Saturday December 23, 2017
Ladbrokes League One
Cammy Russell 4
David Brownlie 26
First-half goals from Cammy Russell and David Brownlie saw the Diamonds record a fantastic festive win against league leaders Ayr United.
The table-toppers came to New Broomfield on the back of a stunning run of form, having last dropped points when the Diamonds held them to a 2-2 draw at Somerset Park in October.
Stevie Findlay stuck with the same side who started last week’s Hampden stalemate, lining up in the now-familiar 5-1-3-1 formation.
The opening goal came with just four minutes on the clock.
Jake Hastie was blocked out as he tried to run into the box, but the ball broke to Cammy Russell who engineered some space for himself before drilling a low effort into the net past Jordan Hart.
Ayr reacted almost immediately on seven minutes as Lawrence Shankland found the space to get a shot away, but the former Aberdeen man’s effort veered wide of goal.
The visitors were keen to level the match quickly, and another off-target attempt by Shankland followed Michael Moffat’s weak 20-yard effort.
On the quarter-hour mark, former Airdrie captain Paddy Boyle’s floated pass found Craig Moore, who raced in behind the home defence and got away a low netbound shot only for keeper Rohan Ferguson to make an excellent save, pushing the ball away to his right with the danger being cleared.
Airdrie broke from defending midway through the first half, winning a corner on the right. Successive corners had the visitors on the back foot and a high ball into the Ayr penalty box saw defender David Brownlie rise to head the ball home, with the stand-side linesman confirming it had crossed the line.
As was expected from the side on such an impressive winning streak, the Honest Men had another spell of pressure as half-time approached, but the Diamonds were defending resolutely and any threat was reduced to long-range shooting.
The majority of the second half saw the home side defend deeper with Ayr having lots of possession, but unable to create real opportunities.
Airdrie had chances too as the game wore on, Jordan McGregor and Luke Watt going close for the hosts.
As Ian McCall’s side threw everything forward in an attempt to maintain their unbeaten record, they found home keeper Ferguson in inspired form - first denying Shankland with his feet then beating out Moffat’s netbound strike.
That proved to be the final action of a thrilling match, and the Diamonds fans can enjoy Christmas a bit more following a heartening performance and a wonderful three points.
Referee: Mr Scott Millar
John O'Brien at Excelsior Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
2. Brownlie ⚽ ▊
9. Russell ⚽ 🔽 (84)
10. Hastie 🔽 (72)
12. Brown 🔼 (72)
14. Fry 🔼 (84)
3. Boyle 🔽 (81)
6. Geggan 🔽 (42)
10. Forrest 🔽 (62)
7. Moffat ▊
17. Shankland ▊
11. McDaid 🔼 (42)
12. McGuffie 🔼 (62)
24. Murphy 🔼 (81)