Saturday January 12, 2019

Ladbrokes League One

Airdrieonians

1-1

Leighton McIntosh 9 pen

Raith Rovers

Euan Murray 73

The points were shared as Airdrie drew 1-1 with Raith Rovers in a feisty match at Penny Cars Stadium.

 

David Hutton returned to the Airdrieonians starting line-up and turned in a man of the match winning display, to ensure the Diamonds earned their first point of the season against Raith. 

The home side grabbed an early lead on nine minutes from the spot. Leighton McIntosh controlled a long ball forward and carried it into the box before it broke to Kyle Wilkie, who showed some excellent footwork before Ian Davidson’s cruel challenge sent him to the ground. McIntosh made no mistake with the award hammering the ball past Robbie Thomson.

 

Six minutes later Scott Stewart had to leave the field after a head knock when Kyle Benedictus's aerial challenge left him unable to continue. Scott Robertson replaced the midfielder, joining the back three as Chris O'Neil moved forward.

On 29 minutes Chris Duggan’s 25-yard effort was comfortably taken by Hutton.

 

The visitors lacked creativity in the final third as Liam Buchanan fired a shot wide to the right of Hutton’s goal before the Diamonds went close to doubling their lead. After 41 minutes McIntosh and Robertson combined in a move that took Robertson in on goal with just the keeper to beat. He drilled in a low shot at the near post and former Diamond Robbie Thomson was down quickly to block the shot then collect the ball cleanly. 

The home side took their single goal advantage to the break.

Rovers were much improved after the interval as early efforts from Chris Duggan and Daniel Armstrong were blocked, while Euan Murray's sliced shot from outside the box was wide of the goal.

 

Kieran MacDonald’s strong run on 66 minutes was followed by a good cross that picked out McIntosh, who fired the ball over the bar with his second attempt.

 

Rovers had a great chance to equalise on 71 minutes when a Tony Dingwall cross was nodded back across goal by Duggan, but Lewis Vaughan fired over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

 

Two minutes later though Raith did have their equaliser. Dingwall’s cross into the box behind the Diamonds defence was met by Murray who headed the ball into net.

 

Duggan was fortunate only to see a yellow card for a poor challenge with 14 minutes remaining, sparking a melee which also saw Diamonds captain Sean Crighton booked.

Hutton pulled off a superb save on 79 minutes from a powerful netbound Duggan shot.

 

The former East Fife striker also had an 84th minute effort blocked, and a minute later after a great run from Lewis Vaughan he also fired in another shot which Hutton once more saved spectacularly.

 

As the clock ticked down substitute Dale Carrick was able to direct a header for goal but Thomson collected with ease. 

The Rovers keeper though was called upon to make two excellent saves in stoppage time. Grant Gillespie’s foul on Darryl Duffy saw a free kick awarded 20 yards out. Duffy sent his shot over the wall with Thomson pushing the ball over the bar for a corner.

 

MacDonald’s corner was met by Sean Crighton whose header was on target and Thomson was again the hero with another save diving to his right before the final whistle was blown.

A four match unbeated represents the Diamonds best run of form this season ahead of next week's William Hill Scottish Cup tie at Celtic Park. 

John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.

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