August 21, 2021
cinch League 1
Scott Brown 81
Russell McLean 90
Rhys McCabe 24, 70 pen
Gabby McGill 75
The depleted Diamonds proved that attack is the best form of defence as they swaggered to a 3-0 lead at Peterhead before the hosts set up a nervy finish.
With injury and illness decimating his squad in the lead-up to the match, manager Ian Murray was pleased to welcome Salim Kouider-Aïssa back from injury as the striker joined new loan signing Rhys Caves on the substitutes bench.
Callum Fordyce and Matty McDonald were the only recognised defenders in the Airdrie squad, with Rhys McCabe and Scott McGill joining the pair to complete a makeshift back four.
On a wet and misty day at Balmoor, the Diamonds forward line seized control of the match early on, Calum Gallagher’s third-minute cross just too high for Gabby McGill at the far post.
McGill himself broke free of the defence four minutes later, and it took a fine double-save from Brett Long to deny him and Dylan Easton, with the ball finally breaking back to McGill who could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
Long was at full stretch to gather Scott Agnew’s free-kick on 11 minutes, before the Blue Toon’s industrious captain Scott Brown shot over after a good run from midfield.
Easton was denied by a point-blank reflex save from Long in the 20th minute, but the Diamonds took the lead four minutes later.
A free-kick on the Airdrie left was sized up by McCabe, who strode forward and curled an exquisite finish over the wall and into the top corner.
Adam Frizzell was denied by the post two minutes later as the visiting midfield continued to carve out openings.
Max Currie was in the right place to gather a close-range header from veteran striker Derek Lyle on 28 minutes, with Gallagher firing over at the other end shortly after.
Jim McInally’s side changed their shape at half-time, but it was Frizzell who forced another good save from Long in the opening minutes, firing in an angled strike which the keeper did well to tip round the post.
Niah Payne was finding good positions as the home side began to come back into the game, but the striker was unable to connect with Andrew McDonald’s wicked cross on 52 minutes.
Easton was controlling play in the middle for Airdrie, and got back to help out his defence by blocking Brown’s 57th-minute shot.
Long again saved well a minute later, this time blocking Gallagher’s shot with an outstretched boot.
On 69 minutes Easton held the ball up well before release an inch-perfect ball for Callum Smith, who nipped in front of Ryan Conroy before being felled under the former Airdrie man’s tackle. Referee Calum Scott showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and McCabe stepped up to send Long the wrong way and bag his second of the match.
Gallagher could have made it three soon after, his volley from Smith’s cross bouncing up off the turf and landing on the roof of the net.
Gabby McGill made no mistake two minutes later, accepting Gallagher’s pass and touching the ball out of Long’s reach before slotting home for his fourth goal in as many games.
With the Diamonds firmly in control, Peterhead began to throw men forward in an attempt to salvage something from the game, and the impressive Scott Brown shot just wide from range with 11 minutes remaining.
The former St Johnstone man made up for the miss two minutes later, connecting perfectly with a cross from the right to send his volley into the roof of Currie’s net.
Airdrie were in no mood to sit back and defend, and Conroy blocked well from Smith before Long denied Easton again following a short corner.
With the away victory seemingly settled, substitute Russell McLean ensured a nervy period of stoppage time as he tucked away Payne’s centre in the final minute, but Airdrie were able to see out the remaining time to claim a fantastic three points.