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December 16, 2023

cinch Championship

Ayr United




Anton Dowds 15



Anton Dowds scored the decisive goal for the second time this season, but the Diamonds will feel they created enough chances to take at least a draw from Somerset Park.

Manager Rhys McCabe returned to the starting line-up in one of three changes to the side which lost 2-1 to Dunfermline Athletic last weekend, Charlie Telfer and Calum Gallagher joining the manager as Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Gavin Gallagher and Nikolay Todorov made way.

Airdrie started on the front foot, captain Adam Frizzell seeing a fifth-minute effort charged down. As Ayr broke, Kanayo Megwa proved an effective last line of defence, intercepting a pass and clearing with minimum fuss.

The home side looked to play in Dowds five minutes later, but Diamonds keeper Josh Rae was alert to the danger and rushed out to collect.

Frizzell was driving much of Airdrie’s early attacking play, and sent in a powerful 14th-minute effort which goalkeeper Robbie Mutch parried before pouncing on the loose ball.

A minute later the home side were in front, and it was Partick Thistle loanee Dowds who twisted to get his head to Jamie Murphy’s corner, steering the ball across Rae and into the far corner.

Luck was on the hosts’ side on 19 minutes, a wicked cross from Mason Hancock ricocheting around the box before falling kindly for Mutch.

A 21st-minute free-kick in ‘Rhys McCabe territory’ was curled wide of the post by the player-manager, and Frizzell was robbed in the box a minute later as he tried to tee up a shot.

Airdrie came closer still on 26 minutes, Telfer’s cross from the right finding the head of Gallagher, who crashed his header off the post. As the ball was worked back in, it hit Frizzell on the line and skewed to safety.

McCabe had another setpiece opportunity two minutes later, this time hitting the target but unable to beat Mutch, who palmed the well struck effort over the bar.

In a rare Ayr attack on 32 minutes, substitute Francis Amartey skipped away from Callum Fordyce’s last-ditch challenge but fired weakly at Rae.

A scrappy end to the half followed, with Telfer scooping over from a stoppage-time corner in the only real chance before the break.

Airdrie had Rae to thank for keeping the score down two minutes after the restart, a cross falling perfectly for Dowds who took a touch before shooting, but the Diamonds keeper blocked well with his feet.

Dean McMaster curled a shot wide as Airdrie executed a slick 50th-minute passing move, but as the home side countered, Logan Chalmers was unlucky with a nice curling strike. With a lead to protect, Ayr seemed content to soak up pressure and hit on the counter, and Chalmers was providing a good outlet on the right flank.

Telfer fired over one 54 minutes after a driving run through the middle, and Mutch grabbed Liam McStravick’s effort four minutes later.

Changes for both sides interrupted play as Jack Young and Aiden McGeady both failed to hit the target with ambitious efforts.

The Diamonds support were calling for a penalty as Frankie Musonda barged Gallagher to the deck on 68 minutes, but neither referee Peter Stuart or his linesman saw anything untoward.

The striker was on the end of more harsh treatment eight minutes later as Elicha Ahui hesitated on the box and Gallagher nipped in to fire over via a deflection off the defender, but a free-kick was given.

Frizzell and McMaster were denied as the match moved into the final ten minutes, and the impressive Chalmers saw a strike charged down as Airdrie chased the game.

The last chance fell to the home side, who saw a lob drift wide of the post in stoppage time, and the final whistle signalled a third consecutive defeat for the Diamonds.

Stuart Mathie at Somerset Park.

Photos © Redacted Media. Click to view full-size.

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