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City take full points to but can’t leapfrog Diamonds up the table

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Airdrie can thank Ryan Donnelly for not swapping places with the away side, who are still sitting in 8th spot only because of his second half brace.

Both sides had chances early on in the game, the first few falling to the home side. Willie McLaren was endlessly putting the ball into the box but there was no final product – especially in the seventh minute when Phil Johnston got onto the end of a cross but hit it way over the bar.

Another cross was met by the head of Donnelly but the ball bounced off the bar and out of play.

Connor Fairley was kept busy in the Airdrie goal, producing a few good saves early on. One of those came during a scramble in the six yard box after a Brechin corner; Fairley’s save then producing an Airdrie counter attack involving McLaren and midfielder Sean Lynch but again they lacked a finish.

It was proving to be vital misses as 34 minutes in Brechin broke the deadlock. A lack of concentration from the Airdrie defence allowed Charlie King to cross in the ball to Jim Lister who took one touch to bring the ball down before turning and shooting the opener.

Ten minutes later the young home side were showing that they were up against it, with keeper Fairley picking up a pass-back. Luckily for him though nothing came from the resulting corner.

Just before the half-time interval Diamonds defender David Lilley was taken off for Rhys Devlin, but the replacement was sent off just five minutes into the second half for hauling down Lister in a goal scoring opportunity.

Out of nowhere in the 70th minute though, Airdrie managed to find an equaliser. Skipper Paul Lovering burst a gut to get the ball to McLaren whose one touch pass found Donnelly and he was able to skip past a defender and curl in his shot.

It was a goal arguably worthy of sharing the points, but the Hedgemen had other things in mind as ten minutes later they scored a fine goal for themselves. Substitute Paul McManus proving too quick for the defenders and hit his shot right in the top corner.

The visitors then made it 3-1 when a cross in found its way to another sub – David McKenna, who scored and left Fairley rooted on the spot. Donnelly pulled one back though minutes later, his 22nd goal of the season in 22 games.

Jimmy Boyle’s side may have lost, but it could have been a lot worse if it had not been for the trio that was Lovering, McLaren and Donnelly. Jim Weir’s side will be happy to close the gap on Airdrie, but could be doing better to make the fight for survival more comfortable in the coming weeks.

Airdrie Utd: Fairley, Bain, Lilley (Devlin 44), Stallard, Lovering, Johnston (Owens 54), Lynch, Stevenson, McLaren, Donnelly, Boyle (Keast 67). Subs Not Used: McKane, Morton.

Brechin: Nelson, McLean, Dunlop, Buist, Smith, David Crawford (Carcary 72), Molloy, Brady, Hodge, King (McKenna 56), Lister (McManus 71). Subs Not Used: Scott, McClune.

Att: 643

Ref: Kevin Clancy

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