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    Allan Maitland previews Airdrie United game 

    Saturday, December 18, 2010 4:47:47 AM

    Hopefully today's game goes ahead and we offer a warm welcome to Jimmy Boyle, the players, directors and supporters of Airdrie United FC for today’s game. I am fully aware of how difficult it is for supporters to justify paying money to go to a football match in the current climate and especially at this time of year. With that in mind I would like to thank everyone who has made the effort to come along today – surely it beats pushing a trolley round the Supermarkets or nodding approval when our partners try on “another” outfit!!! - Perhaps we will only know the answer to that at quarter to five. The recent cancellations have made any continuity in form difficult and this has been highlighted by our draw with Peterhead two weeks ago, followed by their heavy loss to Brechin and subsequent excellent win in midweek against our opponents today. While the defeat will be difficult for Airdrie it will at least have given them some game time in preparation for today’s match and I’m sure we will see a better performance than they displayed on Tuesday night. I always find midweek away matches difficult for part time teams, particularly when you’re talking about travelling such long distances and combined with the lack of games, the result on Tuesday was probably not a great surprise although the margin of defeat will be hugely disappointing for Jimmy and all concerned with the club.
    I would like to applaud the efforts of everyone involved in clearing the snow and ice from the park and the surrounding areas for the Peterhead game here two weeks ago. Based on the fact that none of the players were able to travel to Alloa for training for the entire week due to the adverse conditions gives a fair indication of just how remarkable it was for the game to be on – especially as it was the only match played in Scotland. The media coverage was certainly very welcome and portrayed the club and its individuals very well. With the focus on the weather and the efforts to get the game on there was always the possibility that we would lose track on the task of winning the match and I tried to avoid becoming too involved in what was happening at the ground – from a distance it seemed impossible that there could be a game of football played that day but I should never have doubted the determination of Mike Mulraney when he puts his mind to something. I felt that we started the game quite well although lost the opening goal from a penalty when Peterhead had too much time in possession prior to the challenge. At that time it seemed important to get level before half time and we managed that through Stuart Noble after clever play by Kevin McDonald and John Grant only to lose another soft goal to go behind at the break. Normally at half time there’s something that needs changed or substitutions to be made but I thought we’d played well and believed we would win the match if we managed to keep the tempo of the game high and were more clinical in front of goal. Darren Smith was an early casualty when the effects of a flu bug forced him to come off but the introduction of Jim Lister definitely caused their back four problems and we began to create numerous chances that we failed to convert although a lot of credit must be given to John Bateman who had a string of magnificent saves including a penalty from Kevin. The players showed Great Spirit and kept the pressure going to the end and were rewarded with a deserved equaliser when Kevin got the opportunity to redeem himself with a second penalty in the final minutes. While we nearly won the match with a great opportunity in injury time a draw was possibly a fitting result considering the willingness of everyone connected with Peterhead to make the journey and co-operate in getting the match played.
    We are now entering a vitally important spell of matches that will determine how our season will develop and we are determined to succeed where we failed last year. Finally I would like to take the opportunity of wishing every Alloa fan a Merry Christmas and hope we can provide you with an early present of three points today.
    Allan Maitland

    Managers Corner