October 8, 2022
cinch League 1
Calum Gallagher 5
Callum Fordyce 14
Callum Smith 61
Cammy Ballantyne 🟥 78
Queen of the South
Josh Todd 3
Harry Cochrane 42
Gavin Reilly 63
Airdrie and Queen of the South shared six goals as the sides drew for the second time this season in an exciting match at the Excelsior.
On an afternoon in which both sides scored with their first sight of goal, the Diamonds were in front twice before settling for the draw after losing Cammy Ballantyne to a second yellow card.
Debutant goalkeeper Dean Lyness came in for Airdrie, replacing Alex Henderson, while Dean McMaster and Lewis Jamieson started in place of Euan Deveney and the injured Adam Frizzell.
There were only places on the Queens bench for ex-Diamonds Max Currie and Rico Quitongo, while Paul McKay was sidelined through injury.
Airdrie fans had barely taken their seats when the visitors nosed in front after three minutes, Josh Todd controlling well and playing a one-two before curling home from the corner of the box.
With only five minutes on the clock the Diamonds were on level terms, and it was a special goal for Calum Gallagher. Some quick passing took Jamieson into the box and he slipped the ball through for Gallagher to net his 44th Airdrieonians goal, making him the top scorer of the post-2002 era. The striker had time for a cuddle from the man he overtook, Bryan Prunty, before play resumed.
Gallagher’s positional awareness saw him latch onto a long ball on 12 minutes, but his first time effort lacked power.
New signing Lyness was called into action two minutes later, sprinting out of his penalty box to beat Michael Ruth to a clever through ball.
With quarter of an hour played, the Diamonds took the lead, Charlie Telfer’s short corner swung into the box by Devenny for skipper Fordyce to power home a front-post header.
Lyness showed safe hands on 18 minutes, claiming a cross after the visitors had burst down the left, and opposite number Scott Fox did well to paw away Gallagher's looping cross for Jamieson two minutes later.
Justin Devenny found space on the edge of the box midway through the half, but sent his powerful effort over the crossbar.
Defender Stephen Hendrie thundered in a strike following a short 28th-minute free-kick, but Lyness blocked well with his legs before Fox held a Jamieson effort at the other end.
With Airdrie looking like taking their lead into the break, Harry Cochrane popped up with a fantastic finish to level the tie three minutes before the break, lashing home from fully 30 yards.
The Diamonds almost went back in front instantly, Callum Smith seeing his shot blocked before Ballantyne forced a fine punch from Fox as he smashed the loose ball goalward.
Four minutes after the restart, defender Ballantyne was shown a yellow card after a late tackle on the halfway line.
Smith almost grabbed a goal of the season contender two minutes later, picking the ball up on the touchline and hurdling two desperate challenges before firing into the side netting.
As play raged from end to end, Airdrie had to do some last gasp defending as Lyness’s touch on a cross from the left saw the ball bouncing across the six-yard line on 53 minutes.
Just after the hour-mark, the Diamonds were back in front thanks to a lovely passing move down the right involving Jamieson and Devenny before Craig Watson whipped in a low cross which Smith gratefully turned home.
Straight from kick-off the visitors went up the park, another dangerous cross from the right deflected onto the head of Gavin Reilly, whose header touched the underside of the bar on its way into the net.
Attacking changes for both sides showed that neither were happy to settle for a draw, but Airdrie were dealt a blow when Ballantyne slid into a 78th-minute tackle, seeming to win the ball but convincing the referee that he had committed not only a foul but a bookable offence, and a second yellow card was duly issued.
A man down, the Diamonds relied on Smith to get back and help the defence on 81 minutes, his superb tackle breaking kindly for Queens who forced Lyness into a brilliant save.
With Aaron Taylor-Sinclair on to shore up the Diamonds’ depleted backline, the home side dealt with anything the visitors could throw at them in the closing stages, and could have snatched a winner in stopped time when Gallagher fired in from distance only to see Fox scrambling across to save.
A draw may have been a fair result after an entertaining match, but it’s not one that does either side any favours as the other top-half teams all picked up good wins.
A return to the Indodrill is next up for Airdrie, who will be looking to avenge last month’s SPFL Trust Trophy defeat and get back closer to the top of the table.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.