January 8, 2022
cinch League 1
Jordan Allan 3
Adam Frizzell 17
Dylan Easton 43
Airdrie made it four wins and three clean sheets on the bounce as an excellent first half settled a 3-0 home win over East Fife.
The Diamonds were without manager Ian Murray, who watched from home as he isolates following a positive Covid test. Scott Agnew led the team from the middle of the park, with Bryan Prunty in the dug-out. There were three changes for the home side, Scott McGill and Adam Frizzell returning from illness to replace Scott Walker and Matty McDonald, with Jordan Allan coming in for Calum Gallagher upfront.
Ex-Diamonds Scott Gallacher and Ryan Wallace started for the visitors under new manager Stevie Crawford.
Boosted by three festive wins, Airdrie started confidently and it took only three minutes to break the deadlock.
Dylan Easton picked out Allan in the box, and the striker expertly brought the pass down before rifling a superb finish high into the net.
The Fifers almost had a chance to equalise five minutes later when Callum Fordyce’s clearance struck an attacker, but defensive partner Rhys McCabe won possession back with a well-timed challenge.
Aaron Dunsmore should have done better with a gilt-edged chance at the far post after 13 minutes, but the full-back pulled his shot across goal and wide.
The Diamonds were more clinical at the other end four minutes later, Easton collecting a pass over the top from Kerr McInroy and dinking the ball to Allan at the back post. The striker intelligently cushioned his header into the path of Adam Frizzell, who steered home from five yards.
Agnew was next to have an effort on 20 minutes, but Gallacher was equal to his curling free-kick.
Max Currie repeated the feat at the other end, holding a long-range Ryan Blair drive.
Scott McGill did well to engineer space for a shot on the half-hour mark, but his left-footed effort went wide before Easton was twice denied on 36 minutes, first seeing a volley blocked then forcing Gallacher into a smart save.
Frizzell rightly felt aggrieved at being booked for simulation three minutes later, turning his man before being downed by a high challenge.
The visitors made some inroads toward the Airdrie goal as half-time approached, Currie saving from Wallace before an old-fashioned stramash in the box saw two good blocks from the Airdrie keeper before a goal-line clearance denied the Fifers.
Frizzell showed that his unjust caution had not affected his game two minutes before the break, taking a ball infield from McInroy and feeding Easton with an exquisite pass with the outside of his left boot. Drawing Gallacher to the near post, Easton slotted home between the keeper’s legs.
The second half began with routine saves for both goalkeepers, Gallacher fielding a Craig Watson cross before Currie smothered Wallace’s low shot.
Gallacher produced the save of the match after a lovely one-two with Callum Smith took McInroy up the pitch, the East Fife goalie diving full-length to tip the midfielder’s effort round the post.
A scrappy period followed with fouls and substitutions breaking up play, but Currie did well to push out a 69th-minute free-kick after a foul on Wallace.
Gallacher saved again as Smith showed his pace to burst through on goal before a deflection took Easton’s angled shot over the bar.
The busy Easton drew two more saves from Gallacher as the game moved into the final ten minutes with another raft of niggly fouls and substitutions running down the clock.
It was a less cavalier second-half from the home side, but a slick first-half display had secured another good win for the Diamonds.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.