SFL v Airdrie United


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2915, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: David Somers

Airdrie United were the visitors as the Pars turned their attention back to the push for promotion. A win over the Diamonds was essential to keep in touch with league leaders St Johnstone who are the next opponents.

The home side were missing the injured Stephen Glass from the previous week`s cup tie but Alex Burke assumed his role. Airdrie United made two changes - 22 year old Lee Hollis replacing first choice keeper Stephen Robertson and Willie MacLachlan, on loan from Rangers, taking the place of Scott McLaughlin.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.┬ On two minutes a Kevin McDonald pass sent Paul Di Giacomo into the left side of the box but Greg Shields got the ball away although it looked like it was played off a hand. Dunfermline enjoyed a lot of possession┬ in the first ten minutes┬ but although the midfield linked up well the Airdrie defence were not to be penetrated.

An eighth minute corner swung over from the left by Burke had yielded no chances but Hollis did have to hold a useful ball in from Rory Loy after a Woods pass had been knocked on for him to run into the right side of the Airdrie box.

Gallacher held a cross cum shot that Joe Cardle lobbed over from the left in 14th minute┬ but then, completely against the run of play the bottom team took the lead. Matt Hazely`s low corner from the right was met by Simon LYNCH eight yards out and the Airdrie man drilled the ball into the net virtually unopposed.

For the next ten minutes Airdrie played with confidence and Dunfermline had trouble setting up much in the way of an offensive. McLachlan intercepting the final pass on a good Andy Kirk break being the only positive feature. It was 27th minute before Bayne had┬ the Pars┬ first shot of the afternoon at the visitors` goal but he despatched the pass from Loy wide left.

Bell had a pop at goal in 31 minutes but Hollis held that easily. The home support were becoming more and more frustrated with their team losing possession too easily, miskicking and misplacing passes. In 34th minute Burke failed to pick out Shields from a free kick 30 yards out and boos resounded around East End.

Shields pumped in two free kicks himself before Bayne got the break of the ball back to Nick Phinn but his two shots were first blocked by the feet of the prone McDonald and then the second deflected wide off Bobby Donnelly. The match sparked to life for a while after Bayne was denied a penalty for a robust tackle by Donnelly and then Stephen McDougall testing Gallacher, followed by an effort wide of the left post from the same man.

In the final minute of the half Cardle was permitted a run at goal and his 25 yard effort was deflected off Scott Wilson for a corner. MacLachlan was next to send the ball whistling past Gallacher`s goal and when Referee David Somers brought the first 45 to an end there was universal disquiet over the home side`s performance.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Airdrie United 1

Jim McIntyre made two substitutions at the break; Scott Thomson for Calum Woods and 17 year old right winger Paul Willis for Andy Kirk. Cardle had the first attempt of the second half sending his shot from the angle of the box past the far post.

Then in 49 minutes a fine individual effort by Rory LOY got the Pars back in better fettle. Marc Smyth was left with his hands on his head as the on loan player brushed him off on the right side of the Airdrie defence to slip the ball under Hollis from 10 yards.

Five minutes later McDougall shot wildly wide of the right post after Muirhead and Burke were left arguing about how a fairly harmless ball from the left reached the Airdrie no.7.┬ After Willis had an attempt at the far post stopped by Hollis the home crowd roared on their team.┬ Certainly they had more to shout about in the first 15 minutes of the second half than they did in the entire first half.

Airdrie produced a good┬ counterattack in 57 minutes with McDougall playing Lynch into the box, his lay off to Di Giacomo was flicked bck into his path but Gallacher, dropping to his left,┬ saved from 12 yards.┬ A neat chip into the Pars box by MacLachlan evaded Cardle at the far post and McKenna put through Lynch but the offside flag went up.

Muirhead swung over a high ball in 70 minutes for Bayne to head down for Loy but his strike from the edge of the box soared over the crossbar. Thomson was next to find Bayne`s head┬ but this time the knock down to Bell was not cleanly controlled and Airdrie breathed again.

A 78th minute corner kick was challenged for by Bell and then Bayne but Hollis held.┬ Jamie Mole came on for Bayne wth ten minutes remaining but it was 88th minute before Dunfermline came close to a winner.┬ ┬ Thomson`s┬ header from a Burke corner kick was deflected behind for another and the next was powered over the bar by Wilson.

With the match in added time the Pars piled on the pressure with more corners but the game was to end 1-1. Extremely disappointing for the Fifers and a┬ warning that Airdrie United will not be easy opponents in the Homecoming Scotland Scottish Cup in three weeks time.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Calum Woods (Scott Thomson HT), Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Muirhead, Steven Bell, Nick Phinn, Alex Burke, Rory Loy, Andy Kirk (Paul Willis HT), Graham Bayne (Jamie Mole 80).
SUBS:┬ Greg Ross, Greg Paterson.
SCORER: Loy (49)
YELLOW CARD: Phinn (43)

AIRDRIE UNITED: Lee Hollis; William MacLachlan, Bobby Donnelly (David Nixon 87), Marc Smyth (c), Matthew Hazley;┬ ┬ Steven McDougall, Stephen McKenna, Kevin McDonald, Joe Cardle; Paul Di Giacomo, Simon Lynch.
SUBS:┬ Stephen Maguire, Scott McLaughlin, Michael Brown, Andrew Collier (GK).
SCORER: Lynch (15)
YELLOW CARD:┬ Smyth (43)

WEATHER: Changable, windy 7┬║C

NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v St Johnstone
Saturday 24th January 2009, kick off 3.00pm

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