Saturday February 10, 2018
Ladbrokes League One
Willis Furtado 64
Lewis Vaughan 77
Dale Carrick 44
A fine battling performance by the Diamonds was undone as Raith showed their title credentials in the second half.
A large travelling support were in fine voice throughout the 90 minutes, and the Airdrie faithful will be encouraged by a fine display.
Although Raith took the points, there was an element of luck to their equaliser, and the Diamonds can be proud of their day's work at a ground where the hosts haven't lost in over a year.
Manager Stevie Findlay named the same starting XI that beat Forfar Athletic last weekend, with Jordan McGregor and Willie Muir returning from suspension and illness respectively to take seats on the bench.
Barry Smith's Rovers featured ex-Diamonds Liam Buchanan and Willis Furtado, who has quickly become a fans favourite at Stark's after leaving Airdrie last month.
Winger Bobby Barr had the first sight of goal, but his low sixth-minute shot was easy for Ferguson.
Josh Edwards, fresh from signing a contract extension earlier this week, had a chance seven minutes later after an incisive counter-attack. His shot was deflected and Raith goalkeeper Aaron Lennox made the save.
The Rovers custodian was to put in an impressive performance, getting across quickly to tip Kieran MacDonald's free kick round the post a minute later.
Tom Fry had a shot off target as Airdrie began to dominate proceedings, but Raith's attack was a constant threat and Buchanan went close with a shot on the turn on 19 minutes.
Lennox was in action again three minutes later, diving to save from Darryl Duffy before pulling off another impressive stop from another MacDonald free kick with ten minutes of the half remaining.
At the other end, Ferguson was in the thick of the action three minutes later, punching a cross straight to Buchanan, but as the ball was worked towards goal Dean Cairns cleared the danger. Furtado then had a strike at goal which the Diamonds keeper did well to keep out.
Airdrie's confidence and endeavour deserved a goal, and Dale Carrick popped up to put the Diamonds ahead on the stroke of half time.
The goal had echoes of the match-winner against Forfar as Fry's free kick was won by David Brownlie at the back post, with Carrick arriving to steer a fine header past Lennox.
The second half began with Rovers pressing high up the park, and Hearts loanee Dario Zanatta fluffed a decent chance three minutes after the restart.
Scott Stewart met Fry's corner three minutes later, but the midfield man fired over the bar.
John Herron was next to threaten for the Kirkcaldy men, heading over the bar on 55 minutes.
Tempers threatened to boil over on the hour mark when Kieran MacDonald's challenge sparked a brawl. Referee Craig Charleston was on the scene quickly to diffuse the situation, with yellow cards issued to MacDonald and Barr.
Two minutes later Raith equalised, and almost inevitably it was Willis Furtado who found the net, although the French-Portuguese forward had a wicked deflection to thank as Josh Edwards' attempted block saw the ball loop over the diving Ferguson.
The hosts looked to get their noses in front immediately, and Ferguson made a great save to deny Herron on 68 minutes.
But the Fifers were not to be denied for long, and as Furtado and Zanatta attacked down the left, Lewis Vaughan stole away from his marker to turn home the cross.
Carrick and Duffy combined well with ten minutes remaining, but Lennox was alert to the danger and cut out the former's clever through ball.
Stoppage time drama followed as a ball into the packed Raith penalty area was met by the hand of a defender, but the referee allowed play to continue. Two less convincing handball appeals were made as the ball pinged around the box, but Rovers withstood the pressure to continue their unbeaten home record.
Referee: Mr Craig Charleston
Stuart Mathie at Stark's Park
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
4. Herron ▊
10. Vaughan ⚽
11. Barr ▊ 🔽 (86)
9. Buchanan 🔽 (54)
21. Furtado ⚽
8. Robertson 🔼 (54)
12. Matthews 🔼 (86)
3. Edwards 🔽 (73)
4. MacDonald ▊
8. R Brown
9. Duffy 🔽 (85)
10. Carrick ⚽
11. Fry ▊ 🔽 (79)
15. Hastie 🔼 (79)
16. A Brown
18. McGregor 🔼 (73)
19. Russell 🔼 (85)