SFL v Airdrie United

AIRDRIE 1 DUNFERMLINE 3 Date: 04/11/08

Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 1099, Kick Off: 7.45pm.

Referee: Willie Collum


For the re-arranged league match against Airdrie United Jim McIntyre was able yet again to name an unchanged side. Steven Bell injured himself warming up on Saturday so Scott Muirhead was on the bench in his place. Airdrie United started with the same eleven that got a draw at Dens Park on Saturday.

The Excelsior Stadium was sparsely populated for the 7.45pm kick off, the home crowd apparently drawn to the alternative attraction in the North Lanarkshire town - the Guy Fawkes Fireworks. Dunfermline got off to an explosive start when Calum WOODS produced an individual piece of genius to open the scotring in the fourth minute. The 21 year old netted his first ever goal in senior football after a good run down the right that allowed him to cut in along the 18 yard line and shoot low into the bottom right of the Airdrie net.

Stephen Glass launched an eighth minute free kick forward but play swiftly moved to the other end and Scott Wilson seemed to pass the ball to his right as Paul Gallacher came out behind him to the top of the penalty box. Paul Di GIACOMO accepted the ball and slipped the ball straight into the empty goal.

There was a 50/50 challenge between Kevin Harper and Joe Cardle that Referee Willie Collum deemed to be an Airdrie free kick and when Cardle flighted in a useful ball from the left the ball was defended only as far as Scott McLaughlin who smashed a 25 yard effort narrowly wide left. Greg Shields tackle on Di Giacomo gave the hosts another free kick this time on the right. The 24th minute setpiece picked out Di Giacomo on the far side of the box but fortunately he headed straight into Gallacher`s arms.

McLaughlin`s block on Woods yielded a 25 yard free kick in a central position. With what was only the Pars second shot at goal Stephen GLASS clipped the ball over the four man wall to beat the keeper to his right. 29 minutes gone and the Pars 2-1 up.

Airdrie were allowed to pass the ball about in the Pars half and In 37 minutes Cardle evaded tackle to get near enough to pop a shot at goal but that effort went over the crossbar.  Scott Thomson had replaced Calum Woods who appeared to have limped from soon after scoring his goal and the sub launched a free kick from half way but Graham Bayne couldn`t get enough on it to trouble Stephen Robertson.

A quickly taken home corner three minutes from the break was easily taken by Gallacher.  Simon Wiles replaced Kevin Harper who had required the physio`s attentions earlier in the match and in his first involvement he delivered a fine cut back from the right byeline that Bayne knocked down to space at the base of the D but Andy Kirk as closed out before he could pull the trigger.

Because they had taken their chances, Dunfermline had the lead at the break but the performance had not completely eclipsed Airdrie.

Half Time: Airdrie United 1 Dunfermline 2

Like the first half the Fifers had a good opening spell on the resumption with Graham Bayne having chances to extend the advatage in the third and fourth minute. The first came after good exchange of passes invloving four or five players but the shot from an angle crept outside the left post. A weak clearance from keeper Robertson next landed at Bayne`s feet but luck favoured Airdrie with the return ball from 25 yards going on the wrong side of that same post.

A Cardle shot in 53rd minute turned was behind by Gallacher but Dunfermline coped with that.  Next when Wiles drove towards the home goal it looked that possession was lost in a tackle but Nick PHINN latched on to the loose ball and whacked it from 25 yards into the net.

Paul Gallacher had to be at his best in 58 minutes to dive low to his right and turn a Di Giacomo header around his post.  Airdrie kept up the pressure with Lynch swinging in a dangerous ball in the direction of Smyth that Wiles had to stuff behind. At the other end Glass played the ball up the left for Kirk but at the end of his run the Irishman struck the ball wide of the right upright.

Play was soon back in front of Gallacher`s goal and McDonald released a shot from 25 yards that whizzed wide right with the aid of a deflection.  The Pars defence slipped deeper and deeper with Jim McIntyre shouting warnings that they were defending `on the edge`.

Still Airdrie enjoyed the territorial advantage.  Shields booted a clearance and Wiles was tumbled as he tried to drive out of defence. Wiles relieved the situation winning a corner on the right.  When that came over for a second time Wiles was blocked as he wound up for a shot 15 yards out. He did however incur injury in the process.

In 78 minutes Gallacher saved from both McDougall and Lynch at his near post to cool the Airdrie vigour. McLaughlin launched a rocket of a shot from 30 yards and again Gallacher pulled off a fantastic save to maintain the two goal margin.  Simon Wiles became the third necessary substitution and Iain Williamson entered the fray with ten minutes to go.

A Wilson tackle saw Di Giacomo going screaming to the ground and McLaughlin lifted the 87th minute free kick well over the bar.  Dunfermline`s second half performance fairly stifled Airdrie`s attempts to score and Gallacher in particular was worthy of much praise.

Another away league win takes Dunfermline to joint second in the league, just two points behind leaders St Johnstone.  Let`s hope the win did not close with any serious injury to Harper, Wiles or Woods.

AIRDRIE UNITED: Stephen Robertson; Marc Smyth, Paul Lovering (c) (Stuart Noble 64), Kevin McDonald, Darren Smith (Steven McDougall 74), Stephen McKenna, David Nixon, Scott McLaughlin, Joe Cardle; Paul Di Giacomo, Simon Lynch,
SUBS: Matthew Hazely, Michael Brown, Lee Hollis
SCORER: Di Giacomo (9)
YELLOW CARD: Marc Smyth (65)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods (Scott Thomson 30), Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Austin McCann; Kevin Harper (Simon Wiles 43 (Iain Williamson 80)), Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Andy Kirk, Graham Bayne.
SUBS: Scott Muirhead, Callum Reidford (GK)
SCORER: Woods (4), Glass (29), Phinn (55)
YELLOW CARD: Phinn (57), Kirk (92)


NEXT MATCH: (home) v Dundee, Saturday 8th November 2008
Kick off 3.00pm

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