SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 0 AIRDRIEONIANS 1: Date 18/01/14
Bottom of the table Airdrieonians were the opposition for the Pars second home match of 2014. Ryan Thomson was out with an ankle injury, Faissal El Bakhtaoui was serving the first of his two match suspension for seeing red against Stranraer and Kerr Young was also missing due to suspension. Fortunately Callum Morris had recovered from his Achilles injury and Alex Whittle from his hamstring injury. Allan Smith came in for Faissal and Ross Drummond found himself back on the bench.
Airdrieonians had Grant Adam in goals after a recent spell at Cowdenbeath. His task was to try and achieve the Diamonds first shut out since November 2012. Liam Watt dropped to the bench and there was no Willie McLaren or Lewis Coult. Into the starting eleven came former Par Paddy Boyle and Caolan McAleer on loan from Partick Thistle.
The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was Dunfermline who looked stronger in the opening minutes. Ryan Williamson beat his man and drilled a good shot in on target that Adam held. The Pars forced a couple of corners before Williamson again tried a break into the Airdrieonians box but there was one man too many to beat and what looked a good burst failed to end up with a shot.
Airdrieonians forced a couple of corners of their own inside the first nine minutes but the inswingers from McAleer gave the defence little to deal with. A 14th minute free kick was pumped into the Airdrie box by Ryan Wallace causing Adam to adopt a Superman style fist out. At the other end Scully held a free kick from down near the left goalpost. More Airdrie pressure kept the defence and Scully busy as they looked a greater threat than their league position had suggested.
It was no surprise really when the visitors took the lead in 19 minutes but it did come from a Pars mistake. Lawrence Shankland was back midway inside his own half when he slipped the ball back seeking a team mate but Keigan Parker accepted the gift, switched it right through Nathan Blockley for McALEER who launched the ball into the Pars net from 25 yards. The Irishman's first goal in senior football was a bit of a cracker, 0-1
Airdrieonians continued to look more like the second placed team with Lister failing to take a chance right in front of goal and Jamie Bain seeing his shot deflected narrowly wide of Scully's right hand post for another corner. When Dunfermline got forward in 29 minutes Smith fired a shot at Adam.
Three minutes later a Blockley tackle on Falkingham allowed Morris to loft the ball towards the Airdrie box and when Shankland latched on the defended ball he was unlucky that the visitors defence snaffled the ball away from Falkingham before he could get in a shot.
A Williamson pass then set up Smith but he hit the left post and next another Williamson ball in from right was desperately but effectively defended. Airdrie skipper Darren McCormack was shown a yellow card in 37 minutes but still the Pars could do nothing with the setpiece.
Williamson got the better of Bain again to send over another inviting cross five minutes from the break but Shankland couldn't get contact and when Whittle was fouled by McAleer on the corner of the box, Wallace was given another opportunity but Adam held his effort.
Allan Smith cleared at the left post when full back Ross Gilmour got in a shot from a corner on the right. The Airdrie man covered back and clashed with Whittle earning him a yellow card and the home side a free kick. From 30 yards Wallace popped that at Adam and the Pars were to go in to meet Jim Jefferies a goal behind.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Airdrieonians 1
Smith and Shankland got the second 45 underway and the Fifers looked intent on an equaliser from the start but two Falkingham attempts were blocked and a Wallace corner was held by Adam. A 53rd minute shot from Wallace swerved in on Adam but he did enough to keep it out.
First substitution of the afternoon came next minute when Stephen Husband replaced Shaun Byrne. A shot from McCormack was deflected behind for an Airdrie corner, that was successfully defended and play quickly swung to the other end where Smith could only get a corner from a good Geggan pass into the left side of the box.
From 25 yards Husband drove a 61st minute free kick into the three man defensive wall before another change saw Jordan Moore introduced in place of Smith. Lister headed a McAleer cross into the sidenetting and at the other end Gregor Buchanan was booked for toppling Falkingham. Husband's low drive from the resulting free kick was held by Adam.
Just under twenty minutes from the end Callum Morris was forced to give up meaning Under 20s captain Declan O'Kane came on for his first team debut. The 18 year old teamed up with Lewis Martin in the centre of the defence. The Pars pressed but when Husband got wide left the offside flag went up.
As the game went into the final ten minutes Airdrie continued to look dangerous and it took a neat back header from O'Kane to keep Blockley away from a good delivery in from the right. Dunfermline tried but struggled to find a route to opportunities to shoot. At times they appeared to want to pass the ball all the way to goal.
In 89th minute Falkingham made a great chance but Adam thwarted Shankland twice inside the six yard box. It was a good low ball cross from near the right byeline but the keeper did just enough to keep his goal intact. Scully went up for a 92nd minute corner but in the end the Pars bogey against bottom of the table teams returned.
It was Airdrieonians first shut out in 49 competitive matches, well done to the defence and Grant Adam - their seventh keeper of the season. It was also the Diamonds first away win since last May, when they won 2-1 at Dunfermline.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (Declan O'Kane 72), Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne (Stephen Husband 54), Josh Falkingham (c), Andy Geggan; Ryan Wallace; Allan Smith (Jordan Moore 64), Lawrence Shankland.
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Drummond, Lewis Spence, Ross Millen, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (86)
AIRDRIEONIANS: Grant Adam, Ross Gilmour, Gregor Buchanan, Stefan Milojevic, Paddy Boyle; Caolan McAleer, Darren McCormack (c), Nathan Blockley, Jamie Bain; Jim Lister, Keigan Parker.
SUBS NOT USED: Nicky Cadden, Liam Coogans, Rickie Lamie, Liam Watt, Jonathan Grier (GK)
SCORER: McAleer (19)
YELLOW CARDS: Boyle (23), McCormack (37), Gregor Buchanan (68)
REFEREE: Kevin Graham
WEATHER: Overcast 6C
50/50 PRIZE DRAW: £748 won by no. 81189
NEXT MATCH (away) v Brechin City
Saturday 25th January 2013, kick off 3.00pm<
- www: WEB ALBUM
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm