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Saturday February 15, 2020

Ladbrokes League One





Andy Ryan 3

Paul McKay 30



Airdrie rediscovered the scoring touch as they recorded a comfortable victory over Lanarkshire rivals Clyde.


Two first half goals from Andy Ryan, his first since returning to the Diamonds, and Paul McKay ensured that Ian Murray’s side returned to winning ways and inflicted a third defeat over Clyde in four meetings this season.


There were two changes from the starting line-up at Dumbarton with Josh Kerr replacing Sean Crighton while Paul McKay was in for Calum Gallagher.


The match was only two minutes old when Andy Ryan’s pressure on Ray Grant inside the box led to the defender passing the ball back to goalkeeper David Mitchell, who dived and took the ball with his hands. A free-kick was awarded seven yards out with the whole of the Clyde side parked on their goal line. Callum Smith stood over the ball and rolled it to Ryan who smashed it past keeper David Mitchell for the opener after just three minutes. The perfect start to end the goal drought.  


With the wind at their backs Airdrie were looking for a second and Paul McKay could easily have had a first half hat-trick. With 12 minutes gone he powered in a 30-yard effort which clipped the Clyde crossbar on the way over the top, then kicked at fresh air two minutes later in front of goal after Ryan had stretched to head back a Kyle MacDonald back post cross.


On 17 minutes, Kieran Millar followed up after Mitchell punched the ball clear from a cross into the box, but the midfielder got under his attempt at goal as the ball fell comfortably back to the keeper. 


Ryan went close to a second after good work by Innes Murray, taking the on-loan Hibernian midfielder’s pass then drilling a low shot which Mitchell took cleanly.


A minute later Ryan was out on the touchline backheeling a pass from Leon McCann for the full-back to run down the line then fire over a terrific cross which was just beyond the best effort of Smith as he slid in to try and connect with the ball. 


After half an hour McKay made - then scored - Airdrie’s second goal. He powered through Clyde midfield then slid a pass wide to Smith, who sent in a powerful shot after carrying the ball towards goal. Goalkeeper Mitchell could only push the ball back out and there was McKay following in to pass the ball into the net.


MacDonald had an effort that was too high with seven minutes of the half to play, and as they headed for the break with a two-goal advantage, the question was how Airdrie would fare with the elements against them.    


After the break, despite the advantage of the winds at their backs, Clyde were able to enjoy more possession but were being closed down quickly by their opposite numbers.


Airdrie actually had the first chance of the second half on the 56 minute-mark when the lively Ryan was on the end of a throw-in but could only send his shot wide of Mitchell’s goal.


Two minutes later Clyde had their first real chance of the match when David Goodwillie shot for goal, but Gallacher saved instinctively. 


On the hour mark Adam Livingstone failed to test the Airdrie keeper, sending a 20-yard shot wide to the left of the goal.


Clyde were getting frustrated as their build-up was producing little, while Ross Cunningham went into the book for a pull on McCann after 61 minutes, then was fortunate with a poor challenge on Josh Kerr minutes later.


Smith rose to meet a 65th minute delivery by McCann into box, but he could only head wide of goal.


In 68 minutes, Clyde had a great chance to reduce the deficit when top scorer Goodwillie was clean through and into the box, but goalkeeper Scott Gallacher stood tall to block the shot and send the ball away for a corner. Four minutes later the striker headed a cross from the right wide of the target. 


With the game moving into the final ten minutes, Airdrie appeared to have nullified Clyde’s attacking threat. Ryan volleyed wide of their goal with a snapshot on 81 minutes, while Smith rose to meet a fine cross from MacDonald on the right but sent the ball well over the goal.


Calum Gallagher was barely on the park, in stoppage time, when a well driven free-kick by Kerr was pushed out by Mitchell and the substitute could only knock the ball back into the keeper’s arms.


A routine win in the end using the conditions well, and adapting to playing against them just as effectively for all three points.

John O'Brien at the Penny Cars Stadium.

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

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