Saturday November 11, 2017
Ladbrokes League One
Ryan Conroy 61, 68
Airdrie produced a fine second half performance as Ryan Conroy's double gave the Diamonds victory over Stranraer.
The sides met for the third time this season and once again it was the home side that took the three points, a result which pulls Airdrie closer to the pack in mid-table.
Stranraer had to make an early change following the early loss of the influential Scott Agnew and had the best opportunities of a disappointing first half from both sides.
Experienced defender Jamie Hamill could only send a 25-yard free kick into the arms of keeper Kyle Gourlay with five minutes on the clock, while Ryan Thomson should have done better in 17 minutes after finding space in behind the Diamonds defence but sent his shot from ten yards against Gourlay’s right post.
Stranraer captain Steven Bell was perhaps fortunate to only see yellow when he raised his hands to defender David Brownlie a minute later.
Airdrie’s goal threat showed on a couple of occasions midway through the half after successive diagonal balls were controlled by Willis Furtado, who was able to get shots away with one wide of goal and another into the side netting.
Gourlay was alert in first half stoppage time diving bravely to smother the ball as Paul Woods looked to break the deadlock.
The visitors tried to move the ball more quickly after the break, and in 54 minutes their free kick allowed Thomson in for a chance but he failed to hit the target.
Steadily Airdrie were building up a spell of pressure, winning a couple of corners which came to nothing, but with 61 minutes on the clock a terrific run by Luke Watt took him into the right hand side of the penalty box before cutting the ball back for Conroy to apply the finishing touch and send the ball into the net past keeper Cameron Belford for the opener.
Jake Hastie came on for Jordan Allan just after the goal and Airdrie started to pass the ball with greater purpose and accuracy.
Stranraer appeared to be rattled and started to lose their composure. In 69 minutes Conroy added his own and his side’s second goal.
With the Stranraer defence being pushed back, a clearance to the edge of the box was controlled by Conroy who curled a delicious 20 yard shot into the postage stamp corner of the net.
A five minute spell followed which could be titled the Furtado v Belford contest. Three times the mercurial forward cut inside from the left, evaded his marker and fired for goal and three times Belford made very decent saves, with Scott Stewart following up the last of the efforts, but sending his shot high over the goal.
With 79 minutes played Conroy was denied his hat-trick as Furtado rose to return a cross ball from the left back into the path of his captain, whose strike was on target but Belford did well to tip the ball over his crossbar.
Airdrie worked hard to earn that clean sheet in the final ten minutes with centre back Jordan McGregor making a superb last ditch challenge as former Diamond Ryan Wallace was about to race into the box, and Gourlay made a clean catch with two minutes to play from a corner kick as the visitors piled their taller players into the box.
Gourlay secured his shut-out in stoppage time, making an excellent diving save to his left from Wallace’s 20-yard effort.
An important win for the Diamonds given results elsewhere, which sees both sides in a group of four clubs separated by three points.
Referee: Mr Ryan Milne
John O'Brien at Excelsior Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
7. Stewart ▊
8 .Conroy ⚽⚽
9. Allan 🔽 (63)
10. Fry 🔽 (84)
14. Cairns 🔼 (84)
15. Hastie 🔼 (63)
4. Barron ▊
7. Woods 🔽 (66)
8. Bell ▊
10. Agnew 🔽 (3)
9. Wallace ▊
24. Stoney 🔽 (66)
14. Okoh 🔼 (66)
16. Turner 🔼 (3)
17. Elliott 🔼 (66)