SFL v Airdrie United

AIRDRIE 0 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 01/05/10

Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 1864, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Crawford Allan -

The 2009-10 season concluded at New Broomfield on the first Saturday in May. The Pars were seeking a win that would give them a chance of a third place finish while Airdrie United were more interested in securing the third bottom spot that would ensure that they would escape relegation to the Second Division. Both sides went with the same starting elevens as they had deployed in their last outings.

David Graham and Nick Phinn kicked the match off for the visitors but they were pegged back in their own half for the opening minutes. It was the seventh minute before Lee Hollis was given anything to do, gathering too comfortably a Graham shot on the angle from the right.

A minute later a Joe Cardle cross almost slipped through to Steven Bell in the centre of the Airdrie box but the defence headed that away but that just gave Phinn an opportunity to drive at goal that was blocked. Then on the next attack the Pars fans jumped to their feet to celebrate but Graham`s shot came back off the left upright.

Dunfermline kept up the pressure with Willie Gibson pumping a great ball diagonally into the box but just a corner resulted.  Keeper Hollis failed to hold that and didn`t seem to know much about a Cardle shot from 25 yards either. Bell fed Gibson on the right on the quarter hour but his cross was overhit.

On 18 minutes Scott McLaughlin headed a Graham cross perilously close to his own right goal post and with news of Ayr United going ahead at Greenock, the Airdrie nerves got even worse. Another good chance came the Pars way seven minutes later when Calum Woods sent in an inviting ball but Graham couldn`t reach it with his feet when a diving header might have delivered a better result.

Graham fired narrowly over the crossbar a good effort from distance, then Gibson sailed past two Airdrie men to severely test Hollis.  Gibson`s corner met the head of Woods but his angle was wrong but Dunfermline kept up the pressure with a good display of possession football.  David Graham beat Lee Hollis in 25 minutes but the ball rolled across the face of goal with no one there to accept the gift.

In 37 minutes however Graham`s cross from the right produced the breakthrough. Cardle headed the ball back in from the left and PHINN scrambled the ball into the net from six yards.

Four minutes later Gibson started a move deep in his own half. Ross rushing forward moved the ball on for Bell on the right and Simon Storey headed his dangerous cross behind for another Pars corner. Airdrie never really displayed the form that has ignited their survival hopes over the last few weeks.

With Raith Rovers 3-0 up over Ross County and QOS 0-0 at Firhill that meant Dunfermline were in third place at the break.  As it stood after 45 minutes Airdrie were going down so the second half was likely to be a bit of a battle.

Half Time: Airdrie United 0 Dunfermline 1

Airdrie predictably came out of the traps much more strongly after half time. Ryan McCann rattled the crossbar just four minutes into the second half and the home fans were roused from their depression as the Diamonds forced a couple of corners.

Dunfermline came close again in 54 minutes though.  Graham feeding Cardle the ball on the edge of the penalty box and Phinn thumped the lay off narrowly wide right.  Then on the counter from an Airdrie corner Graham fired a shot from close range against Storey.

Scott Gemmill powered a low shot into Chris Smith`s hands. Andy Dowie turned a Tom Parratt cross behind when under great pressure from Diarmuid O`Carroll. Dunfermline pushed up again and after a Bell rattler, Marc Smyth went down winded and then Paul Lovering also went down injured. After Airdrie had the chance to put the ball out of play, Dowie did it for him much to the annoyance of the travelling support and a few of his team mates.

In 63 minutes Graham received the ball back from Cardle but the shot was blocked.  Graeme Holmes came on to replace Alex Burke but the chance for a goal came in front of Smith as O`Carroll laid the ball off for John Baird.  The shot was blocked and then the drama game at the other end.  Ross burst into the right side of the opposition half and Phinn crashed the ball off the underside of the crossbar for Graham to melt home. Referee Crawford Allan ruled the `goal` offside and Airdrie survived.

McLaughlin made Smith make a serious save from a free kick but Dunfermline pushed up again and should have increased their lead with better choices in front of goal.  Hollis held a 78th minute shot from Cardle before he was subbed by Paul Willis.

News of Morton going 2-1 up against Ayr United brought surprisingly little reaction from the Airdrie support. In front of goal, Gemmill was unlucky not to get on a cross from the left and with two subs thrown on Airdrie did finish strongly. McLaughlin hammered a shot wide left in 89 minutes.

Tom Parratt was yellow carded for taking down Gibson on the edge of the box, but Gibson rocketed the free kick low past the left goalpost.  Willis smashed the final chance wide of the far post and it was to finish 1-0 to the Fifers. The result ensured Chris Smith his first shut out in his eight games for the Pars but more importantly the three points took Jim McIntyre`s side up to 58 points and third place.

AIRDRIE UNITED: Lee Hollis; Tom Parratt, Paul Lovering, Simon Storey (Kevin Watt, 88), Marc Smyth, Scott McLauchlin, Ryan McCann, Scott Gemmill (Paul Keegan 85), Diarmund O`Carroll, John Baird, Ricky Waddell,
SUBS: Bobby Donnelly,Kevin McDonald, Stephen Robertson (GK)..
YELLOW CARD: Tom Parratt (92)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Greg Ross, Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Willie Gibson, Steven Bell, Alex Burke (Graeme Holmes 65), Joe Cardle (Paul Willis 80), Nick Phinn, David Graham,
SUBS: Neil McGregor, Ross Campbell, Greg Fleming (GK).
SCORER: Phinn (37)

WEATHER: Sunny Intervals 9C

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