Saturday December 15, 2018
Ladbrokes League One
Ricky Little 27
Luck was on Arbroath's side as Ricky Little grabbed a somewhat fortunate winner against Airdrie whilst the Diamonds were denied on a number of occasions.
Ian Murray made a number of changes for the visit of the runaway league leaders.
Ryan Conroy, Darryl Duffy and Leighton McIntosh made way for Dean Cairns, Josh Edwards and Kyle Wilkie in the starting line-up as the Diamonds aimed to end their visitors' unbeaten run.
With four minutes gone Gavin Swankie was first to have a go, though his volley from outside the box was well wide of the Airdrie goal.
Josh Edwards went close in similar fashion for the Diamonds three minutes later when he latched on to a clearance from a Kyle Wilkie corner, firing wide to the right of Darren Jamieson’s goal.
Former Diamond Ryan Wallace was also off target on nine minutes, although seven minutes later Dean Cairns was unlucky to see his 20-yard effort blocked and deflected for a corner after excellent play in the build up by Wilkie.
As chances continued at both ends, Wallace had a second opportunity from the edge of the box on 20 minutes and again was off target.
Airdrie were first to test the keeper and Arbroath were thankful for Jamieson’s reactions on 22 minutes when he blocked a close range Dale Carrick shot from inside the box after a free-kick put the striker in behind their opposition defence.
It was the visitors who took the lead on 27 minutes after Gavin Swankie found space on the right to deliver a cross in. Ricky Little had taken up a good position in the box, although the defender got a lucky break when the ball skewed off the back of his head and beyond Ben McKenzie.
As Airdrie searched for an equaliser, Kieran MacDonald had a long range shot which did not trouble Jamieson on the half hour, though two minutes later Kieran Millar's volley saw the keeper once again make another last ditch save for his side.
Grant Gallagher and Arbroath’s Bobby Linn blazed over their opponent’s crossbar with the closing shots as the interval drew close.
Six minutes after the restart Edwards fired an excellent shot from just inside the penalty box but again the Diamonds were out of luck as it struck the post with keeper Jamieson well beaten.
Airdrie made attacking changes almost immediately, but it was Arbroath’s Danny Denholm who went close with a headed attempt and David Gold running in after a Colin Hamilton punt into the box.
The Diamonds responded well from corners with skipper Sean Crighton heading wide on one occasion then forcing Jamieson to dive low and gather the ball in the congested area as the clock ticked down to the closing twenty minutes.
Airdrie tried to get back in the match in the final period, but faced an experienced side with the ability to break down the flow of play when the home side built up a threat.
Dick Campbell’s side were able to see out the match with the one goal advantage leaving the Diamonds to regret the chances they had over the ninety minutes.
Similar performances will surely see more points heading Airdrie's way, but on this occasion the visitors were able to continue their unbeaten run.
John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.