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Saturday September 14, 2019

Ladbrokes League One






Paul McKay 44


Paul McKay grabbed his first Airdrie goal to give the Diamonds a narrow win over in-form Dumbarton.


Ian Murray’s side travelled to the C&G Systems Stadium looking to continue their five game unbeaten run against the Sons, with the aim of going one better than the four league draws from last season. 


David Hutton, Leon McCann and Callum Smith returned to the starting line-up for Scott Gallacher, Craig Thomson and Ally Roy. McKay scored the goal that earned the points but keeper David Hutton made a string of excellent saves to ensure the home side were unable to take anything from the match. 


Airdrie thought they had opened the scoring  with less than a minute on the clock after Kyle MacDonald’s cross from the right was headed goalward by Paul McKay only for keeper Conor Brennan to make a fine save. Calum Gallagher fired the loose ball into the net, only to see an offside flag raised.


With five minutes gone former Diamond Stefan McCluskey picked out Ruaridh Langan with a low cross and only a timely block by skipper Sean Crighton kept the scoreline blank. 


Three minutes later Hutton was down quickly to collect a driven effort through a ruck of players from Stuart Carswell.


Airdrie were taking the game to their hosts and on the 16-minute mark after a good run down the left by Smith, the on-loan striker won a corner which MacDonald delivered to the near post, but Kerr was off-target with his header.


Airdrie had a penalty shout on 24 minutes after a barge in the back of Kerr went unpunished.


Kerr was on target with a 20-yard curling shot which Brennan took cleanly.


Carswell’s cross from the right on the half hour almost dropped in behind Hutton but landed on the roof of the net.


With the wind at their backs, Dumbarton broke forward on 34 minutes and a last ditch challenge by Kerr on McCluskey was required to end the threat.


Reghan Tumilty’s shot with four minutes of the half remaining was comfortably handled by Hutton.


After Kerr and Gallagher combined on 43 minutes, the latter’s shot was blocked for a corner by Morgyn Neill. When the resultant delivery from MacDonald was only partially cleared by the home defence, midfielder Paul McKay was quickest to react by firing the loose ball into the net off the crossbar from 15 yards out.


Dumbarton tried to react before the break but reckoned without Hutton who made a terrific double save, his first from almost point blank range when McCluskey was on target with his shot then with his second stop from a Carswell shot which was collected on the line to send the visitors in at the interval with their lead. 


After the break it was Airdrie who threatened first on 49 minutes when MacDonald’s shot from outside the box was deflected into Brennan’s arms.


Hutton pulled off another great save on 56 minutes when he pushed the ball into the air from a Ryan McGeever header, then Isaac Layne following up sent his header off the crossbar before Kieran Millar in an attempt to clear smashed the ball against McKay’s head. 


Airdrie had to reshuffle the side after Crighton had to go off with a hamstring problem, with McKay moving back to defence as Nat Wedderburn joined the midfield fray.


As chances fell at both ends McCluskey blazed over from inside the box midway through the half, and only good play by Tumilty stopped Smith as he was about to fire a shot away. 


Tumilty found himself in space on 74 minutes but was wasteful with his shot which was  well off-target.


Gallagher forced Brennan into a good save with quarter of an hour left but on 78 minutes, after being set up by Smith who slid the ball into MacDonald’s path, he cut back inside then blasted his shot from 12 yards over Brennan’s goal.


Craig Thomson was quick to get involved after coming on as a substitute when he drilled a 20-yard shot for goal on 80 minutes and watched it take a deflection for a corner. After the corner was cleared out of the box, Smith clipped the ball back in and Gallagher could only volley over from ten yards out.


Thomson had another good effort on 83 minutes that was also well blocked as Airdrie searched for a second goal.


Smith had a great run from halfway into the box and was able to still fire a decent effort wide left of Brennan’s goal.


In stoppage time substitute Matthew Shiels was on the end of a cross into the box and his downward header was pushed past Hutton’s post after a fine dive to the left of his goal. 


Hutton then collected the ball close his post after another shot at the Airdrie goal, and it was fitting that his involvement came just before the final whistle.


An excellent three points to beat one of the form sides after three wins in a row sees Airdrie move up the table to fourth place.  

John O'Brien at C&G Systems Stadium.

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

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