Tuesday April 6, 2021

SPFL League One

Airdrieonians

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2-1

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Ally Roy 9
Dale Carrick 81 pen

Falkirk

Charlie Telfer 35

The Diamonds put their poor form behind them with a superb victory over league leaders Falkirk.

While Thursday’s 1-0 victory at Dumbarton may have been a case of “winning ugly”, this was anything but.

Captain Sean Crighton returned to the Airdrie line-up following suspension, alongside Thursday’s goalscorer Ally Roy. Scott Walker and Dale Carrick were the players to make way.

Airdrie took the lead with the first meaningful chance of the game, although the end-to-end nature of the opening minutes paved the way for an exciting match.

On-form Roy’s ninth-minute opener had echoes of last season’s late winner at the Falkirk Stadium, with a long throw from Paul McKay being flicked on by Callum Fordyce for Calum Gallagher to turn the ball toward goal. This time Robbie Mutch got both hands to the ball, but the Falkirk keeper could only palm it into the path of Roy who did well to convert.

Roy almost got in for a second just two minutes later, trying to nick a headed passback away from the keeper but Mutch was sharp to collect.

Callumn Morrison looked dangerous on the left flank for the hosts, and set up a back-post header on 13 minutes which was gratefully gathered by Max Currie.

Aidan Keena was next to have a go for the visitors, pulling a decent strike just wide of the target.

The impressive Euan O’Reilly did well to beat his man on 17 minutes, but Jack McKay blasted the winger’s square pass over the bar.

Roy was clearly in the mood, and only a good intervention from Lewis Neilson prevented the striker bearing down on goal before he went close again with an angled effort.

Airdrie’s back three were defending well when called upon, Fordyce cutting out threatening passes and Crighton dominant in the air.

Falkirk began to come into the game more as the half wore on, and Currie was well placed to gather a Ben Hall header just after the half-hour.

Airdrie were unlucky not to grab a second with Mutch making two outstanding saves in a minute, first from Paul McKay then from a Gallagher volley.

Having weathered the pressure, the visitors grabbed an equaliser on 35 minutes, Telfer finishing well from the edge of a packed penalty area after a cross from the left was only partially cleared.

Mutch denied Jack McKay a minute later before Falkirk midfielder Kai Fotheringham was booked for a clear dive in the Airdrie box.

Fotheringham had plenty of space on the left on the stroke of half-time, but failed to connect cleanly with his shot and the first half ended level.

There was no change in the intensity of the match after the break, with play continuing to range from end to end.

Mutch made another fine diving save to keep out an O’Reilly strike before penalty claims at either ended were waved away by referee Colin Steven.

Roy turned well on the corner of the box before firing straight at Mutch on 56 minutes, but three minutes later the visitors did have a penalty after a push by Paul McKay. Up stepped Keena, who struck his spot-kick with venom, but Currie got down to make a fantastic save.

The visitors continued to push, Morrison and Hall both missing half chances before the line-ups were changed by multiple substitutions.

With ten minutes remaining O’Reilly broke into the Falkirk box again only to be tripped by Paul Dixon, and referee Steven pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Diamonds sub Dale Carrick to rifle home a superb penalty, Mutch guessing correctly but unable to prevent the power and accuracy of the strike taking it into the back of the net to give Airdrie the lead.

Falkirk threw men forward in an attempt to salvage a point, but Fordyce, Crighton and McKay were unflappable at the back as player-manager Lee Miller conceded a succession of fouls which killed the game and handed Airdrie a vital win.

With all the other games in the division ending in draws, the Diamonds moved up to fourth-place with another huge match at Links Park looming on Saturday.

Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.

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