SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 2 AIRDRIEONIANS 1: Date 21/09/13
The return of Airdrie meant the return of Martin Hardie. The Pars legend in his own life time at East End had recovered from the ankle injury that had sidelined him for several weeks. Dunfermline made one change from the side that took the field at Glebe Park the previous week with Shaun Byrne being preferred to Ryan Wallace.
As well as Hardie, Jimmy Boyle's Airdrie team had scorer last time here, Liam Coogans back in the starting eleven. Willie McLaren and Jim Lister dropped out and it was the visitors in a royal blue away strip that kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.
Seven minutes past before either goalkeeper got much to do. It was Airdrie's keeper Scott Gallacher who had to hold a header from Robert Thomson who did not get enough on Ross Millen's cross to trouble the on loan Rangers keeper. Two minutes later Thomson had a chance when he found himself free on the left side of the Airdrie box but the keeper was out fast to make a good block on the striker's well struck shot.
In eleventh minute of the game central defender Luke Johnston went down injured in his own half and both the club physio and club doctor came on to administer treatment. The player walked off holding a towel to his head. No sub and it looked like the doc, Bobby Robertson was going to have to do some stitching.
Falkingham made a fine pass. threading a great ball through the left channel and again it was Thomson who was given the chance. This time the striker chose not to shoot but dragged the ball and the keeper out left but when he squared the ball into the six yard box disappointingly there was no one there to accept the easy conversion. Next Falkingham fired a useful attempt at the keeper from 22 yards.
As Johnston returned to the field of play after a ten minute absence during which Andy Geggan had deputised in the heart of the Pars defence, Martin Hardie was handed a shooting chance from a free kick 26 yards out. He knew fine where the net was at this range but his effort cleared both the wall and the crossbar.
At the other end Byrne, Moore and then Thomson linked well on the edge of the opposition box and it was Moore who cut inside to get the shot away but that was blocked by a defender. There was just over ten minutes to half time when Alex Whittle and then Husband switched the ball from left to right from where Millen crossed. Moore stuck his foot in but diverted the ball over the bar from six yards.
Two minutes later Thomson cut back for Moore but his shot was easily held by Gallacher. Chances were coming but none that really tested the all orange kitted keeper. Then in 42 minutes Thomson showed great skills to beat off the challenge of Darren McCormack and his cross towards Geggan was well intercepted by Airdrie's Gregor Buchanan.
Neat play in the centre of the park saw Geggan set up Thomson and this time he shot but his effort from 25 yards slipped narrowly over the crossbar.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Airdrieonians 0
Within the first minute of the second half the Airdrie goal escaped two good chances from successive Millen corners delivered from the right. Gallacher tipped over a powerful Callum Morris header at the first while the second was cleared after a goalmouth struggle. Willie McLaren had replaced Lewis Coult four minutes into the half and he was desperately unlucky with a chip that slipped wide left.
The match was then to be lifted by two goals in 65 seconds. Stephen HUSBAND hit one of his signature free kicks from around 30 yards low to Gallacher's right and the Pars went in to a 56th minute lead.
Unfortunately Airdrieonians went straight up the park and Liam COOGANS drifted in from the left to slip the ball past Scully. 1-1
The Pars first sub of the afternoon was 19 year old Allan Smith for 19 year Jordan Moore in 62 minutes but it was Airdrie who next came close. Hardie cut back from the right touchline to Blockley who then picked out Coogans on the edge of the box. The Airdie striker spun and shot but just off target. Airdrie took inspiration from the chance and David Sinclair was far from convincing as he tried to convert from Scully's fist out.
Dunfermline started to complete slick passes and Wallace's cross might have been finished by Smith had luck been on his side. The match officials were very unpopular with the home support in the McCathie and North West Stands when they appeared to be the only people who would not have given the Pars a 75th minute corner.
Millen flashed a cross through the Pars box giving Gallacher more time wasting potential. Then the visitors 80th minute corner sent in by McLaren, was headed over the Pars crossbar by Grant Evans. The breakthrough was to come however five minutes from time when the ball was thrashed into the Airdrie net by Andy GEGGAN. It was Smith who did all the hard work beating two players out on the left and getting the goal over into the Airdrie box. There were several efforts to score but when Falkingham's effort dropped to the Pars number six ten yards out he was not going to miss. 2-1.
It took a long time coming but it was a win that Dunfermline deserved and one that ended Airdrie's winning habit at East End Park.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Luke Johnston, Callum Morris, Alex Whittle; Josh Falkingham (c), Shaun Byrne (Ryan Wallace 70), Stephen Husband, Andy Geggan; Jordan Moore (Allan Smith 62), Robert Thomson (Ryan Thomson 81).
SUBS NOT USED: Kerr Young, Fayssal El Bakhtaoui, Ryan Ferguson, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Husband (56), Geggan (85)
AIRDRIEONIANS: Scott Gallacher; Gregor Buchanan, Darren McCormack, Grant Evans, Paddy Boyle, David Sinclair, Martin Hardie, Jamie Bain, Nathan Blockley; Liam Coogans, Lewis Coult (Willie McLaren 49).
SUBS NOT USED: Andrew Duncan (GK), Grant Drummond, Nicky Caddis, Liam Watt
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (40). Boyle (66)
SCORER: Coogans (57)
REFEREE: Mat Northcroft
WEATHER: Overcast 14C
50/50 HALF TIME DRAW: Winning ticket was no. 71724. The prize sum was £524
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Ayr United
Saturday 28th September 2013, kick off 3.00pm
- www: MATCH PICTURES
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm