September 3, 2022
cinch League 1
Cammy Ballantyne 🟥 16
Danny Handling 17 pen
James Craigen 45+1, 87
John Robertson 54, 61
Ryan Shanley 71
FC Edinburgh continued their unbeaten form against the lacklustre Diamonds, who slipped to a heavy defeat to end a nine-month unbeaten league run.
Airdrie played over 70 minutes with ten men after Cammy Ballantyne’s early dismissal, with the subsequent penalty giving the visitors the lead.
Although a spirited attempt to fight back gained traction as the first half wore on, an unfortunate second goal in stoppage paved the way for the floodgates to open after the break.
There were two changes in the Diamonds line-up which had drawn 1-1 at Dunfermline last weekend, new signing Alex Henderson taking over from Murray Johnson in goal, with Ben Wylie coming in for Euan Deveney.
Ex-Diamonds Kieran MacDonald and Innes Murray were named in Alan Maybury’s starting XI.
An even opening spell saw a clever ball from Ballantyne just evading Wylie in the third minute, while Edinburgh top scorer John Robertson send a low effort just wide 11 minutes later.
With both sides looking tidy in possession without creating any real breakthrough, the match came to life on 16 minutes when Robertson’s drive struck Ballantyne on the way past the post. Referee Graham Grainger pointed to the spot and flashed a red card at the Diamonds defender.
Danny Handling stepped up to power home, with Henderson guessing right but unable to stop the spot-kick finding the net.
Lewis Jamieson raced onto Frizzell’s pass after good work by Gabby McGill six minutes later, but his run was stopped by a defensive block.
Former Diamonds loanee Murray shot wide as the visitors sought to increase their lead, with goalkeeper Robbie Mutch mopping up Justin Devenny’s 29th-minute head flick.
The ten men increased the pressure as half-time approached, but the visiting goalkeeper and defence stood firm.
Allan Delferriere had a 44th-minute effort saved by Henderson, but the men from the capital did increase their lead two minutes later, James Craigen racing onto a loose header and seeing his strike take a wicked deflection to completely wrongfoot the Diamonds debutant goalkeeper.
As Airdrie attempted to maintain their attacking shape after the break, Edinburgh began to find gaps to exploit and Henderson did well to keep out a powerful effort by Robertson five minutes after the restart.
Diamonds sub Calum Gallagher did well to get a touch on Craig Watson’s 52nd minute cutback, but Mutch gratefully accepted the ball as it spun up off the striker’s boot.
Gallagher had another good opportunity a minute later, getting everything behind Jamieson’s pass but sending the effort wide of the goal.
Edinburgh punished the Diamonds’ slackness, grabbing another goal from a lucky break. As the visitors pushed into the Airdrie box, Henderson looked set to gather Liam Fontaine’s shot until the ball struck Robertson, who span and fired into the empty net.
The former St Johnstone striker doubled his own tally and made it 4-0 to the visitors seven minutes later, bursting through the home defence and unleashing a vicious effort high into the net.
Airdrie’s inability to get a break continued in the 63rd-minute, Callum Smith bustling into the box and sending over a ball which struck a defender and clipped the post with Mutch rooted to the spot.
Henderson made a fine save to stop Murray adding to the scoreline three minutes later, and Airdrie hit the woodwork again as Adam Frizzell’s 68th-minute effort smacked the top of the crossbar.
Ryan Shanley added a fifth for Edinburgh on 71 minutes, finding himself in acres of space at the back post and steering the ball into the net from Emmanuel Johnson’s cutback.
Another Frizzell strike was deflected over the bar before the visitors got their sixth and final goal, Craigen rolling his second of the game into an empty net after Henderson had saved brilliantly from Ouzy See.
Henderson dived at the feet of See to make another impressive debut save with a minute remaining, and the final two chances fell to Airdrie with the referee unimpressed as Smith was pulled down in the box and Gallagher firing over just before the final whistle.
A poor result to end a historic unbeaten run, and the shellshocked Diamonds must now pick themselves up for a trip to Montrose next weekend.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.