SFL Div One: AIRDRIE UNITED 1 DUNFERMLINE 2; Date: 25/08/12
Dunfermline made two changes as they faced Airdrie United for the first time since May 2010. Out went Ryan Thomson and Paul Willis and in their places were Stephen Husband and Andy Kirk. Airdrie United as expected fielded a side that was unchanged from the one that won at Livingston the previous Saturday.
Summer seemed to have arrived as the Pars fans took their seats on the far side of the stadium. Sunshine and heat would only be a short problem for the players but the lush carpet effect from the plastic pitch certainly looked much better than the pitch full of sand filled holes that were in evidence last time Dunfermline went to New Broomfield.
The visitors kicked off in their red shirts and red shorts attacking the goal at the north end. Airdrie were also in red shorts and the ball boys wore red tops, would it be a red letter day for the Fifers then? Andy Geggan took on a central midfield role and captain Jordan McMillan was at right back. It was the home side's striker John Boyle who put in the first shot at goal in fifth minute but he was narrowly wide right of target.
Five minutes later Andy Barrowman was played in for a shot from the right side of the Airdrie box but his effort went high and wide. It had come from a good move with Geggan's dummy sending away Falkingham to pick out McMillan and then on to the striker. A sweet move but a sour ending.
The home side then had a good opportunity after Nathan Blockley sent the ball out wide right for Jamie Bain to centre and the Pars defence lived dangerously as the striker directed his effort just over the bar. Dunfermline looked good going forward and Stephen Jordan fed Joe Cardle a ball that went on to Barrowman and then to Falkingham on the right but his crashing shot went wide. Next minute McMillan picked out Geggan on the right and he delivered a good cross to the near post that Kenny Arthur was first to.
Midway through the first half referee Stevie O'Reilly waved away appeals for a Pars penalty after Barrowman was eased off the ball by Blockley. Blockley then had a big hand in the opening goal of the afternoon. A free kick on the right was fired over to beyond the left post but Blockley headed the ball back across the face of goal and John BOYLE headed home. 1-0.
That was the goalscorer's last contribution since he injured himself in the process of celebrating his goal - he ran into the post - and so Paul Di Giacomo came on in his place. Cardle pumped over a corner from the left and Arthur produced a fine diving save to deny Barrowman's header. Airdrie were not seeing the most of possession but they certainly made the best of the chances that they got. Blockley made Paul Gallacher pull off a great save with a powerful drive from outside the box.
The Scottish summer with dark clouds and rain duly arrived ten minutes before the interval but the Pars were still attacking and Barrowman was again stopped by Arthur and then Geggan's shot was blocked for another corner. Cardle sent over the corner from the right and Geggan met that well but sent it wide left of target.
The rain then pelted down but Husband could not keep his shot down as he crunched a McMillan lay off into the stand. The half time whistle was certainly welcome relief for the players as the monsoon intensified. Let's hope Jim Jefferies can create a storm with his half time talk!
Half time: Airdrie United 1 Dunfermline 0
Airdrie United caused the Pars problems within 30 seconds of the restart Potter having to deal with a Blockley header from close in. When Dunfermline got forward it was McMillan's drive that was turned around his left hand post by Arthur.
In 53 minutes Husband's free kick from 28 yards was driven low into the box but it was the Airdrie boots that got the connection to clear. Then Husband followed that up with a deeper free kick but the attack could not make anything of the high ball into the box. Remarkably two minutes later Husband had another free kick from a similar situation and this time Dowie's header dropped over the crossbar.
The crossbar then prevented Dunfermline in 63 minutes. McMillan mde good ground down the right to send over a great ball for Barrowman but he directed the ball on to the horizontal and Airdrie survived. Then Andy Kirk fired into the keeper from close in and Dowie headed a corner wide right. Arthur waved at a Jordan cross from the left as it came through his box.
Ryan Wallace was introduced as the match entered its final quarter with Andy Kirk going off. The sub was involved immediately linking well with Cardle and Barrowman but still the Diamonds defence held. Falkingham was yellow carded for diving in the box and then was immediately subbed by Craig Dargo with 15 minutes remaining.
The Pars deserved a goal and eventually snatched that ten minutes from time. Wallace whipped a great ball in from the right that caused Michael Hart to turn it behind for a corner on the left. Cardle's ball fell nicely for Andy DOWIE at the far post and he smashed it into the net. The ball came out so fast again that the crowd were slow to celebrate as they made sure of what they had just seen! 1-1
Then just three minutes later Wallace was on the left to cross a ball to the far post that Stephen HUSBAND was always going to get his head on. 2-1 to the Fifers. After that with the stuffing knocked out of them Airdrie were not going to recover and the Pars ran out winners. Another away win and an important three points. Even more important the team finished the game on a high and can take that into Tuesday night's League Cup tie against Montrose.
AIRDRIE UNITED: Kenny Arthur; Michael Hart, Cameron MacDonald, David Lilley, Marc Warren, Jamie Bain, Sean Lynch, Nathan Blockley, Alan Cook (Gavin Griffin 64), Jack Boyle (Jordan Wright 84), John Boyle (Paul Di Giacomo 27).
SUBS NOT USED: Jamie Barclay, Andrew Duncan (GK).
SCORER: John Boyle (26)
YELLOW CARD: Lilley (41), Blockley (84), Warren (94)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Jordan McMillan (c), Andy Dowie, John Potter, Stephen Jordan; Stephen Husband, Andy Geggan, Josh Falkingham (Craig Dargo 75), Andy Kirk (Ryan Wallace 68), Andy Barrowman, Joe Cardle (Alex Whittle 82).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Kane, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (27), Dowie (52), Falkingham (74)
SCORERS: Dowie (80), Husband (83)
REFEREE: Stevie O'Reilly
NEXT MATCH: Scottish Communities League Cup (home) v Montrose
Tuesday 28th August 2012, kick off 7.45pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm