October 23, 2021
cinch League 1
Rhys McCabe 8 pen
Dylan Easton 90
Salim Kouider-Aïssa 90+6
Ross MacLean 25
Paul Paton 90+4
Late drama doesn’t even begin to describe the events of Airdrie's 3-2 win over Dumbarton in a match packed with talking points and a chaotic ending.
The Penny Cars Stadium was no place for the faint-hearted as the Diamonds and the Sons played out a match with four red cards, a last-minute goal, a stoppage-time equaliser - and a stoppage-time winner.
Craig Watson replaced Scott Walker in the only change to the side which had beaten Falkirk 3-0 away from home last weekend, with former Dumbarton players Dylan Easton and Adam Frizzell lining up for the hosts.
Stevie Farrell’s Sons XI included ex-Diamonds Gregor Buchanan, Paddy Boyle and Paul Paton.
The first real action of the match got Airdrie off to a flyer. Callum Smith cut in from the right flank only to be clipped by Buchanan as he entered the box.
Referee Scott Lambie showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Rhys McCabe stepped up to thump a superb spot-kick beyond Sam Ramsbottom with eight minutes on the clock.
Dumbarton almost had an instant reply through young striker Ryan Schiavone, who nipped in to intercept Josh Kerr’s attempted passback. The debutant lifted the ball over Max Currie, but the home defence were relieved to see the effort drift past the post.
Callum Smith was unlucky not to get a touch on Frizzell’s diagonal pass on 14 minutes, but Ramsbottom was out smartly to gather.
Ross MacLean fired over with the goal gaping as a 16th-minute shot fell kindly for the midfielder at the far post, and Frizzell showed great skill at the other end to feed Easton six minutes later only for a crude foul to bring the move to an end.
Currie had to be alert on 23 minutes, punching clear a spinning ball from a good Airdrie block as Dumbarton pushed for the equaliser.
The Sons were rewarded for their endeavour two minutes later, a corner kick only partially cleared and returned into the danger area, eventually falling for MacLean who finished well.
With the visitors in the ascendancy, Joe McKee was unlucky to see the bounce take his downward header over Currie’s bar on the half-hour mark.
Airdrie withstood further pressure from the overloaded Sons midfield, and Frizzell was unlucky with a dipping effort three minutes before the break.
A booking for Andy Geggan on the stroke of half-time would prove costly later, as would Buchanan’s for his complaints about the penalty award.
Dumbarton started the second half strongly, but Callum Wilson’s 54th-minute effort was tame and Currie gathered easily.
Three minutes later referee Lambie was pointing to the spot again as Easton went over on the edge of the box. Dumbarton’s players were incensed with the award, and scorer MacLean went too far with his protests, earning a straight red card.
With MacLean protesting his innocence long after his dismissal, the distractions may have played a part in McCabe’s approach to the spot-kick, with his stuttering run giving Ramsbottom time to guess right and produce a fine save.
With a numerical advantage the Diamonds began to probe in search of a winner, but Smith was denied by the linesman’s flag as he poked home the loose ball after Ramsbottom had saved well from Easton.
The Dumbarton keeper was on form again three minutes later, palming away Frizzell’s effort before the visiting defence cleared a superb Scott McGill cross.
Ramsbottom saved again on 76 minutes, this time from a Kerr McInroy drive before Airdrie introduced Salim Kouider-Aïssa with ten minutes remaining.
Easton fired just wide a minute later, with Ramsbottom booked for time-wasting at the resultant goal-kick. The yellow cards were mounting up for the Sons, setting up a chaotic finale.
Former Diamonds loanee Paton sent a header spinning wide of the target with six minutes to play, and Calum Gallagher went close with an 85th-minute header.
Jordan Allan entered the fray and his first involvement saw him being tugged back by Buchanan, who saw a second yellow card followed by the obligatory red.
In the final minute an Airdrie corner was cleared out for a throw, which was returned into the box and headed clear. Up stepped Dylan Easton to lash a superb strike into the top corner from 18-yards. It was a goal worthy of winning any match, and with only stoppage time left it looked sure to have secured the points for the Diamonds.
Two minutes into stoppage time substitute Conner Duthie sent in a free-kick which Boyle could only head wide.
A minute later another cross was taken by Currie, with Geggan unceremoniously clattering into the keeper - which earned the former Ayr United man a second yellow card, reducing Dumbarton to eight men.
Unbelievably the Sons weren’t done yet, and a 94th-minute cross was deflected into the path of Paton who rifled home the unlikeliest of equalisers.
There was, however, another twist to the tale. Late pressure led to an Airdrie corner kick, with the cross from the right finding Callum Fordyce. The Diamonds skipper headed the ball towards the back post, and although Ramsbottom looked favourite to gather, Kouider-Aïssa was first to the ball to send an angled header into the corner of the net.
There was still time for a fourth red card for the visitors, this time for manager Stevie Farrell, but the Diamonds faithful were still cheering an unbelievable winner when the full-time whistle finally sounded.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.