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Airdrie move two points within play-off spot to dent Arbroath’s automatic promotion chances

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After a drab first half with about the same excitement as the earlier televised Chelsea v Tottenham match, goals from Paul Lovering and Willie McLaren won all three points for the home side, as well as secure their third clean sheet in a row.

That last stat could probably be down to Grant Adam, currently on loan from Rangers, who pulled off a couple of good saves.

Also coming from Rangers was Euan McNeil, an 18-year-old right back who made his debut today for Airdrie.

Both sides had their share of chances though, with most of them falling to Arbroath player/manager Paul Sheerin and Airdrie’s John Boyle.

In the 14th minute Boyle took the ball past two defenders but skewed his shot wide. A minute later Stuart Malcolm didn’t clear the ball from the box far enough and Boyle pounced again, this time his shot was saved by Smokies goalkeeper Darren Hill.

Josh Falkingham also had a go but his shot was saved by Adam.

Just before the end of the second half Sheerin looked as if he was slicing through Airdrie’s defence to lay on the equaliser, but Diamond’s midfielder Sean Lynch pulled off a great last-ditch tackle to win back the ball.

Ten minutes into the second half Adam punched the ball away, and the counter attack from Airdrie fell to McLaren who crossed the ball into Ryan Donnelly but the young striker was offside.

Shortly after McLaren again swung the ball in but neither of Airdrie’s strikers were looking like taking their chances.

Overall in the second half Airdrie were definitely creating more chances than the visitors. Jamie Bain made a run from the right-wing but his shot was aimed straight at the keeper.

The resulting corner was floated in by McLaren and met with the head of skipper Paul Lovering who put the home side in front with his eighth goal of the season.

Donnelly had another chance to head in from a Lovering cross but Hill saved it, and Steven Doris had a shot saved by Adam up the other end.

Adam was the hero again after David Lilley conceded a free kick for grabbing Collin Samuel, and the loan Ranger did well to get the ball after it deflected off the wall.

Just when it looked like it was going to be a narrow victory, Derek Holmes played the ball through to McLaren who lobbed the keeper to make it 2-0 in injury time.

With that victory, the Diamonds move up to 6th and sit just two points behind Stenhousemuir and East Fife (who play each other next week) as the battle for that final play-off spot continues.

The Red Lichties remain second and now sit seven points behind Cowdenbeath.

Airdrie Utd: Adam, McNeil, Lilley (Lamie 90), Stallard, Lovering, Bain, Lynch, MacDonald, Donnelly (Keast 87), McLaren, Boyle (Holmes 66).

Subs Not Used: Duncan, Watt.

Arbroath: Hill, Baxter (Sibanda 46), Malcolm, Innes, McAnespie (Wedderburn 26), Falkingham, Kerr, Caddis, Sheerin, Doris, Mair (Samuel 67).

Subs Not Used: White, Gibson.

Att: 689

Ref: Gary Hilland

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