Saturday October 20, 2012
Irn Bru SFL Division 1
Erskine 4, 45
Muirhead 11 pen
Beleaguered Airdrie were crushed by a rampant Partick Thistle side who put on a dazzling display to smash seven past the dismal Diamonds.
The Jags romped back to the top of the league with a breathtaking performance which Airdrie simply had no answer to.
Jimmy Boyle made a handful of changes to the side defeated by Hamilton before the break, with David Lilley and Alan Cook replacing Grant Evans and Marc Warren in the back four, while on-loan Joshua Watt took over Cook's left midfield berth. Kieron Stallard replaced the injured Jamie Barclay in the centre.
It only took four minutes for the Glaswegians to break the deadlock, a cross-field pass wrong-footing Cook to leave Chris Erskine one-on-one with goalkeeper Kenny Arthur. The striker, September's Irn Bru Player of the Month, slotted home.
Seven minutes later, it was two. Alan Cook was beaten to the ball and tugged his man back. Referee Euan Norris pointed to the spot, and Aaron Muirhead duly despatched the kick high into the Airdrie net.
A superb point blank save by Kenny Arthur from Steven Craig's header seemed to spur the Diamonds into action, and they enjoyed a short spell of dominance, forcing a handful of corners. The best of these fell to Gregor Buchanan, but the defender couldn't keep his header on target.
Thistle ended the game as a contest in the 30th minute, a slick passing move down the right flank ending with a brilliant reverse pass to Steven Lawless who blasted home.
Two more goals before the break came courtesy of Sean Welsh and a second for Erskine, who sprung the offside trap to sidefoot the ball home on the stroke of half time.
The half-time interval saw Cook replaced by Grant Evans at right back, and the team were sent out a full five minutes early. Despite a bright start in which a Jack Boyle snapshot forced a smart save from Jags keeper Scott Fox, it was Thistle who increased their lead, a Kris Doolan shot looping over Kenny Arthur.
In 77 minutes, substitute Scott Sally saw red for a tackle on Muirhead. Referee Euan Norris seemed to indicate a stamp, and had no hesitation reaching for a straight red card. In a match with no other bookings, it seemed harsh on Sally, whose tackle - while rash - didn't look malicious.
The Diamonds misery was compounded with ten minutes remaining, when a Forbes free kick from the right flank deceived Kenny Arthur and squirmed into the net.
A day to forget for all from Airdrie, and one which makes next week's trip to Dumbarton doubly important.
Stuart Mathie at Firhill.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.