SPFL League One: AIRDRIEONIANS 3 DUNFERMLINE 1: 13/12/14
It was a cold Excelsior Stadium that welcomed Dunfermline Athletic for this their last away game before Christmas. Jim Jefferies made two changes from the team disappointingly knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup on Tuesday night. Michael Moffat returned after the birth of his son, Luca, the previous weekend and having completed his loan spell at East Fife, Jonathan Page went straight into the starting eleven.
Airdrieonians, without a win in their last four games, made one change bringing in Bryan Prunty in place of Keigan Parker. It was the visitors who kicked off and Ross Millen who had the first attempt at goal in 63 seconds. His shot from 25 yards was off target however.
The home side in contrast had immediate success scoring from their first attack. Former Par Paddy Boyle was wide left to cross and Bryan PRUNTY was unchallenged as he sent the ball into the Pars net at the right upright from 12 yards out. Two minutes 15 seconds and 1-0 to the Diamonds.
On ten minutes there was an appeal for a penalty when Page impeded Prunty just inside the box on the left but no award thankfully. Two minutes later Millen pumped the ball into the Diamonds' box and although Andy Geggan did get a header on target Andrew McNeil held comfortably.
Then in 13th minute a Millen free kick was launched into the opposition box from 40 yards out. Geggan challenged and when the ball broke towards goal, Buchanan stuck out a foot to try and get a touch but McNeil was in first. Rather harshly in the opinion of the Pars fans their centre half picked up a yellow card.
A Millen free kick 35 yards out was charged down and that nearly became another disaster as Airdrie broke but thankfully Scully was out to sweep up. Falkingham made a counterattack but had his final pass cut out. Smith was wide right to deliver a cross into the box but McNeil held. Then on 24 minutes Moffat broke in on the right side and laid the ball off for Smith but from 15 yards he sidefooted his shot narrowly outside the far post.
Another Millen free kick from in front of the Pars dugout was easy meat for big Ben Richards-Everton. Byrne switched the ball right for Stirling and McNeil did not hold cleanly leaving Smith and Moffat in a scramble to convert but they were kept out. Geggan was next to have a chance from yet another Millen cross but he appeared to hit more of his opponent than the ball with his header.
Falkingham provided Smith with a good chance in 32 minutes but again his sidefooted effort was blocked. Next a good run from Whittle took him into the Airdrie box but his on target shot was held by McNeil. Play had certainly become centred in the home half but for all the pressure Dunfermline had nothing to show for it.
That almost became costly when a Fraser free kick in 37 minutes was fumbled by Scully and Jim Lister got in a shot that thankfully the defence blocked out. The home side were successful however in moving play into the Pars half. More free kicks followed and in 43rd minute there was an opportunity from 22 yards but Nathan Blockley's effort broke off Buchanan for an Airdrie corner. Blockley leapt high to get in the header but Scully held.
Before the half ended Prunty had the ball in the Pars net again but that was disallowed as he had just been offside. The first half stats would show the Pars with 62% possession but Airdrie were ahead on corners and with shots both on and off target.
Airdrieonians 1 Dunfermline 0
For the second half Andy Stirling was withdrawn and Chigozie Ugwu came on. The half time team talk had the desired effect and there was greater urgency from the Fifers. Whittle had a cross into the box and Millen took on the defence before Whittle won their first corner of the match. Airdrie defended it well but play did continue in the Airtdrie half.
Two Airdrie counterattacks created chances but an overhit Chris O'Neil cross and a timely Buchanan header removed the threat. The Diamonds were to get a second goal just ten minutes after the restart. Again it was Boyle who was the provider. The yellow boots streaked into the Pars box and the ball to the far post was met by BLOCKLEY for the simple finish. 2-0
On 57 minutes Scott Fraser got the break of the ball and crashed a shot on target from 25 yards but Scully parried that away. Next a Moffat shot was deflected behind for a corner but that failed to change anything when Ugwu was wild with the shot from the edge of the box.
A 64th minute goal was again at the wrong end. Lister who had been a handful got a couple of tries at cutting the ball back from the right and Marc FITZPATRICK had time on the edge of the box to pick his spot and ram the ball past Scully. 3-0
Lewis Spence and Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaced Allan Smith and Shaun Byrne before the match restarted but with 25 minutes to go it looked a hopeless cause for the Pars.
Ugwu failed to take a chance when Buchanan and Geggan got the ball bouncing across the face of the Airdrie goal. Spence had a 30 yard effort deflected for a corner and his fellow sub El Bakhtaoui fired a shot narrowly wide left.
It could have got even worse for Dunfermline when a Ross Docherty free kick dropped for Richards-Everton in front of goal but all he could achieve was a corner. Then with six minutes remaining there was renewed hope for the visitors. Millen crossed and in a group of players rising for the ball, BUCHANAN headed home. 3-1
There was a spirited attempt to salvage something from the match but the task weas too great. Airdrieonians fourth league win of the season means Dunfermline drop to fourth place.
AIRDRIEONIANS: Andrew McNeil; Chris O'Neil, Luca Gasparotto, Ben Richards-Everton, Paddy Boyle (c), Nathan Blockley, Ross Docherty, Marc Fitzpatrick, Scott Fraser, Jim Lister (Scott Gray 83), Bryan Prunty (Keigan Parker 74).
SUBS NOT USED: Jamie Bain, John Boyle, Liam Watt, Scott Stewart, Rohan Ferguson (GK).
SCORERS: Prunty (3), Blockley (55), Fitzpatrick (64)
YELLOW CARD: Lister (39), Docherty (72)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan, Jonathan Page, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne (Lewis Spence 65), Josh Falkingham, Andy Geggan (c), Andy Stirling (Chigozie Ugwu HT); Allan Smith (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 65), Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Thomson, Stuart Urquhart, Sorel Chemin, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Buchanan (84)
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (13), Moffat (72), Geggan (80), Millen (85)
REFEREE: Alan Newlands
WEATHER: Rain 3C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Stranraer
Saturday 20th December, kick off 3.00pm
Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm