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Saturday December 12, 2020

SPFL League One






Russell McLean 51


A single Russell McLean goal was enough to see Montrose leapfrog the Diamonds in the League One table as the Gable Endies came away from Airdrie with all three points.

Calum Gallagher replaced Kyle Connell in the home side’s starting line-up, and the striker looked sharp as Ian Murray’s men started the match brightly.

First linking with Thomas Robert on the right wing, Gallagher won a fifth minute corner which was cleared by the visiting defence after a tempting square header from Callum Fordyce.

Dale Carrick got on the end of a MacDonald cross four minutes later, but the ball bounced over the bar from a tight angle.

Montrose showed signs of their attacking potential when an early attack found Lewis Milne with space in the box, but Fordyce was on hand to make an important block.

Griffin Sabatini burst forward a minute later, Kerr Waddell deflecting the Swiss midfielders goalbound effort to safety.

A good spell for the visitors followed as they attacked in numbers to put pressure on the home goal, but the Diamonds defence stood firm and Max Currie saved well from Cammy Ballantyne when Stewart Petrie’s side eventually did break through the backline.

Robert attempted to deceive Allan Fleming with a powerful near-post free-kick when a cross looked likely, but the Frenchman’s effort was off-target.

Carrick and Gallagher linked well after 20 minutes, the Diamonds’ number 9 dragging his shot wide after some neat interplay.

As play ranged from end-to-end, Seán Dillon fired wildly over following a corner kick.

Midfielders McKay and Sabatini were keen to join the attack around the half-hour mark, but both saw their shots from range fail to trouble Fleming.

Montrose threatened again with five minutes of the half remaining, but McLean headed wide before Graham Webster had a shot easily saved by Currie.

Robert found Carrick in the box for the last chance of the first half, but the visiting defence surrounded the Diamonds forward and he was unable to get a shot away.

Five minutes after the restart McLean netted what turned out to be the winner, accepting a clever reverse pass and slotting past Currie while the Diamonds defence appealed for a handball in the build-up.

Webster had a golden opportunity to add a quickfire second a minute later, his angled shot whistling past the far post.

Josh Kerr saw a free-kick fly wide before good defending denied Gallagher’s attempt to put the ball on a plate for Carrick.

Airdrie’s best chance at an equaliser fell to Fordyce who sent a looping header goalward following a 59th-minute corner, but Dillon was in the right place to head off the line.

Further chances fell for the visitors as the Diamonds chased an equaliser, Currie pulling off a top save to keep Ballantyne’s shot out.

Both sides made changes late on, and Airdrie sub Kyle Connell was unlucky to see a shot blocked in his first involvement.

Andrew Steeves was the last line of defence as Airdrie threatened down the right-wing, but the full-back intercepted the danger.

The Diamonds’ final chance fell to Paul McKay, who fired over from the edge of the box on another frustrating afternoon for Airdrie.

Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.

Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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