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Saturday November 9, 2019

Ladbrokes League One





Declan McManus 71


Paul McKay 32

Calum Gallagher 90+3


A stoppage-time winner from Calum Gallagher sparked wild celebrations as Airdrie toppled league leaders Falkirk.


Goals from Paul McKay, his third of the season, and Gallagher’s ninth of the campaign sent the Diamonds large visiting support home celebrating the club’s first win in Falkirk since 2002. 


Manager Ian Murray went with the same side for the second successive week with the players providing another excellent win, this time beating the title favourites on their own patch.


Every Airdrie player produced an excellent performance as the club set a marker that they are able to beat the sides who have been above them in the league this season. 


Falkirk had to make a very late change with keeper Robbie Mutch replacing Cammy Bell who had injured himself in the warm-up.


Two minutes in a McKay throw-in saw the ball break to Kurtis Roberts on the edge of the box but his effort lacked power as the ball ran wide.


Three minutes later Ian McShane’s through ball for David McMillan was too strong and ran away from his team mate.


David Hutton had to look lively on the nine-minute mark as he read a Declan McManus pass for Louis Longridge, and the keeper slid out to claim the ball.


With 14 minutes played once again Hutton’s early reaction to intercept a Paul Dixon cross was timely as McManus attacked the ball.


As Falkirk continued to probe with 17 minutes gone a Michael Tidser corner was headed back across goal by former Diamond Gregor Buchanan and his fellow central defender Mark Durnan headed the ball over the Airdrie goal.


On 21 minutes Airdrie were again in debt to Hutton after McManus headed on Dixon’s cross with the Airdrie keeper punching the ball clear as McMillan raced in to meet the ball.


Having defended resolutely the Diamonds were finding their way into the match and with 27 minutes played Gallagher worked well to find Dale Carrick, whose strike was deflected wide of the Falkirk goal.


As they started to pass the ball better it was Airdrieonians who took the lead on 31 minutes. A fine ball from Roberts down the left wing was chased after by Gallagher, who made ground to the goal-line and fired over a great cross for McKay to race in and head the ball past replacement keeper Mutch.


In the 38th minute, after a foul on Gallagher, a Sean Crighton free-kick dipped over the wall and under the bar and Mutch did well to push the ball over the top of his goal. 


Two minutes from the interval Carrick showed good energy to pick out Smith on the right and his cross was well taken by Mutch under pressure.


With a minute left, McMillan met a Michael Doyle cross inside the penalty box but Hutton was able to usher the ball wide of his right post as the Diamonds took their one-goal advantage in to the interval.


The home side were unable to enjoy as much possession after the restart as the game swung from end to end. 


It was not until the 58th minute that Hutton was called upon, saving easily from a McManus attempt after a Falkirk counter attack when Airdrie were claiming for a penalty after a poor challenge on Gallagher.


As the visiting backline did not stand on ceremony with some of their clearances there was some anxiety in 64 minutes, after Leon McCann’s attempted clearance went high until eventually landing on the roof of the net.


The home side pushed for an equaliser and added to their firepower, bringing on Conor Sammon with a quarter of the match remaining.


A Longridge header was cleared off the goal line on 69 minutes.


After a succession of corner kicks, the equaliser came on 72 minutes. A corner by Longridge from the right was headed on by Buchanan with McManus getting a further touch as the ball went into the net.


With quarter of an hour remaining Airdrie almost had an immediate reaction when Crighton rose to head a ball from the right towards goal, which was well saved by Mutch, with Carrick blazing the high over the Falkirk goal.


Smith came close to connecting with a Roberts cross on 81 minutes while Sammon spurned a decent near-post effort two minutes later after poor contact to send it off target.


After Callum Fordyce had helped see the ball out wide on the right in stoppage time, it provided Airdrie with one final chance and throw of the dice. McKay’s throw-in was touched on and Gallagher threw himself at the ball to power a wonderful header into the back of the net, giving Mutch no chance.  


There was only just time to restart before the final whistle went and the support were acknowledged by players and management while they in turn raised the roof with their appreciation of everyone’s contribution towards the success.


The win takes the Diamonds another place up the table, while Raith Rovers and East Fife are on Cup duty next week to provide an interesting backdrop to the Stranraer trip.

John O'Brien at the Falkirk Stadium.

Match photography by John Steven. Click images to view full size.

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