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August 13, 2022

cinch League 1

Queen of the South




Gavin Reilly 61


Calum Gallagher 19


Airdrie remain unbeaten in League 1 after game of two halves in blistering heat ended all square at Palmerston Park.

It was the first time the Diamonds had faced “new” opposition in this season’s league campaign, with hosts Queen of the South having come down from the Championship.

With two impressive wins already under their belts, Rhys McCabe’s Airdrie started with the same XI which had beaten Falkirk last weekend.

Ex-Diamonds Max Currie, Rico Quitongo and Paul McKay lined up against their former team-mates in the oppressive heat of Dumfries.

It was Airdrie who took the game to their hosts in the first half, Lewis Jamieson first to test Currie with a low shot which the goalkeeper blocked with his feet.

Jamieson and Cammy Ballantyne were getting joy down the right flank in the opening spell, and a nice one-two between the pair ended when Ballantyne’s touch into the box was just too heavy and took the ball out of play.

Adam Frizzell saw a powerful strike fly wide of the post on 12 minutes, before Currie gathered a Callum Smith effort three minutes later.

The Diamonds took the lead on 19 minutes, and it was Calum Gallagher who showed his predatory instincts again after a close-range double last Saturday. Rhys McCabe’s free-kick was spilled by Currie, and as he has so often, Gallagher reacted quickest to pass the loose ball into the net.

Willie Gibson’s Queens reacted with their first real attack of the match on 23 minutes, a rare mistake from captain Callum Fordyce allowing Gavin Reilly in on goal, but Murray Johnson turned his strike round the post with the resultant corner nodded wide of the target.

Ruari Paton volleyed wide after intercepting Johnson’s 26th-minute kick-out, before the temperature started to take its toll on proceedings and a fairly pedestrian period followed.

The Doonhamers had further chances just before half-time, Craig Watson blocking a shot by substitute Josh Todd before Ballantyne repeated the feat two minutes before the break.

Currie saved well from Smith on the stroke of half-time before Todd fired wide, and the sides went in with the visitors ahead at the break.

Fordyce went close with a header early in the second half, with the hosts changing shape and personnel in an attempt to get back into the match.

The changes marked an improvement in the home side’s play, and it took a good clearance by Watson to prevent a 58th-minute chance after the Diamonds defender had misplaced a pass.

Queen of the South weren’t to be denied much longer, and grabbed a 61st-minute equalise after Paton found space in the box and squared for Reilly, who squeezed the ball home at the far post.

The second half looked to be mirroring the first, with the home side imposing themselves on the play while Airdrie looked threatening on the break.

Frizzell was denied by a fine tackle just inside the box on 65 minutes, with the impressive Queens substitute Kieran McKechnie sending a shot over the top three minutes later.

McKay covered well to avert the danger after Watson had picked out Smith on 74 minutes, the strikers flick beating Currie before his former team-mate got across to boot clear.

Queens were denied by a brilliant Johnson save with seven minutes remaining, the Hibs loanee diving at full-stretch to tip Iain Wilson’s stinging strike round the post.

Off-target efforts by McKechnie and Diamonds sub Salim Kouider-Aïssa followed, with a stoppage time Connor Murray effort clearing the bar.

A draw was probably the right result on balance of play, with credit due to the players for producing an entertaining match in horrible conditions.

Stuart Mathie at Palmerston Park

Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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