April 29, 2024
cinch League 1
Salim Kouider-Aïssa 70
Queen of the South
Harry Cochrane 20
Euan East 22
Ruari Paton 83
Airdrie’s unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Queen of the South, with substitute Salim Kouider-Aïssa’s goal proving to be just a consolation in the end.
With the play-off spot secured, the match gave manager Rhys McCabe the opportunity to shuffle the pack, and the Diamonds boss brought in Ben Stanway, Euan Deveney and Lachie Byrd for Cammy Ballantyne, Adam Frizzell and Dean McMaster.
The early stages of the match had a distinct end-of-season feel, although McCabe himself went close in the opening seconds with a looping header which drifted past the top corner of Gordon Botterill’s goal.
Callum Smith’s first time effort flew wide of the target after a tackle on Calum Gallagher had broken to the forward, and Stanway did some good defensive work at the other end as Lewis Gibson broke for the visitors.
Some good Diamonds play on 12 minutes was thwarted by a decent block on Smith’s cutback, Justin Devenny firing over from the resultant corner.
Marvin Bartley’s side looked threatening around the box, and Ruari Paton forced ex-Queens keeper Josh Rae into a fine 14th-minute save.
The Diamonds number 1 was in action again two minutes later, diving at the feet of Kieran McKechnie inside the six-yard box.
Devenny headed over on 18 minutes, but the visitors were in front a minute later. A cross from the left looped over everyone to find Harry Cochrane unmarked at the back, and the midfielder’s angled header nestled in the net.
Things went from bad to worse for the Diamonds three minutes later as Euan East stretched out a leg to meet a corner kick, easing the ball in off Rae’s left-hand post.
Airdrie almost hit back immediately through Devenny, who raced on to Charlie Telfer’s excellent through pass but was thwarted by a brave diving save from Botterill.
Telfer fired well over the bar just after the half-hour mark, and Euan Deveney bent his shot away from goal 11 minutes later after the visitors had survived claims for a handball in the box.
Some slack defending allowed Paton space to shoot two minutes after the restart, but Rae stretched to tip the ball spectacularly over the bar.
McKechnie went close with a backward header three minutes later as Queens looked to increase their lead.
Stanway had a decent effort well blocked on 57 minutes after more good work by Telfer, and half-time substitute Dean McMaster fired over a minute later.
Kouider-Aïssa, on for Gallagher, tested Botterill with a 67th-minute effort, but the shot lacked power and the Doonhamers keeper gathered easily.
The striker wasn’t to be denied three minutes later, Callum Fordyce’s touch freeing Telfer to cross and Kouider-Aïssa rising in the box to power home a fine header.
As both sides made changes, Airdrie seemed to be finding a way back into the game with Stanway and Telfer driving the play from midfield, but it was the visitors who got a decisive third on 83 minutes.
Stanway was adjudged to have tripped Lee Connelly just outside the box, and Paton netted in stunning fashion, lifting the free-kick over the wall and in off the crossbar.
Airdrie’s last chance fell to Stanway, who was denied at the near post by Botterill.
A meaningless result in the grand scheme of things, but the Diamonds will be hoping to bounce back as they visit FC Edinburgh in their last game of the regular season with a massive play-off semi-final looming.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.