August 7, 2021
cinch League 1
Ryan McGeever 80
Andy Geggan 87
Gabby McGill 17
Rhys McCabe 49 pen
Dumbarton fought back from two down to earn a home draw against Airdrie after former Son Sam Wardrop’s sending off.
The Diamonds had scored in each half and were comfortably in control of the match played in lashing rain at the C&G Systems Stadium, but the match turned on its head following a second yellow for Wardrop with 30 minutes remaining.
Ian Murray made changes to his side’s shape and personnel after last weekend’s defeat to Montrose, with Josh Kerr and Salim Kouider-Aïssa missing out through injury and Scott Agnew, Matty McDonald and Scott McGill named among the substitutes.
Sam Wardrop, Dylan Easton, Callum Smith, Adam Frizzell and Gabby McGill were the players to come in for the Diamonds, who lined up with an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
It was the home side who started brightly, buoyed by a 3-0 opening day win over Clyde.
Max Currie got down well to parry a powerful angled strike from the left with full-back Edin Lynch firing over at the back post after three minutes.
Rico Quitongo, one of five former Dumbarton players in the Airdrie XI, bravely charged down a Connor Duthie shot two minutes later.
Airdrie retaliated through Rhys McCabe, who got his ninth-minute free-kick on target, but Dumbarton keeper Callum Erskine punched behind. From the resultant corner McGill almost steered home a backheel flick, but the audacious effort was blocked on the line.
The Diamonds were starting to find their feet, the control and passing of Easton and Frizzell linking play well in the forward areas. Smith went close with a 20-yard strike after one such move.
On 18 minutes the visitors took the lead, captain Callum Fordyce swinging in a fine crossfield pass for McGill, and the English strike rose to loop a header past Erskine and into the net.
McGill looked lively upfront, and his low 21st-minute effort was palmed out by Erskine with the angle beating Smith at the back post.
Airdrie’s domination continued, but Kalvin Orsi should have done better for Stevie Farrell’s side five minutes later, getting on the end of a quick break but steering his shot wide.
Wardrop was cautioned for a late challenge on 27 minutes, but Lynch was adjudged to have won the ball cleanly when Frizzell went down under his challenge in the box four minutes later.
Calum Gallagher came close to adding a second for the Diamonds eight minutes before half-time, his shot from the edge of the area cleared off the line before McCabe saw a long-range effort deflected over.
Ryan McGeever was alert to get a good blocking header in as Airdrie threatened again, with Frizzell firing wide from distance in the last action of the first half.
The second half was only three minutes old when Airdrie were awarded a penalty, McGill getting onto a Frizzell pass and beating Erskine to the ball only for the keeper to stick out a leg and send the striker sprawling.
McCabe stepped up to slot the ball confidently home, sending Erskine the wrong way with a well-struck spot-kick.
Easton was next to threaten for the Diamonds, firing in an acrobatic volley which Erskine punched into the air before clutching the ball as it looked set to spin over the line.
Ross McLean tried to catch out Currie with a 55th-minute free-kick, but the keeper was alert to the danger and held the ball well.
Easton had a similar effort at the other end, but the Airdrie man’s dead-ball struck the defensive wall and went behind.
The match’s big talking point came after 59 minutes as MacLean and Wardrop both stretched for a 50/50 challenge on the touchline. Referee Barry Cook blew for a foul and was immediately surrounded by Dumbarton players as MacLean rolled around on the ground in front of the disgruntled Airdrie support.
A melee ensued with Airdrie’s players clearly unhappy at the home side’s attempts to have Wardrop sent off, and when the dust settled referee Cook did indeed produce a second yellow card, and subsequent red, for the defender.
Quitongo and Dumbarton sub Andy Geggan were also booked for going head to head in the aftermath of the incident.
McLean, having recovered from his injury, fired in a free-kick which cleared the perimeter fence with Currie then booked for timewasting as the replacement ball bounced off his foot and behind.
Smith shot just wide as both sides made substitutes in an attempt to manage the difference in numbers.
Gabby McGill again showed his impressive workrate on 80 minutes, heading clear a knock-on from a Dumbarton free-kick.
The hosts got a goal back from the resultant corner, McGeever rising highest to power home a header.
Encouraged by their goal, Dumbarton began to press for an equaliser, but MacLean headed well wide of the target on 84 minutes.
Three minutes later it was all square, Geggan’s drive from the edge of the box taking a slight deflection which wrongfooted Currie, who could only watch as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Deep in stoppage time the Sons had a golden opportunity to take all three points, but Airdrie’s defensive wall stood strong to block a dangerous free-kick.
A disappointing outcome for the Diamonds who looked well in control for large parts of the match, but some slick attacking play before the sending-off will encourage Ian Murray’s troops ahead of next week’s home tie against Falkirk.
Stuart Mathie at C&G Systems Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.