December 29, 2021
cinch League 1
Kerr McInroy 71
Airdrie brought 2021 to a close with a home win over Queen’s Park, with Kerr McInroy’s stunner handing the Diamonds a vital three points.
Both squads were depleted going into the match, with Adam Frizzell joining Airdrie’s absentee list after missing out through illness. Matty McDonald was the replacement in midfield.
Ex-Diamonds Lee Kilday and Bob McHugh started for the visitors.
The match took a while to get going with fouls, bookings and injuries disrupting the opening period, the unfortunate Stuart Morrison withdrawn after only eight minutes for the Spiders.
McInroy had the first decent chance for Airdrie, linking well down the left with Scott McGill and finding himself in a similar position to which he’d scored Sunday’s wonder-goal against Alloa Athletic. This time the midfielder opted to drive into the box, but the visitors managed to close down the shot.
Although Laurie Ellis’s side were packing the defensive midfield area and pressing well, Airdrie stroked the ball about well at times, Watson forcing young keeper Jacques Heraghty to palm a cross away from Calum Gallagher on 18 minutes.
The keeper fielded a curling McGill effort a minute later, and Calum Gallagher was denied on 22 minutes after controlling Smith’s cross but finding the big frame of Heraghty blocking his attempted lob.
Gallagher went close again with a headed effort two minutes later.
Rhys McCabe surged out of defence after 25 minutes, sending a stinging long-range drive just over the bar.
The Diamonds were beginning to turn the screw, but Heraghty stood up to Dylan Easton’s 26th-minute shot after the midfielder had showed great control and balance in the box.
Easton had a cross turned behind on the half-hour mark before sending a 42nd-minute strike over the bar from outside the box.
Chances had been at a premium for Queen’s Park, but McHugh almost opened the scoring against the run of play a minute before the interval, veering to the right before sending an angled drive just wide of the post.
The visitors changed things up at half-time, striker Jai Quitongo joining the fray as the Hampden men attempted to get a foothold in the game.
Referee Chris Fordyce played a good advantage on 48 minutes, allowing play to continue after a bad foul on Easton, but Callum Smith’s effort was tipped over the bar by Heraghty.
Kilday went close at the other end, sending a header just over the bar after a setpiece on the right of the box.
Play opened up for McDonald on 62-minutes, and although there was plenty of power behind the youngster’s effort, it flew just wide of the target.
Callum Fordyce charged down a Grant Gillespie shot six minutes later, before Jack Thomson saw yellow for a trip on McInroy.
On 71 minutes Kilday nodded Easton’s effort behind, setting the stage for McInroy’s superb winner.
Fordyce was beaten to Scott Agnew’s corner, but the ball broke for McDonald who squared to McInroy. Sidestepping his man, the in-form midfielder sent a rasping 25-yard strike into the bottom corner of Heraghty’s goal to open the scoring.
Quitongo was cautioned for a tackle from behind on Agnew before seeing a low cross cleared by McCabe on 79 minutes.
Agnew was in the wars again a minute later, this time taking a high boot from Thomson, who was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red.
Airdrie should have doubled their lead on 83 minutes, but there were no takers for Gallagher’s low pass across the face of goal.
With further substitutions and a booking for Luca Connell breaking up the remaining minutes, Airdrie maintained control to ensure a happy new year for the Diamonds fans.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size.