SFL First Division: AIRDRIE 1 DUNFERMLINE 2: 26/02/00

What a sad place the Shyberry Excelsior was today. Before the match there was a minute’s silence in memory of the Joey Rowan, Airdrie’s sole remaining director who died last Saturday from a heart attack.

As the players stood in silence, without even an intro into the minute, many must have wondered is it just an individual who has been lost or is it a club. The rain could be heard on the stand roof and a ridiculous number of mobile phones interrupted the silence. The match programme was a plain 8 page effort with the match sponsor having the only advert.

Money didn’t exactly spill out into the “Save the Diamonds” collection buckets, and the season ticket holders gates were empty as their loyal fans were asked to pay again to see their team. The lack of home support (I would guess about 900) did not auger well for Airdrie’s future prospects.

Stevie Archibald cannot arrive quickly enough if diamonds really are going to be forever.

Dunfermline fielded the same 11 as started against St Mirren last Saturday. Justin Skinner replaced the suspended Brian Reid on the bench.

Dunfermline kicked off into a cold and blustery wind and scored with their second chance of the game after only 50 seconds. First Ian Ferguson laced a ball through to Stevie Crawford but his shot was touched wide for a corner on the right. Stewart Petrie sent over the corner and the head of Lee BULLEN met it perfectly to notch the opener.

On ten minutes a defensive error let Bullen through wide on the left but his effort didn’t bother the Airdrie keeper, Scott Thomson.

Mossy was yellow carded in the 18th minute for something that only the ref saw. The big Englishman was certainly psyched for the match and his fierce combat mode threatened further yellow cards both before and after the card was brandished to him.

Airdrie’s Jim Dick was penalised for holding down Moss on the edge of the box in the 25th minute. From the resultant free kick Ian Ferguson fired narrowly over the crossbar. Next Stewart Petrie sent over a cross which David Moss headed wide and almost set up Lee Bullen again at the far post.

It was surprising given Moss’s involvement that he avoided another yellow card and it was no surprise when he failed to appear after the interval. Justin Skinner was introduced into midfield but Airdrie continued their control in this department.

Five minutes into the second half Steven Hampshire looked like cashing in. Having been put through all he could win however, was a corner

Steve Hampshire continued to push forward and won a corner on the right which Thomson touched over. Next Hampshire sent over a corner from the other side. The ball fell to John POTTER whose stab landed up in the Airdrie net.

A move between Bullen and Crawford and back to Bullen was placed just too far ahead of Bullen and Thomson collected easily.

Steve Crawford was then substituted for no apparent reason after just 55 minutes. Owen Coyle came on up front.

Just after the hour Airdrie rattled the crossbar with an effort that Kris Mampaey knew little about. Although Dunfermline looked the more likely to score Airdrie never looked like getting into the match. A 74th minute penalty claim was dismissed despite the fact that Paul Jack looked as though he had sent up a hand and fouled in the area. Ian Ferguson sent a 78th minute effort wide.

There was evidence of the cfto syndrome returning. That is, “cannot finish them off” syndrome. Airdrie were allowed to rattle the crossbar and then atlthough never looking like losing the Pars conceded a consolation goal to Airdrie with only seconds remaining. McKeown was allowed to waltz around the Pars defence and rifle in a goal from the 18 yard line.

This was not a sterling Pars performance but three points are three points. The final whistle was a relief to the Pars and their frozen support. There was a cheer as the latest scores announced Rovers one up against the leaders, but two goals in the last three minutes kept St Mirren at the top of the table.

On to next week and the big showdown at St Mirren Park. A win for the home team would go a long way to settling the championship.

DUNFERMLINE: Mampaey; Thomson,Tod, Potter, Dair; Hampshire, Ferguson, Moss (Skinner 45), Petrie; Crawford (Coyle 55), Bullen (McGroarty 83).
Scorers: Bullen (50sec.), Potter (50)
Yellow Cards: Moss (18), Skinner (74)
AIRDRIE: Thomson, G Farrell (Forrest 82), Jack, Sandison, McCann; Evans, Stewaret, Dick, Neil; Taylor, Moore (McKeown 55)
Scorer: McKeown (90)
Yellow Cards: Dick (36), Evans (77)

Referee G Clyde
Attendance 2304
League Position 2nd
Strip: Yellow away
Conditions: windy and cold

Next match v St Mirren (away) ALL TICKET League Saturday 4th March 2000

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