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April 26, 2024

cinch Championship





Dundee United


A superb display saw the Diamonds dominate possession and chances against Dundee United, but Jim Goodwin’s side held on for the point which saw them clinch the cinch Championship title.

A huge crowd packed into the Excelsior for Friday evening’s televised match, but it was Airdrie who stole the show with some fantastic football, and the Terrors had goalkeeper Jack Walton to thank for the goalless scoreline.

Rhys McCabe made one change to the side which lost at Partick Thistle on Saturday, Chris Donnell replacing Nikolay Todorov, but Diamonds fans were also treated to the welcome sight of Murray Aiken among the substitutes, marking his first involvement since sustaining an ankle fracture in October.

Former Airdrie striker Tony Watt led the line for the visitors, but fellow ex-Diamonds Ross Docherty and Declan Glass missed out.

Airdrie took the game to the visitors from the off, Mason Hancock’s third minute cross being nicked off the head of Gabby McGill before Walton beat the Diamonds striker to a smart pass from Arron Lyall four minutes later.

Hancock was finding good space on the left, and saw another cross bundled behind on nine minutes before almost getting lucky with another delivery which looked like it was sneaking into the top corner.

Lewis McGregor stung Walton’s palms with a 20-yard effort before the on-loan Luton keeper saved a McGill header from Charlie Telfer’s cross.

It was midway through the first half before Dundee United got close to the Airdrie goal, and Craig Sibbald’s effort ended up in the back of the south stand.

As the Diamonds regained control of the match, it took Walton two attempts to smother Lyall’s 26th-minute strike after the midfielder had shown some nifty footwork to burst through the defence.

McGill saw another chance deflected behind for a corner on the half-hour mark before Kai Fotheringham headed well over from another rare United attack.

Home fans thought their side had gone in front a minute from the break, McGregor leading a promising break and cutting back for Lyall to rifle in a shot, but Walton made an unbelievable stop, tipping the ball onto the inside of the post where it bounced onto the line before spinning to safety.

There was no sign of the Diamonds letting up after the break, and McGregor poked toward the far post after a 47th-minute counter. Whether the winger’s ball was a pass or a shot, it beat Walton and cleared the post by inches.

The United keeper was proving unbeatable as he held a 52nd-minute McGregor volley, and his defence helped out a minute later as another Hancock cross was forced behind.

Substitute Jordan Tillson had a decent effort from range on 57 minutes, but Airdrie keeper Robbie Hemfrey gathered easily for his first save of the match.

McGill and Donnell both had 63rd-minute chances at the near post, but against the Dundee United goal survived before Tillson saw another speculative curling effort clear the top corner.

As Airdrie pushed to spoil the party, Walton denied Lyall once again with another superb save and McGill headed wide as Telfer delivered another tempting cross.

Diamonds sub Elliot Dunlop made a thrusting run through the middle with 12 minutes remaining, but the visiting defence got back to cover as the youngster tried to seek out a team-mate.

Sibbald sent another shot wide from outside the box as the clock ticked down, with United sub Louis Moult firing into the side netting after a clearance broke to the striker.

Kanayo Megwa’s penalty claims fell on deaf ears in the final minute, and another unbelievable stop from Walton denied substitute Josh O’Connor in stoppage time.

The final whistle brought an end to an entertaining, one-sided goalless draw, and United’s title was confirmed to send their support home in jubilant mood.

Diamonds fans will also be very happy with an excellent display, with a final league match against Queen’s Park to come before the play-off action begins.

Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.

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

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