November 6, 2021
cinch League 1
Dylan Easton 44
Kerr McInroy 57
Callum Smith 64
Max Currie 90+1 OG
Airdrie moved to the top of the cinch League 1 table as three superb goals handed the Diamonds a 3-1 home win over Peterhead.
Dylan Easton’s strike at the end of the first half set the ball rolling before Kerr McInroy and Callum Smith both added well-taken lobbed finishes after the break to put Ian Murray’s side in a commanding position.
Although a rare mistake from Max Currie handed the Blue Toon a consolation in stoppage time, it did nothing to take the gloss off of a good win which sees the Diamonds top the table.
Scott Walker and Scott Agnew came into the starting line-up for the home side, with McGills Scott and Gabby making way.
Following a poignant remembrance ceremony Airdrie got the game underway, but it was the visitors who were first to threaten as Hamish Ritchie’s free-kick just evaded Russell McLean at the back after two minutes.
A fourth-minute Calum Gallagher effort was deflected into the arms of Peterhead keeper Brett Long, before another deflection foiled McInroy four minutes later.
Currie claimed a looping header well on 12 minutes, with Long plucking another McInroy effort out of the air shortly after.
Airdrie’s play was methodical as they dominated possession, but a well organised Peterhead side were offering no way through to goal.
McInroy’s thrusting runs were causing problems, and he had the ball in the net in the 27th-minute only for referee Steven Reid to rule out the goal for a foul in the build-up.
In a game with plenty of robust challenges, Andrew McCarthy will have been relieved to only see yellow after a lunge on the far touchline on the half-hour mark.
Adam Frizzell was next to go close for the Diamonds, firing over from range on 35 minutes.
The impressive Josh Mulligan finished in a similar fashion at the other end after picking the ball up at a tight angle to the back post.
With a minute of the half remaining Airdrie got the breakthrough, and it was the talismanic figure of Dylan Easton who showed the dogged side of his game before letting his fancy footwork take over.
Robbed of possession outside the box, the midfielder showed great determination to win the ball back with the help of Frizzell, then jinked into the box and outside Jason Brown before firing in a shot which took a slight touch from the defender before nestling in the back of the net.
There was almost time for Easton to produce a carbon copy of the move before the break, this time accepting a pass after a terrific run by Gallagher and cutting the ball back, but on this occasion Brown headed clear.
Five minutes after the restart Gallagher passed up a golden opportunity to double the Diamonds lead, a wonderful touch and pass from Smith leaving the goal gaping for the striker, but sliding in at the back post he somehow managed to play the ball back across and Long gathered.
Smith fired straight at Long four minutes later, but it wasn’t long before Airdrie had the second goal their play merited.
A 57th-minute Craig Watson cross was flicked on by Gallagher, and while the visiting defence waited for Long to collect, McInroy nipped in front of the keeper and lobbed the ball home with the deftest of touches.
Mulligan should have done better six minutes later, having time and space at the back to place his shot, but the Dundee loanee fired wildly high and wide.
Jim McInally’s side were punished a minute later as Airdrie grabbed a third, a long ball forward from Currie touched on by Gallagher with Smith latching on to the headflick and placing a fine finish over Long, whose touch wasn’t enough to stop the lob finding the target.
Grant Savoury fired straight at Currie two minutes later, before Watson almost saw his cross from the right sneaking in as it was missed by everyone except Long, who did well to turn it behind.
Having almost made a comeback from the same scoreline in the reverse fixture, Peterhead were unlikely to give up the ghost, and McLean went close with a curling effort on 73 minutes which came back off the crossbar.
With the Blue Toon chasing the game, gaps were appearing at the back and Callum Fordyce could only watch on as his 75th-minute header was blocked on the line before Frizzell sent a stinging drive just wide a minute later.
Currie saved well from Mulligan on 77 minutes, but it was the visitors who had to make another goal-line clearance as McInroy almost added to his first Airdrie goal with eight minutes remaining.
Veteran Derek Lyle hooked a late effort over the bar, but the visitors did get a goal in stoppage time, McDonald lobbing the ball forward from inside his own half. There was too much on the pass for the chasing strikers, but instead of catching the ball Currie chose to control with his feet, and the ball rolled under his boot with the merest touch of the keeper’s studs seeing him credited with an unfortunate own goal.
Nonetheless, the final whistle combined with a flurry of late goals in the other matches signalled an important win for the Diamonds as they sit atop the cinch League 1 table.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.