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Saturday November 10, 2018

Ladbrokes League One





Kyle Turner 61


Grant Gallagher 12

Kyle Wilkie 47

A goal in each half saw Airdrie leave Stranraer with three points for the first time in almost two years as the Diamonds notched their first win under Ian Murray.

It was the second away win in succession for the Lanarkshire men, and the second over the Blues this season as midfielders Grant Gallagher and Kyle Wilkie bagged their first goals for the club in a real team performance.


The rain-sodden pitch at Stranraer was slippery at times but there were plenty of surefooted passages of play that helped Murray's side gain all three points.


Goalkeeper Ben McKenzie made his first start of the season while Chris O’Neil filled in at full-back at this regularly difficult venue.   


Four minutes into the match Joao Victoria saw his effort from the edge of the penalty area blocked as he tried to get a shot away with the ball landing kindly into the arms of keeper Max Currie.


Former Queen's Park forward Luke Donnelly was wasteful a minute later as he fired a 25 yard angled free kick well over the Airdrie goal.

As both sides tried to master the conditions, Airdrie struck the opening goal on 12 minutes. Darryl Duffy’s cross from the left picked out Wilkie who forced Currie into making a decent save. However, Gallagher was alert to the rebound and raced into the box to powerfully fire the loose ball high into the Stranraer net. 

Dale Carrick’s delivery on 18 minutes from the right side was just too close to Currie as the keeper gathered the ball under pressure from Victoria.


Gallagher went close on a couple of occasions midway through the half with a guided curling effort from outside the box that was off target, then another that the former Blues midfielder sent well over from Victoria’s pass.


Victoria also had a shot deflected for a corner as the Diamonds looked to build on their lead.   

A ball into the Airdrie box gave Donnelly the chance to find the target on 31 minutes, but he could only blast his effort well over McKenzie’s goal.


The home side missed a real chance inon34 minutes when Innes Cameron had time and space in the six yard box but flicked his header from the corner kick delivery wide to the left of the Airdrie goal.


Ian Murray's side thought they had a second on 37 minutes when Gallagher’s driven ball into the box was flicked on by Duffy then finished off by Carrick. Unfortunately, an offside flag was raised.      

Two minutes into the second half Airdrie had a second goal. Kieran Millar’s ball into the box fell between Duffy and Wilkie, and Wilkie was on hand to usher the ball into the net. 

The home side made a double change on 53 minutes but it was Wilkie who almost made it three from O’Neil’s cross into the box from the right wing, unfortunately sending his effort wide of goal.


The Airdrie goal was eventually breached on 61 minutes after Donnelly and Kyle Turner linked well down the left and into the box, with Turner drilling a low shot into the far corner past McKenzie to reduce the margin.


As the home side pressed for an equaliser, a Donnelly shot from inside the box struck McKenzie’s left post on 64 minutes, with the visiting support breathing a sigh of relief.


Airdrie soaked up the home side’s attacks then broke with purpose, leading to some poor challenges by the home defenders to stop the attacks.


On 82 minutes Airdrie were denied a penalty after substitute Leighton McIntosh collected the ball inside the penalty area, making space for himself to score only for Jamie Hamill to block on the line with his arm. A corner was awarded to the surprise of everyone in the ground.

A solid display by the back four helped debut boy McKenzie throughout, but the Diamonds as a whole were a more cohesive unit than they have been in a number of weeks and deservedly saw the match out for all three points.  

John O'Brien at Stair Park.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.

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