Apr 18 2012 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
IRN-BRU SECOND DIVISION:
BRECHIN CITY 1
THREE goals in 15 first-half minutes. A sixth win on the spin. Three points clear in the promotion play-off zone.
You would assume Airdrie manager Jimmy Boyle would be nothing other than positively delighted after his side blasted four goals past Brechin City on Saturday. Well, you’d be wrong.
Yes, the Diamonds boss was satisfied with another victory, which equalled the club record of six on the bounce and could lead to a top-four slot being all but clinched this weekend at Dumbarton.
But Boyle feels his in-form players could have still performed better despite virtually ending City’s play-off hopes.
Boyle may be hard-to-please but it is only because he knows just how good the team he built can be.
“I thought we deserved to win,” he said. “We got our goals when we were on top during the game.
“But we allowed them to have a lot of the ball for long spells and didn’t press them enough.
“The disappointing thing for us is that we didn’t pass the ball well. We gave it away cheaply.
“I don’t think we played well and they were the better football side. We also lost a poor goal.
“The pleasing aspect of the game for us was that we always created chances and scored four goals.”
This contest was over by the midway point in the first half as Brechin buckled.
Derek Holmes tapped Airdrie ahead before Ryan Donnelly found the top corner of the net with his 28th goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Paul Lovering fired home a third from the penalty spot, with Holmes adding a fourth from close-range after City substitute Bryan Hodge had reduced the deficit.
It wasn’t a vintage display from the Diamonds. Far from it.
But the contribution by Holmes was noted by Boyle, who feels the big striker is coming into his own.
He said: “It doesn’t matter how far out you are, every goals counts when you’re a striker and Derek did great.
“We are playing the ball to him a lot better, he is holding it up and winning his headers. There’s confidence in what we’re doing with him.
“Nathan Blockley made some great runs, gambling on what Derek was going to do with the ball. That’s an example of how things have improved.
“I thought it was a hard game for the front two. Apart from that 15-minute spell when we scored three of our goals, we weren’t close enough to them.”
Airdrie virtually wrap up a play-off position with a win over Dumbarton – should Stenhousemuir and East Fife lose to Brechin and Stirling Albion respectively.
It’s a scenario many thought unlikely at the beginning of March but an eight-match unbeaten record has reversed fortunes.
“I would have taken this position six or seven weeks ago,” Boyle conceded. “I’ve been asked if I could see a run like this coming.
“I’ve always believed in the players. I think we are a good football team and look strong when we go on a good run.”
Airdrie: Adam; McNeil, Lilley, MacDonald, Lovering; Stevenson (Bain 69), Blockley, Stallard, McLaren (Watt 85); Holmes, Donnelly (Sally 81).
Subs not used: Lamie, Duncan (gk).
Brechin: Nelson; McLean, McLauchlan, Moyes, Lindsay; Brady, Fusco (McKenna 74); McKenzie, Molloy, King (Hodge 23); McManus (Lister 74).
Subs not used: Buist, Scott (gk).
Booked: McLauchlan, McManus.
Referee: Steven McLean.