January 2, 2022

cinch League 1

Dumbarton

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Airdrieonians

Dylan Easton 69

Dylan Easton’s second half strike made it a happy new year for the Diamonds, who have completed a festive schedule of three games in eight days with maximum points to show for their efforts.

It was a wet and blustery 90 minutes on a heavy pitch at Dumbarton’s moreroom.com Stadium, but a solitary strike from midfielder Easton was all it took to settle the tie - although the Diamonds will feel they should have had more.

Scott Walker came in to replace Scott McGill in the Diamonds defence in the only change from the side which beat Queen’s Park on Wednesday evening.

With Dumbarton also missing players through injury, ex-Airdrie captain Paddy Boyle lined up in the centre of defence for the Sons. Former Diamonds Paul Paton and Eoghan Stokes started in more familiar positions.

Matty McDonald had an early chance for the visitors, sending a powerful second-minute effort just wide of the target.

Walker was linking well from the left-back position, and his clever pass into the box almost found Calum Gallagher on five minutes, but Dumbarton keeper Sam Ramsbottom was alert to gather.

The home side rallied, and the impressive Carlo Pignatiello saw his cross nodded behind by Rhys McCabe before Sam Muir fired wide after an Andy Geggan shot had been charged down.

A quiet period followed with neither side able to create much in the difficult conditions.

Pignatiello shot wide after picking up a 21st-minute corner kick, but it was Kerr McInroy who drew the first save of note when he sent in a trademark left-foot drive which Ramsbottom did well to tip over the bar.

The home side were working hard to close down McInroy and Easton as the Diamonds probed at the Sons defence, with the latter reduced to a weak effort on 34 minutes.

Stokes fired over five minutes later before a moment of controversy at the end of the first half. Easton’s whipped corner from the Airdrie left was curling toward the top corner. Unchallenged, Ramsbottom could only succeed in helping the ball into the net, but referee Steven Kirkland awarded a free-kick for a foul on the goalkeeper.

The second half was similar to the first with a lack of creativity hampering both sides, although Callum Smith was unlucky with an angled strike two minutes after the restart.

Ramsbottom saved well from Easton on 55 minutes, also gathering Callum Fordyce’s head-flick from a McCabe free-kick six minutes later.

Pignatiello was unlucky with a shot which went just wide on 62 minutes, with Walker trying his luck at the other end but only able to find the side-netting.

Airdrie needed a moment of inspiration and it came on 69 minutes as McInroy drove in from the left and slipped the ball to Easton, who set himself before firing home from the edge of the area.

A routine Currie save followed before McCabe came within inches of doubling the Diamonds lead. The midfielder curled yet another superb free-kick towards goal, and with Ramsbottom beaten the ball cannoned back of the inside of the post.

Smith and Muir exchanged shots as play continued to move from end to end, but the Diamonds striker was off target and the Dumbarton man fired straight at Currie.

McCabe had another setpiece opportunity with eight minutes remaining, this time drawing a good save from Ramsbottom with a strike from midway inside the Dumbarton half.

The Sons keeper saved again from Smith as the Diamonds pushed for a second, and they could have had one in stoppage time as substitute Jordan Allan slotted home, but the whistle had already gone for a somewhat harsh foul by the striker.

Callum Smith was back helping the defence in the final minute of added time, hooking a decent effort away just inside the six-yard box.

A different type of performance to start 2022 with a Diamonds win, though with two goals disallowed the margin of victory could have been more comfortable.

Stuart Mathie at moreroom.com Stadium

Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.