January 7, 2023
cinch League 1
Calum Gallagher 84
Callum Smith 88
Charlie Telfer 90 pen
A dramatic last five minutes saw Airdrie ease to victory at Peterhead as Calum Gallagher and Callum Smith continued their scoring form while Charlie Telfer grabbed his first goal for the club.
The Diamonds had enjoyed the better chances in a match which was scrappy at times, but with a penalty saved and the woodwork coming to the home side’s rescue, it had started to look like one of those days until Airdrie rallied late on.
A defensive reshuffle was necessary with Cammy Ballantyne injured and Jay Riley suspended following Monday’s home defeat to FC Edinburgh, with Craig Watson moving to right-back and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair coming in at centre-back. There was also a place on the bench for new signing Joe Dixon.
The home side were first to threaten with Andrew McDonald nodding wide following a third minute corner before Gallagher fired over for Airdrie four minutes later.
Josh Rae, making his first league appearance for the Diamonds after a lengthy injury lay-off, got down smartly to save from Daniel Fosu on ten minutes.
Peterhead keeper Tom Ritchie was also in good form, producing an outstanding point-blank block to deny Gabby McGill’s bullet header from Euan Deveney’s cross four minutes later.
The Aberdeen loanee was at his best again in the 21st minute, reacting well to palm a Rhys McCabe piledriver over the bar.
Fosu missed the target from a half-chance on 25 minutes, then Ryan Strachan had a long-range effort blocked a minute later before the same player tested Rae again with a low left-footed strike.
Five minutes before the break Airdrie were awarded a controversial penalty after a handball in the box. With two Peterhead players booked for their protests, the delayed kick was eventually taken by Smith, but his low effort was parried by Ritchie who recovered quickly to block Telfer’s follow-up.
As the Diamonds continued to push for the opener, Gallagher’s lobbed effort bounced off the bar to safety and the sides went in goalless at the break.
Airdrie almost got lucky with their first chance of the second half, McCabe’s 25-yard free-kick taking a deflection which saw it looping just over the frame of the goal.
McGill came even closer three minutes later, racing on to Smith’s headflick and lifting the ball over the outrushing Ritchie, but the Englishman’s effort crashed off the bar.
Rae had to look lively on 58 minutes, the comeback keeper holding a decent strike from Jordon Brown before the Diamonds advanced again and Deveney saw his long-range effort saved.
After a scrappy period held up by fouls and substitutions, Airdrie threatened again as Ritchie saved a 70th-minute Callum Fordyce header.
Man-of-the-match Ritchie produced another fingertip save to deny McGill’s 76th-minute header, with the hosts then enjoying a short spell of pressure as a series of corners ultimately came to nothing.
The Diamonds eventually broke the deadlock with five minutes remaining, substitute Justin Devenny curling in an excellent corner kick to find Gallagher free at the far post. The striker guided home his header to take his goal tally for the season to ten and put his side firmly in the driving seat.
Three minutes later Airdrie doubled their lead - and this time Gallagher turned provider, running half the length of the park to square for Smith, who had matched his run and peeled away to the back post. A superb square pass gave the striker the easiest of finishes to atone for his first-half penalty miss.
There was time for a third for the Diamonds, new loanee Ben Stanway winning a penalty with his first involvement in the match. This time Telfer stepped up and finished with aplomb, sending Ritchie the wrong way and blasting his spot-kick into the bottom corner.
A late show for the travelling Airdrie support, but a deserved win for the Diamonds who had played well and created chances throughout.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.