November 20, 2021
cinch League 1
Mitch Megginson 79
Fraser Fyvie 82
Airdrie suffered another late defeat to Cove Rangers as Paul Hartley’s men leapfrogged the Diamonds to top the cinch League 1 table.
Ian Murray went with the same starting XI which had registered a comfortable win at East Fife last weekend, although the return of Luke Lyons and Gabby McGill boosted the manager’s options from the bench.
Cove named a strong attacking line-up with in-form strikers Mitch Megginson and Rory McAllister leading the line, while ex-Diamonds Kyle Gourlay and Leighton McIntosh were among the substitutes.
A cagey first half saw the visitors enjoy more attacking possession, although play was often broken up by a series of fouls and cautions.
Blair Yule made an early break down the right, but Rhys McCabe read the situation well and cleared the danger.
On four minutes it was Cove’s turn to defend as a vital touch prevented Adam Frizzell’s through-ball reaching Calum Gallagher after good work by Callum Smith.
Jamie Masson forced Max Currie to beat away a wicked strike from the corner of the box after seven minutes, before McAllister sent an angled header just over the bar five minutes later.
Airdrie moved the ball well around the Cove area on 13 minutes, but a well marshalled defence forced Dylan Easton to shoot from range, with goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie fielding the midfielder’s right-footed effort.
Bookings for Quitongo and Frizzell followed, both of which appeared somewhat harsh.
Cove almost handed the Diamonds a goal just after the half-hour mark, firing a clearance straight at Easton who fed Smith, but McKenzie responded with a good save from the striker’s angled shot.
With half-time approaching three Cove players were also booked and the Airdrie wall stood firm to keep out a McAllister free-kick.
Smith had another decent chance in first-half stoppage time, McInroy doing well to keep the ball alive at the back and feeding the forward, who carried the ball half the length of the park before his shot was charged down.
Three minutes after the restart McKenzie once again had to atone for his own error as he controlled a passback and passed the ball straight to Easton, who advanced into the box and drew a fine diving save from the Cove keeper.
Currie did well to hold a curling free-kick effort three minutes later before McKenzie was once again the hero, Easton’s corner nodded across the box by Callum Fordyce with the big keeper throwing a hand up just as Gallagher looked set to convert.
Their tails up, Airdrie began to bombard the visitors goal and only some last-ditch defending prevented the Diamonds grabbing an opener, McInroy closed down well before regaining possession and feeding Gallagher who was denied by a flying block from Jevan Anderson.
On 62 minutes McInroy saw a header blocked before Cove broke up the park and McAllister could only head wide after Fordyce got enough of a touch on Yule’s cross to distract the striker.
Yule was denied by Currie’s outstretched leg after 73 minutes with Neil blocking Easton’s effort at the other end four minutes later.
With eleven minutes remaining the visitors took the lead, a deep cross from the left skewing off the head of Fordyce and falling for Yule, who centred the ball to the unmarked Megginson, who nodded home from six yards.
As Airdrie regrouped, Cove Rangers secured the win with a second, Harry Milne accepting the return from his throw-in and darting past the full-back before picking out substitute Fraser Fyvie who tapped in from close range.
The Cove defence, who had been impressive throughout, dealt with a late attacking overload from the Diamonds and saw out time to secure a big win and a move to the top of the table.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.