Saturday August 25, 2018
Ladbrokes League One
Joao Victoria 7, 83
Dale Carrick 32
Liam Buchanan 56, 87, 90+4
Kevin Nisbet 90+1
A hat-trick from former Diamond Liam Buchanan earned ten-man Raith a smash and grab victory as they turned the game in their favour deep into stoppage time.
The late collapse saw Airdrie snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, having outplayed the Stark's Park side for most of the match.
After a first half where the home side were fully meriting their two-goal advantage, the combination of a lack of concentration and good fortune for the visitors turned the match on its head.
With just seven minutes on the clock a speedy counter attack took Airdrie up the park and after Joao Victoria had controlled the ball from a long crossfield pass, he waltzed his way into the penalty box, retaining possession of the ball before firing into the net beyond Raith keeper Kieran Wright.
Rovers responded when striker Kevin Nisbet sent in a 20-yard shot which David Hutton grabbed cleanly.
Leighton McIntosh was tripped on 13 minutes as he raced beyond the visitors backline with play being waved on.
A minute later Kieran MacDonald linked with Victoria down the left then the full back’s cross broke back to Victoria and his attempt was blocked.
Immediately after Ryan Conroy had his shot on the edge of the box deflected for a corner by Iain Davidson.
Grant Gallagher was next to create an opening for Conroy but his attempt on goal was wide to the right of Wright’s goal.
18 minutes from the interval Sean Crighton had to leave the field with an injury, replaced by Josh Edwards. The change did not affect the flow of the match at this stage and 12 minutes from the break MacDonald saw the space open up for him inside the Rovers half, racing through to play the ball into the box for Victoria, who easily beat his marker and squared for Dale Carrick who netted easily in front of the open goal.
Nisbet and Buchanan linked well down the right and the striker’s instant shot in 35 minutes flashed past Hutton’s left post.
Conroy and Carrick had further shooting chances before the half-time whistle but were off target with their efforts.
On 56 minutes the visitors had a lifeline after Conroy’s back pass was intercepted by Buchanan to reduce the deficit.
The midfielder then gave himself space in the Rovers box but sent his clipped effort over the top of Wright’s goal on 59 minutes.
A minute later at the other end Hutton made a decent stop from Grant Gillespie as Raith went looking for an equaliser.
Both sides had free kicks on the edge of the opposition box within minutes but Conroy then Raith’s Nisbet were off target with their respective efforts.
From a Raith corner Airdrie gathered and broke upfield. Iain Davidson, racing back from the Airdrie penalty box, took Gallagher out of play with a headbutt which had been seen by the stand side linesman and a red card followed.
Victoria, who was having a terrific display, raced past the visiting defence in 78 minutes and it took a good save from Wright to turn his netbound strike away for a corner.
Conroy’s free kick a minute later was controlled by Leighton Mcintosh, whose shot was blocked by substitute David McKay.
McIntosh headed Conroy’s 82nd minute corner wide of Wright’s goal as the Diamonds looked for a third goal.
There were six minutes remaining when Victoria collected the ball inside the box, once again showed fabulous control then hammered his shot high past Wright.
Three minutes remained when a hopeful ball in evaded Jonathan Page and Buchanan was again in behind the home defence to score his own his side’s second.
In the first minute of the six added ,on referee Newlands adjudged Dean Cairns clearance as a high foot challenge, awarding a free kick just outside the Airdrie box. A lay-off to Nisbet saw the Raith striker send the ball through the breaking wall into the net.
The disappointing prospect of only taking a draw from a match they dominated turned into disaster for Airdrie as the visitors looked to waste time out on the left then sent a speculative cross into the box, with the ball breaking kindly for Buchanan to win the game.
John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.