Airdrie double dulls Fife’s play-off dream

Airdrie 2-0 East Fife ''Pic: Kenny MacKay
Airdrie 2-0 East Fife ''Pic: Kenny MacKay

FOR the second successive season, East Fife’s play-off challenge ended at the Shyberry Excelsior Stadium.

Airdrie scored twice in the second half to leave the Fifers with virtually no chance of making fourth spot.

It will take both Airdrie and Stenhousemuir losing and East Fife beating Arbroath by several goals on Saturday.

There were a couple of surprise omissions to the Fife line-up when ever-present Bobby Linn and top scorer Ryan Wallace were not in the squad, having picked up injuries in training during the week. Paul McQuade and Craig Johnstone made it into the starting line-up.

The home side dominated early on but there was little for Michael Brown to deal with.

East Fife, however, hardly posed a threat, with their best spell coming towards half-time, but they could never quite get into the danger area to make the breakthrough.

The opening goal arrived six minutes into the second half, as Lynch delivered an accurate finish following a Morton pass.

The Fifers tried to change things by bringing on Steve Hislop for Craig Johnstone but the pattern remained the same.

With seven minutes remaining, a Dalziel header eventually found the net but the referee ruled it out for an infringement.

The final nail in the coffin arrived with two minutes left when substitute Bain beat Brown with a curling effort from the edge of the area.

Into injury time, Fife central defender David White and Airdrie’s McLaren were both shown a red card after an off-the-ball incident which appeared to be nothing more than a bit of pushing.

Airdrie United – Adam, Stallard, Lovering, McDonald, Lillie, Lynch, Stevenson, Blockley, McLaren, Morton (Bain 77), Holmes (Boyle 27). Subs (not used) – Watt, Lamie, Duncan.

East Fife – Brown, Durie, Cook, Campbell, White, Smith, Johnstone (Hislop 65), Muir, Dalziel, McQuade, Sloan (Janczyk 70). Subs (not used) – Ovenstone, McCormack, Collier.

Attendance – 1223.

Referee – J. Beaton.

Starcheck ratings – Smith 3 points, Durie 2, McQuade 1.

Starcheck table – Ryan Wallace 49, Bobby Linn 42, Darren Smith 23, Michael Brown 22, Mark Ridgers 17, Robert Sloan 14, Scott Durie 13, Craig Johnstone 12, Steve Campbell 12, Rob Ogleby 11, John Ovenstone 9, David White 9, Matthew Park 8, Darren McCormack 6, Steve Hislop 5, David Muir 3, Andrew Cook 2, Scott Dalziel 2, Chris Innes 2, Neil Janczyk 1, Lloyd Young 1, Paul McQuade 1.