0 - 3
David Goodwillie (2)
Craig Conway (54)
Barry Robson (pen.) (68)
Garry Kenneth for Lee Wilkie (37)
David Robertson for Steven Robb (68)
Ryan Dow for Craig Conway (81)
Marco Andreoni for Morgaro Gomis (87)
Steve Conroy (Referee)
United got their pre-season schedule underway in an ultimately comfortable three goal win at the Excelsior Stadium. But this was no stroll in the park, with the visitors having to work hard to earn and keep possession against a hard working Airdrie side. The hosts had their fair share of possession, but in terms of chances created there really was only one side in it – and but for some fine goalkeeping and poor finishing the winning margin could have been wider.
The Tangerines’ starting line-up included two summer signings. Lukasz Zaluska started in goal and Darren Dods lined up alongside Lee Wilkie at centre half, with the defence completed by Stuart Duff and Sean Dillon. Mario Gomis and Mark Kerr were paired in the middle of the park, with Conway and Robb on the flanks. Skipper Barry Robson took up an unaccustomed role partnering David Goodwillie in attack.
United seemed to be caught cold in the first minute and after a patient build-up by the hosts Kevin McDonald was just inches off target from 25 yards. The response was immediate, and United were ahead with less than two minutes on the clock. David Goodwillie fed a pass out to Conway on the left, and a lovely cross from the winger allowed Goodwillie to complete the move with a bulleted header from six yards.
Ten minutes later Barry Robson went close with a curling twenty yard shot which was palmed away by Robertson, Smyth completing the clearance before Goodwillie could pounce on the lose ball. Soon after, another pin-point Conway cross from the left had keeper Robertson stranded in no-man’s land, but Wilkie couldn’t quite hit the target with his header. Robertson then foiled Robson again, this time parrying away a close range header on 22 minutes after a run and cross by Sean Dillon on the right. The keeper’s busy evening continued as he rushed from goal to deny Robb whose mazy run had taken him past the Airdrie defence from half way.
United suffered a blow with Lee Wilkie having to go off on 37 minutes having taken a knock; his replacement, Garry Kenneth. Then Airdrie were almost gifted an equaliser on forty minutes when a slip by Kerr allowed Stuart Noble to force Zaluska into his first save of the night. A further scare followed just before the interval when Dods was caught one on one with Noble and appeared to impede the striker as he drove forward into the box.
There were no changes at half time by either team – indeed, unusually for a friendly, Airdrie did not make a single substitution during the entire ninety minutes. The second half took on a similar pattern to the first with the hosts knocking the ball around quite nicely, but United creating the bulk of the chances. On 54 minutes Craig Conway doubled the lead, cutting in from the left flank to send of powerful right foot drive high past Robertson from outside the box. A repeat attempt on 66 minutes was way over the bar.
With 22 minutes remaining David Robertson replaced Steven Robb on the right of midfield, and Johnny Russell came on in attack in place of David Goodwillie. Russell’s impact was immediate, robbing Soutar of possession just outside the Airdrie box, and skipping past James Sharp who conceded a clear penalty with a trip. Barry Robson blasted home from the spot to make it 3 v 0. Two minutes later Robson should have grabbed his second with a chance that was almost as simple as his penalty. Collecting a fine first time pass from Dillon, Robson steadied himself some ten yards from goal, but went high over the bar with a poor finish.
With fifteen minutes left, Airdrie launched a brief flurry of attacks, and Zaluska was called into action for really the first time in the second half. Good work by Noble on the left set up Steve McEwan for a drive from the edge of the box which the keeper did well to block. Kevin McDonald then controlled well twenty yards from goal, but spoiled his good work by lobbing well over the bar.
Young striker Ryan Dow came on to make his United debut for the remaining nine minutes, Johnny Russell switching to the left flank. Dow almost enjoyed a dream start, after a fine forty yard run and pass by Russell, but Dow’s effort was just a little too straight and Robertson was able to save. A Mark Kerr header was then deflected over following Dillon’s cross as United finished strongly. After Andreoni had replaced Gomis for the closing three minutes, the final chance of the game fell to Robson whose powerful shot from twenty yards was blocked by the busy Robertson.
No league table has been added for this season.