28th January 2023
cinch League 1
Callum Fordyce 2
Calum Gallagher 18, 63
Charlie Telfer 41
The Diamonds turned on the style with an outstanding performance to win 4-0 against Alloa, with only some top goalkeeping preventing an even bigger margin of victory.
Player-manager Rhys McCabe returned to the starting XI following illness, with fellow midfielder Ben Stanway dropping back to the bench.
Airdrie got off to the perfect start as Calum Gallagher and Charlie Telfer showed they were in the mood with some neat interplay which led to a first-minute corner.
Telfer swung in a superb ball to find captain Callum Fordyce, who stepped in front of his marker to power a header into the net from six yards.
Alloa looked to hit back, but Airdrie mopped up the pressure and began to show more danger in the forward areas, Euan Deveney just overhitting a sixth-minute through ball before Telfer and Callum Smith cut through the defence with the latter’s square ball inches away from Gabby McGill’s lunge.
Smith was showing his usual endeavour and directness, and Alloa keeper Jay Hogarth was grateful when a deflection took the striker’s ninth-minute effort into his gloves.
Gallagher’s willingness to drop back was leading to good chances for the Diamonds, and his backheel on ten minutes set Telfer away, but this time a defensive deflection took the ball behind for a corner.
A minute later Gallagher got on the end of another Telfer cross, but his downward header bounced over the bar.
It seemed only a matter of time before Airdrie would increase their lead, and McGill went close again on 13 minutes, this time beating Hogarth only to see his strike booted off the line.
Hogarth pulled out a superb fingertip save to prevent Gallagher scoring from distance on the quarter-hour mark, and blocked two attempts from the resultant corner.
The Diamonds’ number 9 wasn’t to be denied much longer, however, McCabe’s raking pass finding McGill with Scougall’s tackle breaking to Gallagher in the box. The striker took a good touch under pressure before firing home from close range.
A rare chance for the visitors came seven minutes later, but Luke Donnelly volleyed over after a superb diagonal pass had teed Conor Sammon up for a cross.
When the Wasps did manage a shot on target on 28 minutes, Josh Rae was down quickly to gather.
Telfer continued to orchestrate play from the middle of the park, and Adam Frizzell almost benefitted from another superb pass on 33 minutes, but the Alloa defence crowded the midfielder out before he could get a shot away.
With four minutes of the half remaining Telfer deservedly got on the scoresheet himself, McGill providing the assist with a clever cutback which the midfielder controlled and lashed beyond Hogarth.
The Alloa keeper made another smart save from Smith’s angled effort on the stroke of half-time, and the Diamonds took a three-goal lead into the break.
An early charge from the visitors after the restart needed some determined defending from Frizzell, who raced back to make a vital interception.
The Diamonds midfielder was in more familiar territory three minutes later, carving out a sublime pass to McGill who was desperately unlucky to see his lob fall the wrong side of the post.
Good play by Smith created space for a 54th-minute shot which flew over the bar, before Jon Robertson sent a long-range effort the same was for Brian Rice’s side.
Hogarth continued to impress in the away goal, blocking Telfer’s shot with his feet after yet another flowing Diamonds attack on 60 minutes, and the same player was denied by another fine save as he fired a strike toward the top corner two minutes later.
Airdrie’s next foray forward brought the fourth goal, and this time Euan Deveney was the architect with a determined run down the left before swinging in a brilliant cross which left Gallagher the easiest of back-post headers.
The points secured, there were cameo appearances for three recent signings with Ben Stanway and Lewis McGregor getting a run out, while Australian defender Lachie Byrd made his Diamonds debut.
Airdrie could have added more, but Hogarth saved well from Frizzell on 69 minutes, and from Gallagher with ten remaining.
Alloa subs Quinn Coulson fired wide on 84 minutes before a brilliant Gallagher flick set McGregor away, but the visiting defence rallied well.
Hogarth denied Smith with a minute to play, and Diamonds had to settle for four.
The result takes Airdrie back above their opponents into fourth, with an eight-goal swing almost as pleasing as the three points.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.