SFL v Airdrie United


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2834, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Anthony Law (Brian Braidwood 3)

From the Dunfermline team that started at Greenock the previous Saturday, David Graham was missing through injury but that made way for Joe Cardle to come in to face his old club. Airdrie United brought in Frankie Lagana and fielded a trialist yet again.

Dunfermline kicked off towards the CCW East Stand and immediately took the game to their opponents. The early part of the match was played in the visitors` half  with Cardle receiving a special welcome from the 200 Airdrie fans.  Stephen Robertson was tested with a big ball into the box from Calum Woods but then after only 2 minutes 50 seconds Referee Anthony Law blew up for a calf injury to himself.  Gerry Docherty offered treatment but Mr Law had to be carried off by the Dunfermline physio and Paul Lovering.

An announcement went out appealing for an SFA registered referee that might be in the stadium and someone did emerge from the North West Stand to be ushered to the officials changing room. In the event there were three volunteers and the crowd were informed that indeed there would be a stand in linesman and the match would continue as soon as possible.  After Midlothian geography teacher, Joe Moore was stripped for action the match restarted 14 minutes later.

The match had only gone another 30 seconds when John Baird broke through on the left and Greg Fleming had to pull off a save to send the ball behind for a corner. Bobby Donnelly got his head on that and fortunately Fleming held the on target.

It was effectively the ninth minute of play when Marc Smyth miscued a clearance and Cardle was allowed to shoot from 25 yards out but his effort went over the crossbar. Lovering tipped Gibson on the edge of the box presenting the Pars with a free kick 15 yards out from the byeline.  Burke took it short to Gibson but his low drive came out off the defence.

In 15 minutes Gibson won a corner on the right, Burke sent that in but Higgins header was cleared by the trialist, Gibson and Kirk worked well to win a 19th minute corner on the right.  Again Burke took responsibility and this time his delivery dropped inside the six yard box at the near post. There was a crowd of players there but Graham BAYNE forced the ball over the line to open the scoring.

A chance was coming the way of Steven Bell from a Gibson cross but the defence intercepted before the tall midfielder could convert. Then Burke spread a fine pass out to Cardle in front of the Airdrie fans in the North East Stand but although he beat his man the Pars couldn`t make it tell.  Indeed Frankie Lagana produced the next chance bringing Fleming into play again to prevent the breakthrough on the right bringing an equaliser.

In 32 minutes Kevin McDonald was shown yellow after the stand in linesman pointed out an offence to the referee.  Lovering followed three minutes later after he blocked out Kirk on the right side. Gibson flighted the ball in from the free kick and Lovering was there to head behind.

Maybe it was because this was just a "Provisional" fixture given Livingston`s appeal but the first half lacked a cutting edge.  Dunfermline went in ahead but still the half time talk would be all about the injury to the referee.

Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Airdrie United 0

Baird ran into Higgins within the first 20 seconds of the second half, winning a free kick that Scott McLauchlin hit on target but safely into the arms of Fleming.  Fleming next had to race out to kick the ball off the toes of Baird and as Airdrie comforted themselves in the Dunfermline half Cardle broke out of defence to dispatch a great ball that sent Gibson down the right.  The ex Killie man`s cross into the box was heading for a Pars boot until Trouten nipped in to touch the ball behind.

The Pars kept up the pressure with Cardle robbing a defender to set up Gibson and then Cardle popping a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.  A 52nd minute cross from Gibson was headed behind by Donnelly to give the Pars another corner. Airdrie served notice that they were still in the fight with McLauchlin forcing his way into the Pars box but somehow his shot could not be netted by Lagana on six yards.

Cardle had a good chance from a Gibson pass but unfortunately he drove the ball straight at the keeper. The introduction of another trialist for Airdrie in 57th minute made an immediate impact.  Unluckliy for him he made the headlines for scoring the most embarrassing of own goals with his first touch.  Bayne fed Woods out on the right wing and when he lofted the ball into the far side of the six yard box the TRIALIST (Tom Nolan)sunk a fine shot in off the left goalpost. Roars of laughter appropriately welcomed the strike.

A diagonal ball from Bayne just ten yards into the Airdrie half picked out Andy Kirk on the right and he gained ground before releasing a fine shot that slipped beyond the far post. In 68 minutes Donnelly did remarkably well to prevent Kirk and Bayne just 15 yards out.  Somehow he wriggled the ball away and when Bell pounced on it he fired powerfully just wide of the left post.

Austin McCann provided Dunfermline with a fine chance in 73 minutes but Cardle pulled his shot wide right and Bell could not accept the surprise chance at the far post.  An impressive surge forward by Phinn took the ball into the Airdrie box and his lay off to Cardle teed up a shot that was deflected over the top.

The Fifers were now comfortably in control and should have been taking more of their many chances. In 83 minutes Bell passed short to Bayne and the captain sent McDougall away down the right before being in the centre of the penalty box to shoot low on goal but Robertson held diving to his right.

Kevin Watt almost struck on the counterattack but Fleming came out to make a blocking save. The corner offered Airdrie another opportunity to salvage something but Lagana fired wide right.

Two goals were enough to secure the three points that put Dunfermline top of the First Division for the first time since they were relegated in 2007.  Now they just need to stay there.

DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann; Willie Gibson, Steven Bell, Alex Burke, Joe Cardle (Steven McDougall 79); Andy Kirk (Nick Phinn 68), Graham Bayne (c).
SUBS: Andy Dowie, Scott Muirhead, Greg Paterson (GK)
SCORER: Bayne (19), Trialist o.g. (58)
YELLOW CARD: Bayne (89)

AIRDRIE UNITED: Stephen Robertson; Darren Smith, Paul Lovering (B Trialist 57), Marc Smyth, Kevin McDonald, Bobby Donnelly, A Trialist, Alan Trouten (Kevin Watt 69), Scott McLauchlin, Frankie Lagana, John Baird (Fraser Keast 86).
SUBS: Patrick McCabe,  Lee Hollis (GK)
YELLOW CARD: McDonald (32), Lovering (35), Smyth (89)

WEATHER: Sunny 19C

NEXT MATCH: (home) Co-operative Insurance Cup v Raith Rovers
Wednesday 26th August 2009, kick off 7.45pm
Season Tickets are valid.

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