Saturday March 23, 2019

Ladbrokes League One

Airdrieonians

1-0

Kyle Wilkie 45

Forfar Athletic

A single strike decided the third Airdrie match in succession - and this time Kyle Wilkie was the hero as the Diamonds triumphed over Forfar Athletic.

Wilkie scored his sixth goal of the season as the team maintained their record of producing a winning performance every time the midfield man has found the net.

Airdrie enjoyed the better of a scrappy first half which saw Forfar set up  with two banks of four.

The absence of a real threat in the first half hour was evident with Airdrie going closest thanks to a couple of Ryan Conroy corners, with captain Sean Crighton heading wide of goal early on then straight at Loons keeper Marc McCallum.

 

Conroy had a 15th minute effort on goal from the edge of the box blocked then cleared upfield, and following successive corners on 25 minutes, Scott Stewart appeared to have been upended in the box, with any penalty claimed waved aside.

The visitors' first real attempt came on 37 minutes after Brad Spencer sent a 25-yard shot wide left of David Hutton’s goal, while the Airdrie keeper reacted quickly two minutes from the break to race out of his box and clear the threat as former Diamond John Baird raced in to challenge.

 

In the closing minutes of the half after some nice passing play took the home side into the penalty area, a clearance fell nicely for Josh Edwards who curled a lovely ball across the face of visitors' goal, with Wilkie on hand to pass the ball into the net, giving McCallum no chance.

 

In time added on Forfar reacted and only a timely block sent Dale Hilson’s 20 yard shot wide of goal to ensure Airdrie held that half-time advantage. 

Forfar went close five minutes after the restart with Brad Spencer firing just wide to the right from the edge of the penalty box.

 

Baird was next to have a go, sending a 20-yard shot over the crossbar on 61 minutes.

 

A minute later a well-worked move almost saw Airdrie double their lead. Crighton’s angled free kick picked out Stewart and his knock-on saw Darryl Duffy latch on to the ball and fire in an angled netbound shot which had McCallum leaping to his left to push the ball over the crossbar.

 

Not to be outdone on 66 minutes, after Lewis Moore’s cross from the left picked out Baird, Hutton dived to his right and clawed the former Diamond's header away from his goal.

 

As the game opened up a similar free-kick on 69 minutes saw Stewart again knock on Conroy's delivery, and Duffy’s near-post shot was again saved by McCallum. 

Substitute Thomas Reilly fired well over the Airdrie goal on 69 minutes while a second Baird header two minutes later was again on target but well taken by Hutton. 

Airdrie substitute Dean Hawkshaw came on for his debut, showing good control and skill to send a ball over for Josh Campbell who header over as the clock ticked down with 13 minutes to play, with a Stewart header in 79 minutes also rising over the crossbar. 

A decent run and cross from Edwards set up substitute Sean McIntosh and he fired his shot well over McCallum’s goal.

 

Hilson had one final chance in stoppage time, but the well marshalled Airdrie backline blocked the effort and Forfar could not answer that single first half strike as the hosts deservedly took all three points.

Back-to-back home wins with a couple of shut-outs for the first time since November 2014 mean the Diamonds' upcoming run of three games inside eight days will have a major say on how the season unfolds.

John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.

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