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April 13, 2024

cinch Championship





Dean McMaster 45
Gavin Gallagher 63

Dunfermline Athletic

Malachi Fagan-Walcott 60


First senior goals for Dean McMaster - on his 21st birthday - and Gavin Gallagher handed Airdrie a deserved 2-1 win over Dunfermline Athletic after an entertaining match at the Excelsior.

Boss Rhys McCabe named the same side who managed recent wins over Greenock Morton and Raith Rovers, the Diamonds were looking to make it four wins on the trot with victory over the Pars.

In a fairly open start to the match, Gabby McGill saw a second-minute cutback intercepted as Adam Frizzell attacked the box with Kyle Benedictus heading out Mason Hancock’s cross seconds later.

Nikolay Todorov went close against his old side after Kanayo Megwa had set Frizzell off on a fifth-minute counter, with Dunfermline striker Chris Kane firing over at the other end a minute later.

Matty Todd was next to try with a headed effort on nine minutes, but it sailed over Robbie Hemfrey’s bar without troubling the keeper.

A superb Charlie Telfer pass let Megwa cross for McGill after 11 minutes, with the visiting defence clearing the danger before Hancock chipped a cheeky effort just over the bar.

Dunfermline’s high press was causing problems for Airdrie, and Hemfrey was almost caught out by Edwards on the quarter-hour, but the former Diamond couldn’t find the next from an acute angle.

Airdrie were getting joy from their quick passing movements, and Telfer could only hook over at the end of a rapid exchance on 17 minutes, before a good Benedictus block denied Todorov a minute later.

McGill stung the palms of Deniz Mehmet with ten minutes of the half remaining, the keeper getting down well to stop the Englishman’s half-volley after Frizzell’s forward pass.

Kane headed over before Airdrie were once again denied by Mehmet, this time the Turkish goalie palming a Callum Fordyce strike over the top.

McMaster got the perfect birthday present on the stroke of half-time, coming short to assist Telfer, who was struggling with the wind at a corner kick. The midfielders exchanged passes before McMaster teed up a lovely shot which sailed past Mehmet into the net.

The Diamonds had the bit between their teeth as the second half kicked off, and it took another good Mehmet save to keep the score down, Frizzell’s 49th-minute strike being tipped round the post by the Dunfermline custodian.

Lewis McCann almost took advantage of the conditions as the swirling wind held the ball up on 52 minutes, the striker fizzing an effort just wide of the post.

There was no way past Fordyce for the Dunfermline man two minutes later, the Airdrie assistant-manager chasing back and launching a perfectly-timed challenge to clear the danger.

Todorov was booked for simulation during the first of two Diamonds penalty claims on 57 minutes, the Bulgarian striker blasting Megwa’s cross over the bar a minute later.

Dunfermline’s equaliser came from the same corner as Airdrie’s opener, and it was a simple cross and finish as Todd picked out Malachi Fagan-Walcott at the back post.

Airdrie wasted no time in replying, and it was quick thinking from Telfer on 63 minutes as the midfield man was fouled and hurriedly knocked the ball to substitute Lewis McGregor. His square pass to McGill was miscontrolled, but deflected into the path of Diamonds sub Gavin Gallagher, who smashed home from eight yards.

Todd almost grabbed an equaliser three minutes later, but missed the target after the officials had missed a handball in the build-up.

More penalty shouts came from the Diamonds when McGregor got through one-on-one with the keeper only to be taken from behind by Benedictus, but referee Grant Irvine deemed the challenge a fair one.

Watson went close with a headed effort from a Telfer corner on 77 minutes, and McMaster almost grabbed a second three minutes later, sending a long-ranger just past the top corner with Mehmet stranded.

Michael O’Halloran and Arron Lyall traded efforts as the clock ticked down, but neither could find the target, and two stoppage-time saves from Hemfrey kept the Diamonds in front until the final whistle.

The win solidifies Airdrie’s play-off ambitions, with the Diamonds moving nine points clear of Dunfermline with nine to play for. Next week’s opponents Partick Thistle are now ahead of Airdrie only on goal difference.

Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.

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

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