January 15, 2022
cinch League 1
Callum Fordyce 35
Scott McGill 43
Calum Gallagher 86
Brad McKay 47
Anton Dowds 89
Airdrie emerged victorious from a tough battle against Falkirk to extend their impressive winning streak.
Scott McGill moved into the midfield berth vacated by Kerr McInroy, with Scott Walker taking up the left-back position in the only change from the team which beat East Fife 3-0 last weekend.
The visitors had recent signing Aaron Taylor-Sinclair in defence alongside ex-Diamond Leon McCann, while last week’s hat-trick hero Anton Dowds led the line.
A cagey opening spell yielded few chances, although the direct pace of Callumn Morrison offered a threat for the visitors on five minutes after the Falkirk defend had bundled a free-kick clear.
Dylan Easton and Adam Frizzell were linking well in midfield again, with the latter seeing his shot blocked after good play by his team-mate on nine minutes.
Craig Watson had an effort deflected behind a minute later before Callum Fordyce tested goalkeeper Paddy Martin with an 11th-minute volley.
Morrison should have given the Bairns the lead when a clever run saw him meet a Dowds cross unmarked after 27 minutes, but the former Hearts man nodded over when it looked easier to score.
Max Currie was alert to Morrison’s pace two minutes later, racing to the edge of his box to collect a through ball intended for the forward.
Easton fired wildly over on the half-hour mark, but five minutes later the Diamonds took the lead.
A free-kick on the right was swung in by Easton with Fordyce seeing his initial shot blocked, but the ball broke back to the Airdrie captain and he made no mistake from 12 yards out.
Falkirk had an early chance to equalise on 39 minutes with Morrison again finding himself on the penalty spot with space to shoot, but Currie made an outstanding diving save before Fordyce cleared the danger.
The Bairns were made to pay for the miss four minutes later as Scott McGill finished a surefire goal of the season contender.
Scott Agnew nipped in to win the ball for Easton, whose pass to Frizzell was returned with a delightful backheel flick allowing a threaded pass to Scott McGill on the edge of the box. The Hearts loanee controlled well and fired an unstoppable strike past Martin.
As half-time approached Easton danced into the box before being crowded out and Currie fielded a McGuffie effort.
Within two minutes of the restart the visitors had one back as Brad McKay steered a header into the top corner following a free-kick on the right.
Dowds could have equalised four minutes later, but the striker shot straight at Currie.
A number of Falkirk bookings followed as Martin Rennie’s side fought to get back into the game, but it was Airdrie who had the ball in the net again after 66 minutes as Agnew’s corner was returned into the box for Jordan Allan to knock home, but referee Duncan Williams signalled an infringement and the goal didn’t stand.
The visitors changed things upfront as Aidan Nesbitt and Aidan Keena joined the play, but it was defender Taylor-Sinclair who was left with his head in his hands after 78 minutes, heading wide with the goal gaping.
McCann joined the Falkirk attack as the game moved into the last ten minutes, but sliced his 82nd-minute effort over the bar before Currie saved again from Dowds.
With three minutes to play the Diamonds restored their two-goal advantage, Frizzell showing incredible resilience to win the ball back after being bundled off the park and squaring for substitute Calum Gallagher to squeeze the ball home at the near post.
Just when it looked like the victory was wrapped up, Falkirk ensured a nervy ending by bagging another goal with a minute remaining as a corner kick from the right was flicked across goal and stood up for Dowds to head home.
The visitors threw everything forward in an attempt to grab an unlikely equaliser, but the Diamonds stood firm and handled any pressure that came their way in the closing few minutes.
A fine victory, Airdrie’s fifth in a row, ahead of next week’s Scottish Cup trip to face Partick Thistle.
Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.