Saturday April 24, 2021
SPFL League One
Brian Graham 31
Airdrie’s unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of league leaders Partick Thistle, with the width of the post denying the Diamonds a last-gasp equaliser.
There were no changes to the side which beat East Fife in midweek, with Josh Kerr returning to the Airdrie bench in place of Jack McKay.
Former Diamonds Ross Docherty and Joe Cardle lined up for Ian McCall’s Jags.
A slow start left Airdrie with a mountain to climb as Partick pressed forward from the word go, a close-range header rising over the bar inside the first minute.
Loanee Scott Tiffoney was causing problems down the Thistle left in the early stages, and a second-minute cross drifted behind before the Livingston man planted one on Zak Rudden’s head 14 minutes later, but the striker could only head over.
Shea Gordon and Docherty both threatened the Diamonds goal in the opening half-hour, and it took an unbelievable double save from Max Currie to deny Rudden and Tiffoney as the pair broke through the Airdrie defence.
Shortly after the half-hour mark Thistle did take the lead, a Tiffoney header clipping the underside of the bar and falling nicely for Brian Graham, who swept home from just inside the six-yard box.
It was no less than Thistle deserved as their play showed why they have risen to the top of the table, but Airdrie were playing well below the standards set in recent matches.
The Diamonds began to offer an attacking threat on 37 minutes, although the home side were well placed to block shots and passes around the box and the pressure fizzled out.
Currie was called into action again as Rudden raced away from his marker, the Diamonds keeper doing well to block with his feet.
Calum Gallagher held off a couple of challenges to send a low ball across goal on 40 minutes, but the pass was just behind Ally Roy.
A minute later former Partick man Roy was denied by Jamie Sneddon, who dived at the striker’s feet to paw the ball to safety after a fine through ball from Kyle Turner.
The last chance of the half fell to Gallagher, Sean Crighton flicking the ball toward the in-form striker, but a Thistle defender was on hand to nick the ball off his toes.
The home side had another good chance just after the break, Currie pulling off another acrobatic save to tip Docherty’s header over the bar.
The Diamonds began to dominate possession with a couple of tactical substitutions offering new areas of threat.
Paul McKay sent a 53rd-minute effort wide of the target before Sneddon was quick to react again, punching the ball away from the incoming Gallagher.
Currie easily held a Cardle shot on 62 minutes, and the former Airdrie winger was lucky to escape punishment for a high tackle on Turner 15 minutes later.
As the clock ticked down, play moved from end to end with McKay crowded out before Tiffoney skied a good chance well over the bar.
Airdrie threw men forward in search of an equaliser, but the home defence managed to scramble the ball to safety after a bout of head tennis in the final minute.
As the ball ricocheted around the box in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Gallagher unleashed a powerful volley which smashed off the post, illustrating once again the fine margins which have often dictated League One results.
The defeat means that only the most unlikely set of results would allow Airdrie a shot at the title, with Thistle stretching their lead at the top as Falkirk and Cove Rangers drew.
The fixtures continue to come thick and fast for Airdrie, with yet another huge match looming on Tuesday evening when Montrose visit the Penny Cars Stadium.
Stuart Mathie at Firhill Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.