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March 2, 2024

cinch Championship





Mason Hancock 63

Queen's Park

Dom Thomas 13


Mason Hancock returned from injury to grab Airdrie’s equaliser as the Diamonds drew 1-1 with Queen’s Park for the fifth time in three seasons.

Defender Hancock had to settle for a place on the bench after a knee injury had forced him off during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win at Tannadice, with Rhys McCabe and Calum Gallagher also dropping out of the starting XI. Craig Watson, Dean McMaster and Nikolay Todorov were Airdrie’s replacements.

After an early Craig Watson clearance to deny Louis Longridge’s cross finding its target, Airdrie began to settle into the match and create chances, Sean Welsh booting clear before Gabby McGill could take advantage of Liam McStravick’s dazzling footwork in the fifth minute.

A minute later the home crowd were on their feet in anticipation of a goal as Nikoay Todorov rose to head goalward, but the striker was denied as Calum Ferrie pulled off a wonder save in the Queen’s goal.

Ruari Paton headed over on 12 minutes, but a minute later Callum Davidson’s side had the lead, Adam Frizzell squandering possession just outside the Airdrie box and Dom Thomas bearing down on goal before lashing a wicked strike into the roof of the net.

Airdrie almost levelled the tie immediately, but Ferrie was the hero again as he blocked McStravick’s volley with his midriff.

Ruari Paton could have increased his side’s lead midway through the half, but his unconventional chest toward goal came back off Josh Rae’s upright and the deficit remained at one.

Jack Thomson’s speculative effort trickled just wide of the post on 24 minutes, before Airdrie had half-hearted penalty claims waved away as McStravick went down under a challenge.

Todorov got a toe on Watson’s 27th-minute diagonal pass, but the Bulgarian striker was at full stretch and could only turn the ball past the post before sending another decent opportunity wide of the target two minutes later.

Ferrie took two attempts to gather a Frizzell effort just after the half-hour mark, but the keeper eventually got the loose ball under control.

As Airdrie began to make inroads on the visitors’ goal, McGill saw a strike from outside the box go just wide before Ferrie was again on hand to palm a McStravick cross away with Todorov waiting to head home.

McMaster had the last clear-cut effort of the half, but his long-range volley from a headed clearance was well off-target.

Frizzell began to make runs beyond the strikers early in the second half, and almost took advantage when Todorov headed down a 47th-minute cross, but the skipper’s connection wasn’t clean and Ferrie gathered.

Todorov went close with a header four minutes later, before screwing a shot just wide after good work by Frizzell.

Josh Scott worked a good position on 55 minutes, but his shot was straight at Rae, who gathered gratefully.

Airdrie made a triple-change on the hour-mark with Hancock, Chris Donnell and Arron Lyall replacing Ballantyne, McStravick and Charlie Telfer, and it would prove decisive in the Diamonds’ hunt for an equaliser.

Within four minutes of coming on, full-back Hancock had levelled the tie, just as he did in the last meeting at Hampden. Rather than a simple header from a setpiece, the Londoner provided a lovely run and finish this time, marauding through the midfield before unleashing an unstoppable strike past Ferrie.

Six minutes later the defender was required at the other end, booting the ball behind from a teasing Paton cross.

The former Queen of the South striker had his head in his hands on 74 minutes, missing an open goal after a cross from the left had looped over Rae.

Airdrie resumed their attack on the Spiders’ goal, and Lyall saw a 75th-minute effort well held by Ferrie.

The woodwork came to the Diamonds’ rescue against with nine minutes remaining, Queens defender Danny Wilson rising highest to head for goal, only to see his effort rebound off the base of the post.

Two late chances came Airdrie’s way, with Ferrie catching a Calum Gallagher header before Callum Fordyce stung the keepers palms with a powerful effort which took a slight deflection on its way through.

A late Hancock cross was brilliantly defended as the Diamonds frontline waited to pounce, and the final whistle signalled time on another draw between the sides.

A trip to Dunfermline on Tuesday now awaits the Diamonds, who can leapfrog their opponents into fifth place with a win.

Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.

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

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