October 7, 2023
Lewis McGregor 67
Logan Chalmers 21
Anton Dowds 53
Airdrie suffered their first home defeat of the campaign as rain pelted the Excelsior Stadium in a 1-2 encounter with Ayr United.
The Diamonds began their run of two successive home league matches with a visit from the Somerset Park side. Rhys McCabe hoped to make it three wins from three games as he picked the same side which had dispatched Greenock Morton at Cappielow a week previously.
Ayr’s Lee Bullen made three changes to the team beaten by Raith Rovers, as Frankie Musonda’s injury saw him replaced by George Stanger, Jack Young was replaced by Jay Senga and Ahkeem Rose made way for Mark McKenzie.
Referee Iain Snedden’s whistle was followed by sustained possession from the away team, however Airdrie were the first side to create a real chance.
Some excellent Mason Hancock play in the sixth minute saw him release Lewis McGregor down the left wing, as he cut in and found himself one on one with the goalkeeper. His effort, however, was smartly saved by Charlie Albinson before Calum Gallagher was challenged for the rebound.
The afternoon was significantly worsened for the home side as the ever-present Cammy Ballantyne was forced off in the ninth minute with an injury, to be replaced by Hibernian loanee Kanayo Megwa who came on for his Airdrie debut.
The first goal of the match came just over ten minutes later, when a deep cross from the left hand touchline found the in-form Logan Chalmers free at the far post, who was able to sweep home beyond Josh Rae to the delight of the travelling supporters.
Despite having lots of the ball following this, Airdrie failed to capitalise and the next real chance again fell to the away side. McKenzie beat the offside trap and raced through one-on-one against Rae, but the Diamonds’ stopper denied him expertly with his legs.
The first half petered out as a rather tame affair, and despite plenty of possession, The Diamonds had failed to click into their usual rhythm as of yet, perhaps due to the adverse weather conditions.
Rhys McCabe took half time as an opportunity to introduce the quick-footed Liam McStravick in place of Gabby McGill in an attempt to liven up his side’s play.
This hope, however, was quickly diminished, as the first real action was the second Ayr United goal, in the 53rd minute, when Anton Dowds blasted home from the right hand side of Rae’s box following a corner.
Airdrie looked for an immediate response, as Gallagher slid in at the far post to blaze just over as he got on the end of an excellent McStravick cross.
Chances remained few and far between for both sides, however Airdrie managed to get a goal back and spark some hope in the home stand in the 67th minute, when McGregor drove home to notch his second goal in the same number of matches after a stramash in the penalty area.
As momentum looked to be swinging back in Airdrie's favour, the Diamonds were denied a stonewall penalty when Nick McAllister handled a Frizzell shot, and it was beginning to look like one of those days.
Despite the introduction of striker Nikolay Todorov, Airdrie were unable to take advantage of McGregor’s goal and the match petered out in a rather uneventful fashion, much to the dismay of the Diamonds’ fans, who were yet to know the feeling of a cinch Championship loss at the Excelsior Stadium.
Rhys McCabe will hope to use a free week to his benefit, as his Airdrie side will attempt to get back to winning ways looking forward to their next match - a televised Friday night home encounter with Queen’s Park - live on BBC Scotland on October 20.
Daniel Sutherland at Excelsior Stadium.
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