SPFL League One: AIRDRIEONIANS 3 DUNFERMLINE 0: 23/04/16
The final away match in League One took the champions to the Excelsior Stadium to face an Airdrieonians side who were clinging on to a thin chance of making the play offs. For Dunfermline, Sean Murdoch, Ben Richards-Everton, Shaun Rooney and Rhys McCabe started with David Hutton, Lewis Martin, Scott Robinson and Conner Duthie all dropping out. Hardly surprisingly, the home side with the same again following their win at Forfar the previous week.
Rooney lined up on the right of a back three and Ryan Williamson started in a less familiar role wide right in front of Rooney. Jason Talbot was also pushed forward as Dunfermline kicked off towards the town end. Airdrie won an early free kick on the left when Josh Falkingham went in a bit too strongly on a tackle. Nicky Cadden flighted the free kick into the Pars box and Rooney headed the ball behind off Richards-Everton.
The corner from the right was met by Marc FITZPATRICK rising to head home a 73 second opener, the captain's fourth goal of the season made it 1-0.
Airdrieonians keeper Neil Parry was not called into action until 12 minutes into the game, holding a Williamson chip to the far post. David Hopkirk immediately had a crack at goal after racing in from the left but Parry beat the ball away and Michael Moffat sent the loose ball narrowly wide right.
In 15th minute Hopkirk had a chip from the right side 18 yards out but his effort hit the net but on the roof on the way over. The Pars kept up the pressure from a Wallace free kick from wide left about 30 yards out. Sean Crighton headed the ball out as far as the edge of the box where Falkingham got up to head the ball back towards goal and Moffat connected well only for Parry to stop the ball on the line with Brad McKay trying unsuccessfully to poke it over.
Having almost got the match back level, the visitors then went two behind. Dylan MACKIN found himself with time to pick his spot from twenty yards out, firing the ball low into the far left. The striker's first goal in ten appearances made it 2-0 in 20th minute.
Two Airdrieonian corners from the left were defended but in 27th minute Cadden was able to get two crosses in from the left wing and second time the delivery was perfect for Jim LISTER to send a glancing header into the right corner of the Pars net. 0-3
An off target shot from distance from McCabe was all Dunfermline offered before Fitzpatrick tested Murdoch from 20 yards. In 33rd minutes McCabe fired a 30 yard free kick into the Diamonds wall. Airdrie broke up the right and Mackin was given a chance to shoot but his weak effort was easy meat for Murdoch.
Two minutes later a break up the left allowed Airdrieonians to pick out Lister in the box and he was unlucky not to hit the target as his effort was blocked at the near post. Talbot then collected the first yellow of the match, fortunately Cadden overhit the ball and the free kick caused no further damage.
In 38th minute Andy Geggan was introduced in place of Ryan Williamson. Dunfermline forced two corners Richards-Everton at the first forcing Crighton to concede the second at which Parry held McKay's looping header.
Three Airdrieonians corners just before half time pegged the Pars back and from the final one Fitzpatrick was very unlucky when meeting Cadden's cross, the ball being headed just outside the far post.
Conner Duthie replaced the injured Moffat just before that final corner and the last action of the half saw Rooney get forward to fire wide right from 15 yards out. The stats showed 53% possession for the home side, they had seven corners to the Pars two, nine shots to the Pars seven but their seven on target had produced three goals.
Half time: Airdrieonians 3 Dunfermline 0
Sean Crighton chopped down Falkingham right in front of the travelling support earning him a yellow card and Wallace a 49th minute free kick but when that produced the first chance Richards-Everton's header cleared the bar. Duthie next had a crack at goal but the ball followed the same route and in 54 minutes Wallace tried a shot from the edge of the box but did not get enough on it to beat Parry.
Alan Lithgow's long throw in from the right was well cleared by Rooney and it was the tall defender who had the Fifers next attempt to score in 59 minutes when he met Wallace's chip to the right side of the box with a volley across goal.
Wallace was next to feed Hopkirk an opportunity but his shot from 18 yards was blocked and with a three goal lead the Diamonds were happy to soak up whatever Dunfermline tried.
In 76 minutes Rooney stretched out and kept the ball in on the right byeline and his cross picked out Duthie but his right footed shot was held by Parry at the near post. Left back Kieran MacDonald made a soaring run up the left but in front of goal sent the shot wide left.
A wayward McCabe pass handed Airdrie a corner on the left ten minutes from the end but McKay headed away strongly.
Wallace did well two minutes later exchanging passes with McCabe to break into the left side of the hosts box but Parry pulled off a good save from the Pars man to concede just a corner. That changed nothing and then a 85th minute free kick was sent in from 28 yards out but Geggan headed wide at the far post.
It was a poor day in Lanarkshire for the League One champions where the contest was virtually decided after 27 first half minutes. Their fortunes against Airdrie over the past four seasons reveal no wins in nine post Christmas matches. Having conceded just eight goals in their first sixteen away matches in the league, they completed their away schedule by losing seven goals in the final two games.
AIRDRIEONIANS: Neil Parry; Jamie Bain, Sean Crighton, Alan Lithgow, Kieran MacDonald; Marc Fitzpatrick, Scott Stewart, Hugo Faria (Sean McIntosh 72), Nicky Cadden, Jim Lister (Adam Brown 86), Dylan Mackin (Bryan Prunty 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Robbie Leighton, Chris O'Neil, Rohan Ferguson (GK).
SCORERS: Fitzpatrick (2), Mackin (20), Lister (27)
YELLOW CARD: Crighton (49), Lister (53), Prunty (92)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Shaun Rooney, Brad McKay, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Ryan Williamson (Andy Geggan 38), Josh Falkingham, Rhys McCabe, David Hopkirk; Ryan Wallace, Michael Moffat (Conner Duthie 43).
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Reid, Shaun Byrne, Scott Robinson, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Cammy Gill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (37), McKay (92)
REFEREE: John McKendrick
WEATHER: Overcast 10C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Peterhead, Saturday 30th April 2016, kick off 3.00pm
Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm