Stenhousemuir 1 Airdrieonians 0
A must win game for Stenhousemuir ended in success at Ochilview as Thomas Halleran’s 74th minute free kick proved to be the goal that secured the three points for Colin McMenamin’s side.
The first half provided few chances for either team. Kieran MacDonald came close for Airdrie with a free kick that was fired just wide of Graeme Smith’s goal and moments later Andy Munro was forced to make a last ditch challenge, stopping Dale Carrick from pouncing on a loose ball in the Stenhousemuir box.
Connor Duthie was proving to be a handful for the Airdrieonians defence. He played in several dangerous crosses to the box, however there was nobody on the end of his efforts as the score stayed level going into the half-time break.
Both managers seemed to give their team a talking to at half time as both sets of players came out much livelier for the second half.
Airdrie won a free kick on the edge of the box in the 50th minute and the effort from the set piece was spilled by Graeme Smith and cleared for a corner.
This seemed to be a wake up call for the Warriors who continued to battle away, with Sean Dickson being a threat on the left wing.
The best chance of the game so far came in the 70th minute when a Dickson cross was met by Mark McGuigan, but his shot was saved excellently by David Hutton who may well find himself a candidate for save of the season following this effort.
Stenny didn’t have to wait much longer before they broke the deadlock. In the 74th minute Halleran sent a beautifully executed free kick into the top left hand corner leaving Hutton helplessly picking the ball out from his net.
The 18-year-old was delighted at grabbing his first senior goal and so was his manager, Colin McMenamin.
“It was a great goal," he said. "Believe it or not, Thomas practices that every single night in training. He must hit 1000 free kicks.
"I’m absolutely delighted for him."
The Warriors defended well for the last 15 minutes and saw the game out to secure all three points stayed at Ochilview, and close to within a point of second-bottom Dumbarton.
McMenamin insists his players didn’t have their mind on cup replay against Aberdeen on Tuesday night.
“We could not afford to take our eye off the ball," he said.
"We know Airdrie are a good team that have been going well. I’m delighted with the result.”
McMenamin’s side will now look to cause another upset at home to Aberdeen on Tuesday night in their Scottish cup fourth round replay.