Saturday March 9, 2019
Ladbrokes League One
Grant Gillespie 74
A solitary Grant Gillespie goal was enough to secure the points for Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.
Airdrieonians started the final quarter of the season with their third defeat of the campaign by Raith, who extended an unbeaten run against the Diamonds to 14 matches going back to 2011.
The home side were on the front foot from the kick-off and pressed Airdrie back in the opening 25 minutes, going close to taking the lead after two minutes with the visitors’ defence all at sea. A ball into the box by Liam Buchanan was directed towards goal by Grant Gillespie and fortunately struck the right hand post before being cleared upfield.
Rovers continued to win a succession of corners and free-kicks which were floated into the box, and only some last ditch defending kept John McGlynn’s side from breaking the deadlock.
Eventually Airdrie were able to break into the opposition box, and twice in the 27th minute they went close. Josh Edwards almost found the net only to see his effort blocked, while Ryan Conroy fired the rebound wide of goal.
Airdrie were eventually getting into the game with some accurate passing to take them upfield. After 26 minutes a free kick form Kieran MacDonald was headed back by Sean Crighton though Declan Glass could only fire the ball over the Raith goal.
A minute later after a MacDonald header from Josh Edwards cross struck the post, Ryan Conroy could only send the rebound wide of goal.
As the first half wore on, it seemed Rovers had run out of ideas, with Josh Campbell’s effort two minutes from the interval being blocked and the sides went in to the break level.
A Crighton headed attempt from a Conroy two minutes after the restart was just over the crossbar, but just like the first half, Rovers took control.
A long range volley from Nat Wedderburn, who was dominating the middle of the park, went high over the Airdrie goal in 51 minutes. This was followed by a weak Liam Buchanan effort from the left hand side of the box which David Hutton took easily a minute later.
A 54th minute curling shot from the corner of box by Kevin Nisbet was also just off target, but the closest to breaking the deadlock.
Rovers ended Airdrie’s stubborn resistance on 74 minutes after a fine run from Jamie Barjonas saw him find space down the left and his cross into the middle was finished off by Grant Gillespie who had raced into box to sidefoot home.
Raith went close to adding a second on 81 minutes when substitute Nathan Flanagan fired a 25-yard shot just over the crossbar.
Airdrie saw substitute Leighton McIntosh have a shot blocked for a corner minutes later but the home side were able to play out the time remaining to seal the win and leave Airdrie with work to do.
The defeat saw the Diamonds overtaken by Dumbarton in the league with a trip to face Jim Duffy’s side looming next Saturday.
John O'Brien at Stark's Park.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.