Saturday November 30, 2019

Ladbrokes League One

Airdrieonians

4-0

Calum Gallagher 9

Dale Carrick 39 pen, 41

Ally Roy 83

East Fife

Calum Gallagher and Dale Carrick continued their scoring streaks as Airdrie consolidated their position at the top of League One with a thumping 4-0 win over East Fife.

The victory made it six wins in a row for the Diamonds, equalling the post-2002 record which was set in 2012.

Gallagher returned to the starting line-up after missing last week's cup win at Albion Rovers, with Ally Roy back among the substitutes, and the change paid dividends with the Diamonds top-scorer grabbing a ninth-minute opener.

Callum Smith had already had a good chance, but lost control of the ball as he lined up his shot on five minutes.

Gallagher showed his poacher's instinct when ex-Diamond Liam Watt blocked Sean Crighton's header on the line four minutes later. Gallagher was first on the scene, and although his initial header came back off Fife keeper Brett Long, he toe-poked the rebound into the roof of the net.

The visitors' first sight of goal came on 26 minutes, but Scott Agnew's shot from outside the box was easy for David Hutton.

Kyle MacDonald saw a left-footed effort blocked on the half-hour mark, but eight minutes later Airdrie had a golden opportunity when Smith raced onto a Kurtis Roberts pass only to be felled in the box by Stewart Murdoch.

Carrick stepped up to hammer the spot-kick to Long's left, and although the keeper guessed right there was enough power in the strike to see it nestle in the back of the net.

East Fife attempted to hit back immediately, but Hutton gathered Ross Davidson's effort at the second attempt.

Carrick grabbed his second and Airdrie's third only four minutes after the penalty goal, latching on to Watson's block and taking a touch before lashing a superb left-footed drive beyond Long.

Darren Young made half-time changes with Steven Boyd and Anton Dowds entering the fray, and although Watson tested Hutton with a 48th-minute shot, Airdrie were firmly in control of the match.

Smith saw a volley deflected wide on 53 minutes before MacDonald's drive was saved by Long five minutes later.

The Diamonds thought they had a fourth on the hour-mark when Roberts deftly lifted the ball over Long, but as it dropped towards goal the Fifers keeper got back to catch.

Smith was having a frustrating afternoon in front of goal, and went close again when he turned Carrick's cross into the side netting.

With eight minutes remaining Watson should have done better with his close-range header, but it was Airdrie who added their fourth of the afternoon when Smith's persistence saw the ball break to substitute Ally Roy, who sent a fine angled drive into the corner of the net.

With Falkirk and Raith Rovers both picking up wins to keep the pressure on the Diamonds, the victory was as important as it was impressive, and laid to rest the memory of the 4-1 defeat at Bayview earlier in the season.

The Diamonds now face a trip to Kirkcaldy for another huge match against second-placed Raith, with a point separating the sides.

Stuart Mathie at the Penny Cars Stadium.

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

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