Saturday December 5, 2020
SPFL League One
Jack Hamilton 30, 56
East Fife ran out 2-0 winners as a double from on-loan Livingston striker Jack Hamilton condemned Airdrie to a disappointing defeat.
Kyle MacDonald returned to the Diamonds starting line-up following a hamstring strain, with Kyle Connell also recovering from a knock to start upfront ahead of Calum Gallagher. Ex-Airdrie men Ryan Wallace and Ross Davidson featured for the Fifers, with Liam Watt on the bench for Darren Young’s side.
Connell had a decent chance to put the visitors in front after 12 minutes, connecting with MacDonald’s cross from the right, but the Kilmarnock loanee was only able to turn the ball wide from a tight angle. Hamilton gave an early indication of the danger he would pose when he headed over from close range five minutes later. Thomas Robert’s recent performances saw him attract some close attention from the East Fife midfield, but his close control saw him break free on 20 minutes only to be cynically tripped by Chris Higgins, who received a yellow card for his trouble.
Robert almost hit the headlines again with a venomous free-kick from the left side of the East Fife box. With Fife keeper Brett Long beaten, the strike crashed off the underside of the bar and spun off the goal-line to safety.
The home side’s high press was reaping rewards as they closed down Airdrie clearances, with Max Currie almost made to pay on 27 minutes, but the Diamonds defence recovered to get the block in.
Two minutes later East Fife took the lead and it was a carbon copy of Hamilton’s earlier chance as he rose to meet a well-hit cross from the right. This time the striker hit the target, and the Fifers took the lead.
Wallace had a good chance to double the lead minutes later, but snatched at his shot and sent the ball well wide.
Joining the attack for a setpiece, Diamonds captain Sean Crighton was unlucky to find Long in good form just before half-time, bulleting a header toward the bottom corner on to see the keeper pull off a superb stop.
The Methil men ended a scrappy first half with another good chance, another good cross into the box being met by a header which went just wide of the post.
Robert felt hard done by early in the second half as he jinked through the home defence only to see his run ended by a bodycheck on the edge of the area, but referee Scott Lambie waved play on.
Hamilton got his second of the match 11 minutes into the half, blocking a Crighton clearance and getting the break of the ball before calmly slotting past Currie.
The Diamonds keeper saved well from substitute Danny Denholm two minutes later before Josh Kerr saw a powerful angled effort blocked.
Airdrie sub Craig Thomson saw his strike deflected behind for a corner with 15 minutes remaining, and Long showed safe hands again as he gathered a Callum Fordyce header.
Griffin Sabatini burst into the box as the clock ticked down, but again the home defence were in the right place to deflect the midfielder’s effort behind.
Wallace saw a powerful strike sail over the bar in the final action of a frustrating match for Ian Murray’s side, with fellow top-four sides Cove Rangers and Partick Thistle also dropping points. With the Diamonds now level on points with Montrose, next week’s home match against the Gable Endies becomes a hugely significant one.
Stuart Mathie at Locality Hub Bayview Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.