Saturday April 10, 2021
SPFL League One
Cammy F Ballantyne 30
Sean Crighton OG 45+1
Calum Gallagher 51
Aaron Lennox OG 90+4
The Diamonds came from two down to grab a dramatic late draw in Montrose, with three out of four strikes being credited as own goals.
Manager Ian Murray made one change to the side which beat Falkirk on Tuesday night, winning goalscorer Dale Carrick returning to the starting line-up with Dean Ritchie making way.
With both sides being high in the goal charts at either end, an afternoon of goals could have been expected, but nobody could predict the manner in which they would come. The first 45 minutes was an open affair with neither team proving particularly incisive, but Montrose found themselves two goals to the good at the interval.
The hosts had the first efforts on goal with Lewis Milne sending a shot wide before Max Currie punched a decent Chris Mochrie cross away from danger.
Ally Roy got in behind to pick up a searching Leon McCann pass on ten minutes, but his marker recovered well to block the shot.
Aaron Lennox showed safe hands to gather Jack McKay’s cross a minute later, before the ball broke kindly to Cammy Ballantyne who shot wide from close range.
Roy and Terry Masson traded strikes which were both over the bar before Montrose took the lead on the half-hour mark.
Cammy F Ballantyne picked up a square pass 25 yards from goal and feigned a strike to make space for himself before unleashing a fine finish into the bottom corner. It was the first real piece of quality in the match, and gave the hosts the advantage as the snow began to fall in Angus.
Milne shot wide five minutes later before Carrick had an effort deflected over the bar.
Roy and Carrick were taking up good positions, but the home defence were well organised, Andrew Steeves’ touch preventing Roy’s cross finding his team-mate.
On the stroke of half time Graham Webster did well to keep the ball in play on the Montrose right, and his hopeful low cross was turned into the Airdrie net by Crighton.
The Diamonds had it all to do after the break, but Carrick gave an early indication of their determination by holding off a challenge to send in a dipping 49th-minute effort which struck the bar.
Two minutes later the Diamonds had one back, Kyle Turner’s corner bouncing around the box before being headed home by Calum Gallagher, with the goal incorrectly credited as a McLean OG.
Gallagher should have had a penalty kick six minutes later, being wrestled to the ground as he leapt to connect with Euan O’Reilly’s cross, but referee Peter Stuart wasn’t interested.
Roy saw another effort fly over the bar, the striker’s recent scoring form deserting him on this occasion.
Gallagher and Turner both went close as the Diamonds took the game to their hosts.
A short spell of Montrose pressure followed, but it was only a matter of time before Airdrie were laying siege to Lennox’s goal again, Paul McKay and substitute Kyle Connell threatening midway through the second half.
Lennox saved well from Connell who had shown good strength to make space for himself on 76 minutes, before fellow sub Craig Thomson saw an angled strike deflected behind.
Carrick forced a last-ditch block with ten minutes remaining, and the forward could only dig the rebound over the bar.
As Airdrie continued to press, Lennox made a fine diving save to deny Thomson. Montrose briefly played keep-ball in the corner as the game ticked into stoppage time, but the Diamonds persistence paid off as Sean Crighton found himself in an unfamiliar right-wing role four minutes into stoppage time. From the skipper’s looping ball into the middle, Lennox could only palm the ball up in the air, and it dropped into the net to give Airdrie a well deserved draw.
With all of the other top-half sides winning, Airdrie drop back to sixth in the table - but it’s tighter than ever with just four points separating third and seventh. Managerless Forfar Athletic are next up for the Diamonds on Tuesday evening.
NOTE: Airdrie's first goal was later reviewed and correctly awarded to Calum Gallagher.