Airdrieonians vs Forfar Athletic
January 3, 2020
Ahead of Saturday’s match against Forfar Athletic, Dale Carrick believes steady improvement is the key to success for Airdrie in 2020.
The striker is in red-hot form this season, and notched his 12th goal of the campaign against Falkirk last week.
The spot-kick equaliser saw Carrick draw level with Calum Gallagher at the top of the Diamonds’ scoring charts, and earned a deserved point against the Bairns.
“I thought that in the first half especially, we dominated for large spells and had three or four really good chances that we just couldn’t convert. If we had it would have been a completely different game in the second half.
“After the break we didn’t create as much, and that’s where Falkirk came into their own and started to threaten a wee bit more. Over the whole I thought a draw was a pretty fair result.”
The draw allowed the Diamonds to move a point clear into second place, although Raith Rovers edged ahead in the title race with a win at East Fife.
Carrick’s goal - his ninth in the last ten games - saw him continue the kind of form which saw him win November’s SPFL Player of the Month award.
The 25-year-old is delighted to be finding the net on a regular basis.
"I’m happy with my form, and happy to be putting away chances.
"I said before that I needed to be scoring goals and now it’s just a case of making sure I stay on the scoresheet.”
A somewhat fortunate goal against Forfar in October kicked off Carrick’s scoring streak as goalkeeper Marc McCallum let the ball squirm through his hands as the Diamonds came from behind to win 4-1.
A sparkling run of form since then has seen Airdrie battling for top spot in one of the tightest League One contests ever.
Only seven points separate the top six going into the second half of the season, but with a variety of permutations possible on any given matchday, Carrick says he and his team-mates never think about results elsewhere.
“You always concentrate on yourself and let the other games take care of themselves. If we can keep picking up point no matter what happens elsewhere, it’ll put us in a good position.
“Going into games and knowing that we’ve got to get something means you don’t need to worry about other teams.”
Forfar Athletic are this weekend’s opponents, and the spoils have been shared so far this season.
Calum Gallagher, Callum Smith and Ally Roy added to Carrick’s equaliser to give Airdrie a 4-1 win at Station Park in October after Dale Hilson had put the home side in front.
However it was a different story on the opening day of the league season when Andy Jackson and Callum Tapping got the goals as Forfar won 2-0 at the Penny Cars Stadium.
The Loons had a change of management shortly after the October meeting, with former player Stuart Malcolm coming in to replace the departing Jim Weir.
Despite an upturn in form, the Angus side are still in ninth place in the table. Dale expects a tricky encounter nonetheless.
“It’s still going to be a difficult game - every game we play until the end of the season will be difficult. Forfar have got a new manager and they’ll have different tactics, but we’re going to prepare as we normally do and go into the game going for the three points.
“We’ll keep asking can we be number one? Can we get those three points? Can we keep pushing to get that end goal?
“I think we can. We’ve got a good enough squad and we’re probably still not at our best. We’re slowly improving our performances, and if we can keep it going we’ll have one hell of a chance.”
Manager Ian Murray agrees that the Loons can be dangerous on their day.
“It will be a different Forfar team to the one we’ve already faced with a new manager in place.
“They’ve managed to get a few good wins under their belts in recent weeks, and we’ve already seen that when they play well they’re a very decent side.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed that captain Sean Crighton (neck) and midfielder Dean Hawkshaw (ankle) have both shaken off knocks and will be fit for selection.
Referee Craig Napier was in charge when the Diamonds beat Dumbarton 3-1 at the Penny Cars Stadium in November.
Saturday January 4, 2020
The Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Referee: Craig Napier
Assistants: Stuart Stevenson, Ross Clark
Issue 14 of matchday magazine Diamonds is available in the Club Shop and around the ground before Saturday’s match. Packed with the usual news, match reports and features, this issue covers both of our festive fixtures against Falkirk and Forfar Athletic, and features a look at both teams’ season so far. Don't forget to pick up your copy!