floated free kick by Ryan Conroy was attacked by Joe Gorman inside the box with Ryan nipping in to meet the ball and turn past Hurst into the net.

Good linking play in 14 minutes between Ryan and Conroy led to a chance for Adam Brown, but his tame shot was easily taken by Hurst.

Brown did much better on 21 minutes after being set up by Ryan, and this time the home defence had to look sharp to block the 20-yard effort.

A fine angled pass in 33 minutes found Iain Russell wide left and his shot was well taken by Hurst.

As the home side were finding it difficult to break through the well marshalled Airdrie defence, some niggle crept into their approach play.

A couple of minutes from the break a clash between Marc Fitzpatrick and East Fife’s Chris Kane saw both receive a booking.

As half time approached Scott Stewart and Kane were involved in a robust challenge to end the half with a heated exchange. The second half began with Sean McIntosh on for Stewart, unable to continue after receving staples to the resultant ankle wound.

The home side were not providing any early threat after the restart, and Airdrie looked as though they could add to their lead.

In 59 minutes Russell picked out Ryan with a fine pass and his effort was on target but saved by Hurst.

Ryan crossed for Jack Leitch a minute later but his front post header was just wide of the goal.

Brown curled a 20 yard free kick just wide in 63 minutes before Ryan again showed great stamina with a lung bursting run from the halfway line, and the striker was unfortunate to see his driven shot blocked.

With 16 minutes left Jonathan Page was booked for a challenge on former Hamilton team-mate Ryan. The defender's reaction resulted in a second yellow which saw East Fife reduced to ten.

Ten minutes later Sean McIntosh was shown a straight red for a challenge on the edge of the box.

Kevin Smith curled the resultant free kick over the wall but against a post, with any danger cleared away.

With four minutes left Smith weaved his way into the penalty box only to be denied by Rohan Ferguson. The Diamonds keeper topped that save on the 90 minute mark, somehow getting down to a point-blank shot by Jason Kerr.

Six points from six is a strong start to the second quarter for Airdrie, with a derby day trip to Cliftonhill sure to provide fireworks on November 5.

John O'Brien at Bayview Stadium.

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

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