Airdrie Utd. 1
Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Tuesday, 17th Feb 2009
Dunfermline Athletic 2 (Scottish Cup r5)
Two down, three to go. The Pars secured a Scottish Cup Quarter Final date with Aberdeen after running out 2-1 winners in a close encounter at New Broomfield thanks to two fine goals from Holmes and Bayne.
When faced with the question of whether players returning from suspension should walk back into a winning side, Macca has tended to pick the players in possession, and thus Graham Bayne had to be content with a place on the bench, whereas Rory Loy came in for David Graham, cup-tied due to his warming of the bench at Dingwall in the 4th round. The Pars also adopted a similar formation to that with which they started at Firhill, with Nipper Thomson in a holding role in a 5 man midfield, although Loy and Bell were tasked with supplementing Kirk in his lone striker role. Greg Ross kept his place at right back, as did McCann at left back, Shield, Wilson and Gallacher selected themselves, and Phinn and Holmes also kept their places, if not their actual jerseys. Reidford, Mole and Muirhead joined Bayne on the bench, and Calum Woods was also back in the squad.
The Pars got off to a terrific start - with one minute 44 on the clock, Phinn fed the ball to Holmes 25 yards out in a central area - he moved forward, switched it to his left peg, and stuck in the top left hand corner. Elementary. And 1-0 Pars.
Airdrie had started shakily with several misplaced passes, and 10 minutes later Bell had a chance to double the lead in similar fashion to the first, but Robertson parried his effort before grabbing the ball as it bounced off a defender.
However the Diamonds were soon back in the game - together with McDougall on the other wing, Joe Cardle had caused the Pars all sorts of problems in previous meetings this season, and in 14 minutes it was Ross’s turn to be tormented - mis-timing his tackle and watching in horror as Cardle fell to the ground. It looked a bit soft, but Calum Murray, who by his own admission had got almost all the major decisions right in the Old Firm game on Sunday, pointed to the spot. Scott McLaughlin made no mistake from 12 yards sending Gallacher one way and the ball the other. One each.
Back came the Pars - in 15 minutes Bell did well to win a header but his looping effort was just too high as the away fans rose in anticipation of seeing the net bulge, and Kirk scooped over 3 minutes later from Wilson’s knock-down from a Shields free-kick.
Airdrie won their first corner in 23 minutes; McDougall picking out the late arrival of Smyth from the back at the edge of the D, but the centre-back’s attempt was typical of one who has only scored 1 goal from over 100 appearances and Gallacher was troubled only as far as retrieving the ball to take the goal-kick. However, having failed to make a save on Saturday, he was soon called into action. Just on the half-hour Di Giacomo turned Shields inside out, but his shot was hacked away, before the former Killie man broke from the other side forcing Gall into a fine save low to his left. From the corner Cardle had a chance but it was blocked.
McIntyre promptly hooked Ross in favour of Woods with instructions to get tighter on the winger, but it was Bell who got in about him 4 minutes before the break, winning the ball, but leaving Cardle in a heap. Stephen Robertson, who moments earlier had been untroubled by long range efforts from Loy and Kirk raced 50 yards from his goal to remonstrate with the referee, receiving a booking for his pains (unlike Bell). Nipper also saw yellow in first half stoppage time as the half ended with tempers fraying, but no further scoring.
Half Time: Diamonds 1-1 Pars.
The Pars kicked off the second half but were soon under pressure after a wayward McCann pass cede possession, Holmes being forced into a foul, and the early pattern was similar to the latter stages of the first 45 - Airdrie having the bulk of possession with Di Giacomo particularly prominent, but the Pars defending solidly. Going the other way the Pars midfield couldn’t pick out the killer pass, despite Kirk’s valiant efforts to create space for others to run into. Holmes did reach the bye-line in 52 minutes but Kirk’s hurried chip from Phinn’s lay-off was never close, before Loy got the crowd going with a fine run after an hour, outpacing McLachlan, heading into the box (throwing in a Ronaldo lollipop on the way) but his shot was too central.