Fifers and Airdrie cancel each other out in nervy 0-0 draw

Joe Mbu clears the danger as Airdrie and East Fife clash.
Joe Mbu clears the danger as Airdrie and East Fife clash.

With so much at stake for both sides, it was perhaps no surprise that both East Fife and Airdrie froze when they clashed on Saturday.

Gary Naysmith’s assessment of the 90 minutes as “nervy” was just one way to describe a goalless draw when chances were at a premium.

In a proverbial six pointer, the Fifers knew that a win would see them edge seven points of their second bottom visitors.

At the same time an Airdrie win would haul them back to just within a point of Naysmith’s men.

That mix made for a 90 minutes which were at times difficult on the eye as both sides were determined not to lose rather than go out and press for the win.

Despite sitting second bottom, Airdrie actually came into the game as one of the form teams in the league, having not been beaten in four.

It was credit then to Naysmith’s side that they didn’t go down to a team who undoubtedly had their tails up.

The clean sheet too would have been pleasing for the Fifers.

Despite the nervousness, both sides did have chances to break the deadlock but found ‘keepers Greg Paterson and Grant Adam in good form.

Kevin Smith was guilty of passing up a good opportunity to open the scoring when he was picked out free in the box with a pinpoint Craig Johnstone cross.

But the former Raith striker fluffed his header and didn’t trouble Adam.

At the other end Caolan McAleer created the best of what Airdrie could offer but found Paterson equal to his efforts.

East Fife had a real let off in the second half when defender Jamie Bain’s looping header bounced off the top of Paterson’s bar and to safety behind the goal.

The Fife ‘keeper was the busier of the two and McAleer again called him into action when he stopped a stinging drive from outside the area.

The last, and perhaps best, chance of the weekend’s game came in the dying minutes and it fell to the very Fifer you’d want it to.

A loose ball in the box broke the way of Liam Buchanan but from six yards he thumped his shot straight at Adam.

The miss summed up what was an edgy 90 minutes which resulted in both sides sharing the spoils.

As well as keeping Airdrie four points out of the reach, the result also pushed bottom placed Arbroath further away with the Red Lichties now seven adrift.

In the coming weeks Naysmith’s men will be working towards pushing them even further away.