Airdrieonians 2 - 3 Dumbarton

League - Second Division
Saturday, January 21st, 2012, 3:00 PM at Excelsior Stadium
Attendance: 743
Referee: Matt Northcroft
Airdrieonians v Dumbarton, Jan 21st 2012, Excelsior Stadium
Airdrieonians Dumbarton 

Goalscorers
Ryan Donnelly (15)
John Boyle (36)
Alan Lithgow (15)
Scott Agnew (67)
Pat Walker (88)

Team Managers
Jimmy Boyle Alan Adamson

Starting Eleven
Connor Fairley
Paul Lovering
Cameron MacDonald
Jamie Bain
Kieron Stallard
Ivica Vrdoljak
Sean Lynch
Jamie Stevenson
Nathan Blockley
John Boyle
Ryan Donnelly
Stephen Grindlay
James Creaney
Alan Lithgow
Ryan Finnie
Martin McNiff
Kevin Nicoll
Scott Agnew
Mark Lamont
Mark Gilhaney
Ally Graham
Bryan Prunty

Bench
Andrew Duncan
Derek Holmes
Scott Sally
Graeme Goodall
Graeme Owens
Arnaud Gastal
Tony Wallace
Paul Nugent
Ryan Borris
Pat Walker

Substitutions
Graeme Goodall for John Boyle (51)
Graeme Owens for Jamie Stevenson (74)
Scott Sally for Ryan Donnelly (86)
Pat Walker for Ally Graham (59)
Ryan Borris for Mark Lamont (79)
Paul Nugent for Ryan Finnie (90)

Bookings
Jamie Bain (26)
Jamie Stevenson (53)
Paul Lovering (89)
Graeme Owens (89)
Alan Lithgow (52)
James Creaney (69)
Pat Walker (73)

Red Cards
Cameron MacDonald (48) None.

Appearances & Goals To Date
Stephen Grindlay (GK) 235 apps -
Ryan Finnie 2 apps -
Martin McNiff 64 apps3 goals
James Creaney 44 apps -
Alan Lithgow 21 apps3 goals
Mark Gilhaney 52 apps13 goals
Kevin Nicoll 17 apps1 goal
Scott Agnew 22 apps9 goals
Mark Lamont 3 apps -
Ally Graham 3 apps -
Bryan Prunty 22 apps10 goals
Paul Nugent (sub) 55 apps -
Ryan Borris (sub) 98 apps7 goals
Pat Walker (sub) 46 apps13 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ryan Finnie (16 years 340 days)
Oldest Player:Stephen Grindlay (29 years 321 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 184 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ryan Finnie (16 years 340 days)
Oldest Player:Stephen Grindlay (29 years 321 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 1 days
Domestic Players:15 (93.75 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones

DUMBARTON reversed their defeat at the Excelsior Stadium at the start of the 2011/12 season, coming from behind twice against Airdrie United to claim a 3-2 away victory and move four points clear in the Irn Bru SFL Second Division promotion play-off zone.

The first half began in swirling winds and rain, with both sides struggling to secure an early grip on the game.

The home side pushed forward determinedly, with a canny shot from the right whistling just past Stephen Grindlay's far post on 5 minutes.

Ryan Donnelly has been a consistent danger man for Airdrie United this season, and his threat was realised to Dumbarton's dismay on the quarter hour.

A fantastic cross-field ball from Jamie Stevenson, who showed regular flashes of real quality throughout the game, was turned across the area for Donnelly to poke home at close range. The move was so fast that Sons' defence had little opportunity to react.

Shortly after the restart Bryan Prunty nodded down to Ally Graham on the edge of the Diamonds' area, but he could not get a clear connection with the ball.

As the half progressed Dumbarton found it difficult to negotiate a way through the centre of Airdrie United's defence. The home team got men behind the ball and continued with the strategy of looking for advantage on the break.

Mark Gilhaney and Scott Agnew combined to create a couple of chances, which were otherwise few and far between for Sons. The first saw Agnew's low drive go well past the post. A similar outcome came from a free-kick after Gilhaney had been pulled down.

United's Paul Lovering nearly increased their lead on the half hour, his well-crafted chip going just over the bar.

Then on 34 minutes Alan Lithgow towered above the Diamond's defence to latch on to a curling Agnew corner. His header made it 1-1.

But just as Dumbarton fans were celebrating, Airdrie United struck straight back. A slip from Gilhaney gave the home team the ball in a dangerous position, and John Boyle manoeuvred well to slot it home from close range. 2-1 to the Diamonds.

The effect was immediately deflating. Grindlay was called into action athletically to tip a looping ball on to the bar and away. Gilhaney engineered another chance for Sons late on, but there was little sign of a comeback before the break.

After the interval the game heated up in dramatic circumstances. An Airdrie United trialist inexplicably tramped on the head of Sons' Bryan Prunty as he was lying prone after a challenge.

After consulting the linesman, the referee had no hesitation in producing a red card for violent conduct, and the Diamonds were down to ten men.

At various points the match threatened to boil over into acrimony after that, with several determined tackles producing strong reactions on the pitch and in the stand.

Fortunately football soon won out over seething emotion, and a game that had seemed scrappy and directionless burst into life.

Although numerically outnumbered, it was Airdrie who created some of the more dangerous chances. Grindlay dropped a ball on the edge of his box, but then made a miraculous recovery to stop a certain goal with a reflex save one of several in the second half.

At times it looked too easy for the Diamonds, as a fine shot from their overlapping left back squirted past Sons' post.

Pat Walker's arrival for Dumbarton, in exchange for Graham, was greeted enthusiastically by the vocal travelling support.

Next Gilhaney went on a tormenting run, sliding past several defenders and before getting stopped by a vigorous challenge.

The Diamonds were then threatened by a curling cross from Sons' Mark Lamont, before the visitors' finally found the equaliser when Agnew scored with a delightfully curved corner, catching the opposition unawares to make it 2-2.

Sensing victory, Dumbarton pressed speedily and aggressively. A delightful flick from Prunty set Gilhaney on his way once more. Agnew's ferocious shot was tipped aside by United 'keeper Connor Fairley, who otherwise had a nightmare game.

Walker tried to squeeze the ball in from the far post but his effort was desperately scrambled away.

Ryan Donnelly almost broke Sons' hearts as Airdrie United's forwards again sliced through a slightly hesitant defence. But Grindlay was on hand to pull off another notable save at point-blank range.

Vindication for Dumbarton came on 88 minutes, as Pat Walker clinched the game at 3-2 with a fine opportunist goal, producing an ecstatic reaction at the away end.

The remaining minutes were tense, but Sons were disciplined and organised in resisting last-minute Airdrie United pressure to claim a vital three points. Now only goal difference keeps Sons out of third spot in the division.

Match report by Simon Barrow

Programme cover / Team sheet