Saturday November 17, 2018
Ladbrokes League One
Sean Crighton 42
Darryl Duffy 61 pen, 86
Kyle Wilkie 72
Kevin Smith 10, 35
A stunning second half fightback saw Airdrie come from two goals down to romp to an impressive 4-2 victory over East Fife.
The win saw Diamonds beat the Fifers for the first time their last six meetings and also blew away the recent run of poor home form.
Airdrie keeper David Hutton returned in goal after missing the last match through injury.
The home side carried the early threat. After three minutes a decent ball in from Chris O’Neil on the right was cleared away at the far post, then two minutes later as Airdrie broke forward, Grant Gallagher passed to Dale Carrick and his ball in behind picked out Darryl Duffy who fired his angled shot over the visitor’s goal.
East Fife opened the scoring after ten minutes as Ross Dunlop and Aaron Dunsmore played through the home defence with Dunlop’s cross into the box finding Kevin Smith who hammered the ball into the net off the crossbar.
Threeminutes later Wilkie’s cross saw the ball break for Grant Gallagher and his shot was deflected past Craig McDowell’s goal.
As Airdrie searched for an equaliser, Darryl Duffy fired the ball into the side netting while Wilkie was on the end of another O’Neil cross but saw his shot well blocked.
Ten minutes of the half remained when the Fifers took full advantage of some poor defending from a Scott Agnew corner. His delivery created uncertainty in the box and Smith was on hand to head home his own and his side’s second goal.
Four minutes later a Dunsmore cutback from the left saw Kieran MacDonald grateful to see his sliced clearance fly past his own goal.
The full back made a great run forward on 42 minutes to provide Joao Victoria with an option as he squared the ball along the edge of the box and MacDonald's shot was deflected behind. From the resultant corner, a terrific front post cross from Wilkie saw skipper Sean Crighton rise at the near post to head the ball past McDowell to reduce the half-time deficit.
In the opening five minutes after the interval, East Fife’s Jonny Court went close on a couple of occasions while Carrick headed another O’Neil cross wide of the target.
As Airdrie started to press the visitors back, another O’Neil delivery in 59 minutes saw Duffy’s header comfortably taken by McDowall.
A minute later as Wilkie tried to weave his way inside the penalty box, he was fouled by Dunlop and referee Alan Newlands pointed to the spot. Duffy sent keeper McDowall the wrong way to level matters.
Both sides made changes to influence the proceedings but it was Airdrie who had the initiative and grabbed the lead on 72 minutes. A strong run by substitute Leighton McIntosh was followed by a fine ball in to Wilkie, who lined up a shot on the edge of the box then saw his deflected effort curl away from McDowall and in off the post.
Wilkie went close again two minutes later when he curled another attempt over the top of the East Fife goal.
The visitors came back in 77 minutes, testing keeper David Hutton who dived low to save from Agnew after being set up by Pat Slattery inside the box.
Hutton then saved again from Slattery on 81 minutes after being set up by Court.
With four minutes remaining a burst from defence by Stewart saw him play a sublime through ball for fellow substitute McIntosh, who drove into the opposing box and squared across goal only for McDowell to make the save. Duffy was on hand to net from close range to seal the win.
John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.