Saturday August 10, 2019
Ladbrokes League One
Callum Smith 71
Callum Smith’s strike gave Airdrie their first three points of the new league season against ten-man Montrose.
Ian Murray rang the changes for the trip to Links Park with Paul McKay, Craig Thomson, Kurtis Roberts and Euan O’Reilly starting in place of Josh Kerr, James Cowan, Kieran Millar and Calum Gallagher.
Airdrieonians reversed their fortunes from the beginning of last season when they defeated Forfar then lost to Stewart Petrie’s side - by beating Montrose after losing to the Station Park club last weekend.
The Gable Endies had a very reasonable home record last season, losing only five of their 18 league matches which pushed them into the end of season play-offs, but an opening day draw at Stranraer meant both sides went into the match looking for their first league win.
Airdrie were first to threaten after 11 minutes when Nat Wedderburn got on the end of an Adam Eckersley cross into the box, although the midfielder’s shot was sent wide of the Montrose goal.
Three minutes later after Callum Fordyce carried the ball upfield and his pass to Roy allowed the striker to get away a shot from 20 yards out, though the attempt did not trouble Montrose keeper Allan Fleming as the ball flew past his goal.
Josh Skelly was on target on 21 minutes for the home side after finding himself in space though David Hutton was down low to his right to gather the ball.
Smith tried to follow up on a loose ball in 23 minutes after Fleming had not taken the ball cleanly but as both players went after it, the ball spun wide of the goal and away from any threat.
Lewis Milne then tried to break the deadlock on 25 minutes but his snap shot on the turn was too high.
With 29 minutes gone, good play by Montrose took Skelly in behind the Airdrie back-line who were indebted to keeper Hutton who made a fine save from close range to keep the score line blank.
Fordyce went close to scoring in 41 minutes after latching on to the loose ball from a Sean Crighton header, but Fleming was equal to the task and made a very fine save from the defender.
A minute of the half remained when skipper Seán Dillon was short with a headed passback to Fleming and as Smith raced in for the ball, Dillon intervened. A penalty was awarded and the defender saw red after a consultation between referee and linesman. Up stepped Roy to fire his spot kick well over the top of the Montrose goal, and with that miss the sides went in at the interval goalless.
Fordyce headed wide on 50 minutes as Airdrie looked to take advantage of their numbers.
Fleming then turned a Crighton header over his crossbar on 54 minutes.
On the hour Roy headed a cross from an Eckersley corner wide of goal. Graham Webster met a Milne corner two minutes later, but could only sent his effort wide of Hutton’s goal.
Eventually the breakthrough came on 71 minutes. Smith was rewarded for his continual running and pressing when he collected a pass from O’Reilly then took a couple of strides before drilling an excellent 20-yard shot into the corner of the net, giving Fleming little chance.
Montrose tried to react immediately though Liam Callaghan’s shot from distance was off target.
Milne went much closer on 74 minutes when he sent a 20-yard free kick over the wall but the strike came crashing back off the crossbar.
Hutton saved a Milne free-kick on 89 minutes, pushing the ball away for a corner, but the home side were wasteful with a couple of late free-kicks as the game entered the closing period.
The win saw Airdrie rise from the foot of the table into fourth spot.
John O'Brien at Links Park
Match photography by John Steven. Click images to view full size.