March 4, 2023
cinch League 1
Queen of the South
Euan East 35
Lewis Gibson 43
Kieran McKechnie 56
Stephen Hendrie 51 OG
Calum Gallagher 72
Queen of the South made it four without a win for Airdrie, securing a 3-2 home win to leave the Diamonds outside the play-off zone.
Manager Rhys McCabe handed a full debut to defender Lachie Byrd, with the big Australian replacing Craig Watson in the starting XI. Callum Smith came in for the injured Ben Stanway in the only other change from last weekend’s line-up.
In an opening half-hour where the sides largely cancelled each other out, Airdrie perhaps had the better chances with on-loan Hibernian goalkeeper Kevin Dąbrowski punching clear after a promising first-minute attack.
The Polish keeper saved well from Smith six minutes later as the Airdrie attacker cut in from the left and sent in a low angled strike.
Calum Gallagher fired wide on nine minutes after strong hold-up play from Gabby McGill, and Dąbrowski was again on hand to deal with a Charlie Telfer effort four minutes later.
Queen of the South came close to taking the lead after 16 minutes, Josh Rae’s reaction save spinning across the face of goal with Cammy Ballantyne sprinting back to make a vital interception when a tap-in looked inevitable.
Diamonds captain and former Queens man Callum Fordyce came close with a trademark bullet header midway through the half, and Stephen Hendrie’s headed effort at the other end lacked power and gave Rae an easy take.
Dąbrowski was on form again on the half-hour mark, diving to his left to get a strong hand to McGill’s strike, but it was the home side who took the lead in simple fashion five minutes later.
A corner from the Queens right was met by the unmarked Euan East, and despite Rae’s touch the ball nestled in the net.
Rae saved from Ruari Paton as the Doonhamers looked to increase their lead, but the former Queens keeper was helpless as Lewis Gibson fired in his side’s second two minutes before the break, a low cross knocked across goal by Paton for the 17-year-old to slam home.
Airdrie got one back six minutes after the restart, and just as it looked like the Diamonds needed snookers, Stephen Hendrie got his clearance all wrong and turned Euan Deveney’s cross into his own net.
The goal was incorrectly credited to McGill, but the English striker won’t be complaining after having a similar error go against him last month.
It only took five minutes for the home side to restore their advantage after the far-side assistant flagged for an extremely soft free-kick despite referee Duncan Williams initially allowing play to continue.
However unjust the free-kick was, there was no excuse for the sloppy defending on display as Gibson was allowed to run across unchecked and receive a quick pass. The midfielder’s cutback was cleared as far as Adam Frizzell, but the Airdrie man’s first touch allowed Kieran McKechnie space to shoot, and he steered a good finish in at the near post.
Dean McMaster replaced the injured McCabe, and the youngster injected some urgency into the midfield as Airdrie looked for a way back.
Telfer’s 62nd-minute free-kick cleared the bar, but Gallagher was on had to reduce the deficit again ten minutes later, a deft backheel sending the ball into the net after a low corner was touched on by Ballantyne.
Lewis McGregor and Justin Devenny came on to freshen things up further for Airdrie, and chances for an equaliser did come, Byrd nodding just over on 75 minutes before Dąbrowski gathered Deveney’s effort two minutes later.
Frizzell had an 79th-minute effort blocked and fired over a minute later as Gallagher’s claims for an off-the-ball infringement fell on deaf ears.
Devenny had a decent effort blocked with five minutes to play, then sent a long-range effort well over the bar in the final minute and the home side took all three points.
The Diamonds will be looking for a quick turnaround in fortunes to get back in the promotion hunt, with their next three opponents occupying the bottom three spots in cinch League 1.
Stuart Mathie at Palmerston Park.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.