October 2, 2021
cinch League 1
Callum Smith 10
Calum Gallagher 57
David Goodwillie 34 pen
Airdrie finished the first quarter of the league campaign with a third successive home win - and a performance that belied the margin of victory.
Ian Murray made two changes to the side which had lost late on at Cove Rangers last weekend, Rhys McCabe returning to the centre of defence while new loanee Kerr McInroy started in midfield. Scott Agnew and Salim Kouider-Aïssa were the men to drop to the bench.
There were Diamonds connections in the Bully Wee squad with goalkeeper Neil Parry and one-time trialist Conrad Balatoni in the starting line-up, and Danny Lennon and Alan Moore in the dugout.
With the lashing rain at the Penny Cars Stadium subsiding just in time for kick-off, it was the home side who got off to a bright start, Callum Smith and Scott McGill combining to earn an early corner which Adam Frizzell caught well on the volley, but Parry made a good stop.
Clyde were next to threaten with Matthew Elsdon nodding a corner just wide on seven minutes.
Frizzell got under a Craig Watson cross two minutes later, heading well over the bar, but the deadlock was broken on ten minutes.
Watson provided another fantastic cross from the right flank, and Smith caught it perfectly to steer a right-footed volley beyond Parry and into the net.
Their tails up, Airdrie began to stream forward, and it took a good defensive header to clear Rico Quitongo’s 12th-minute cross before Smith headed just wide a minute later.
Calum Gallagher tried his luck from 40 yards with a looping strike which caught out Parry but was just too high.
Dylan Easton was clearly in the mood against his former club, and some impressive trickery down the right resulted in a 15th-minute pass to Frizzell, who fired inches over the bar.
McInroy showed signs that he had settled quickly, combining with Gallagher to work space for a 20th-minute shot, but Parry was down quickly to save well from the Celtic loanee.
Airdrie looked to have a good penalty shout midway through the half as Smith was wrestled to the ground, but the referee waved play on.
Smith, enjoying his more familiar centre-forward position, forced another save from Parry on the half-hour mark but it was Clyde who had the opportunity to equalise three minutes later.
A long ball forward found Rob Jones in the box, and although his chipped effort was cleared off the line, his momentum took him over the leg of Josh Kerr and referee Chris Graham pointed to the spot.
David Goodwillie was clinical from the spot, sending Max Currie the wrong way to level the scores.
The equaliser sparked Clyde into life, and a Currie save on 36 minutes fell for Paul Kennedy, whose header was nodded off the line by McCabe.
McCabe was called into action again two minutes later, producing a fine sliding tackle to dispossess Jones in the box.
Clyde were fortunate not to lose the services of Ross Cunningham five minutes before the break as the forward saw yellow for a reckless challenge on McInroy.
On the stroke of half-time Goodwillie squandered a good opportunity after beating Currie to a long ball, and the sides went in level at the break.
The half-time score didn’t reflect Airdrie’s attacking play which was superb at times, and the Diamonds clearly set out to settle the score after the interval, Easton forcing Parry into a fine diving save after 48 minutes.
Frizzell saw a shot deflected behind two minutes later before McInroy’s vicious 50th-minute effort went over the bar.
Gallagher had an effort deflected wide after McGill’s surging run, and Parry once again denied Frizzell before saving from Smith on 53 minutes.
The Diamonds were not to be denied much longer however, and Easton’s quick feet in the box saw him beat two defenders before squaring for the unmarked Gallagher, who doesn’t miss from such close range.
Airdrie had another penalty claim denied just after the hour-mark as McGill drove forward and went down under a challenge just inside the box, and the visitors’ reply failed to threaten Currie as substitute Gregory Tade and Barry Cuddihy both missed the target.
Matthew Elsdon saw a glancing header go wide with nine minutes remaining, but Parry was called upon again four minutes later as he once again denied Smith, this time with his feet.
The keeper saved at the feet of Frizzell in the final action of the match, which was typical of a performance which undoubtedly kept the scoreline respectable in a sparkling display from the Diamonds.
The result sees Airdrie move up to fourth in the table, and depending on the result in tomorrow’s final fixture, Ian Murray’s men could finish the first quarter in a play-off position.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.