Saturday December 14, 2019
Ladbrokes League One
Calum Gallagher 5
Dale Carrick 42 pen
Scott Brown 45+1
Ian Murray’s side displayed their ‘bouncebackability’ having seen their long winning run end last weekend by defeating Jim McInally’s side by the same score as their October victory at Balmoor Stadium.
It was not just the scoreline which mirrored the previous meeting, but both fixtures saw Calum Gallagher score after four minutes and Dale Carrick score from the spot.
The win also saw the Diamonds move closer to Raith Rovers at the top of the table with the sides now only separated by goal difference.
Jason Brown’s anxious defensive header sent the ball out for a corner with four minutes played, but Gallagher provided the finishing touch to the setpiece, sending the ball over the line after Leon McCann’s corner had seen Callum Fordyce head the ball towards goal and in the direction of the Diamonds’ top scorer.
Former Airdrie midfielder Jack Leitch saw his 16th minute effort on goal blocked as it fell comfortably to keeper David Hutton.
A quick turn and shot by Callum Smith at the other was well taken by visiting keeper Greg Fleming.
Kurtis Roberts had come on for Dean Hawkshaw who was unable to play on after a poor challenge. Roberts’ through ball on 24 minutes saw Smith race toward goal, but Fleming was quickly out of his box to clear the danger.
Leitch was on the end of a Paddy Boyle cross into the box from the left but he could only direct his header over the bar.
In pursuit of a second on 28 minutes, Crighton was on the end of a ball into the box and while his shot was on target Fleming’s outstretched leg saved his side with the clearance falling to Kieran Millar whose 25-yard volley struck the visitors’ crossbar. Crighton followed up the rebound but was flagged offside.
Six minutes from the break Jason Brown was on the end of a Ryan Conroy delivery but squandered the chance as he headed wide from David Hutton’s goal.
Dale Carrick’s curling shot on 41 minutes went through a ruck of players with Fleming making a terrific instinctive save to send the ball away for a corner.
When the delivery came on 42 minutes, Jason Brown’s grapple hold on Crighton was spotted by the referee who instantly pointed to the spot and booked Brown. Carrick buried the spot kick to the left-hand side of Fleming’s goal.
With 45 minutes on the clock a poor two-footed challenge by Scott Brown on Carrick saw him booked for the offence. Then in stoppage time Scott Brown was on the end of some headed play by Peterhead as they fashioned a chance and he sent the ball past Hutton with power to reduce the half time deficit.
In the second half there was a very open game in which both sides adopted an attacking approach.
Five minutes after the restart Kyle MacDonald was inside the penalty box and forced Fleming to make a last-ditch save.
Paddy Boyle was wasteful on 52 minutes when he shot wide of the target from outside the box.
Within minutes Gallagher had a shot blocked while Roberts fired over the Peterhead goal, but Rory McAllister went close on 55 minutes when his right-footed shot curled towards goal only for Hutton to claw the netbound shot away as the visitors threatened to level.
Personnel changes were made but although the play swung from end to end, both sides were defending well.
With 13 minutes remaining substitute Gary Fraser’s low driven free kick whizzed past Hutton’s goal.
Good play by Gallagher on 79 minutes saw McCann send a shot toward goal which was blocked by Brown for another Airdrie corner.
A pass wide left saw a last-gasp challenge to concede a dangerous free kick on the edge of the Airdrie box. A pass to the right was followed by McAllister’s curling effort for the top corner floating just over the top to the relief of the home support.
The last action of the match saw another Roberts effort rising well over Fleming’s goal with the final whistle coming soon after.
A hard fought win and precious three points takes the Diamonds’ total for the quarter to 18 points from 24 with one game to play, next week at Cumbernauld against Clyde.
John O'Brien at the Penny Cars Stadium.
Match photography by John Steven. Click images to view full size.