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Tuesday July 2, 2024

Pre-season Friendly





Kieran Offord 65
James Teelan 74
Stewart Nixon 86


Terrell Agyemang 26
Lewis McGregor 77

Match Gallery

Airdrie’s second friendly match of pre-season ended in defeat to Crusaders, but it was another worthwhile exercise as the Diamonds build towards the new season.

Following completion of his registration, striker Ben Wilson was named among the Diamonds substitutes, with Cade Melrose and Gavin Gallagher missing out from the squad which faced Albion Rovers at the weekend.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the home side, with Crusaders starting former Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey and St.Mirren loanee Kieran Offord.

Airdrie made the early running, a dangerous looking Mason Hancock cross turned out for a corner after three minutes, with Aidan Wilson nodding over the bar after Rhys Armstrong had crossed from the left.

Terrell Agyemang was back helping his defence on six minutes as Crusaders’ Johnny James looked to carve out a chance.

The Middlesbrough loanee was showing some nice touched in the middle of the park, and combined well with Lewis McGrattan to set up Airdrie’s trialist two minutes later, but the forward dragged his shot wide of goal.

Following a more pedestrian spell as the sides sized each other up, Tuffey reacted well to beat Armstrong to a 21st minute pass through the defence.

Five minutes later the Diamonds took the lead through a fine Agyemang goal, the midfielder spinning away from one defender and beating another before opening up his body and passing beyond Tuffey into the bottom corner.

It was a deserved lead for Airdrie, who were taking control of the match, and Hancock almost added a lucky second on 33 minutes when his looping cross deceived Tuffey as it arced toward the top corner. Fortunately for the Crusaders keeper the ball ended up on top of his goal rather than in it.

Hancock went close again three minutes later, sending a powerful shot over the bar from outside the box, and Offord fired wide at the other end as the Crues got a rare sight of Murray Johnson’s goal.

The usual pre-season glut of half-time changes saw the balance of play swing in Crusaders’ favour, with Ross Clarke crashing a free-kick off the post two minutes after the restart.

Airdrie’s trialist goalkeeper, one of nine half-time changes, saved from Offord on 49 minutes before the striker shot wide seconds later.

Ben Wilson almost became an instant hero when he beat Tuffey with his first touch of the match, only to see the ball strike the inside of the post and trundle along the goal-line before being cleared.

Adam Frizzell couldn’t keep a 54th-minute header down as he met a cross from Cammy Bruce, and fellow sub Lewis McGregor saw his shot deflected behind a minute later.

Ben Wilson went close again on 56 minutes as Airdrie tried to double their advantage, and the Northern Irishman almost bagged a spectacular first goal when he got on the end of a superb Frizzell pass and dinked the ball over Tuffey, with the effort veering just beyond the far post.

Offord got Crusader’s equaliser on 65 minutes, forcing home at the far post after the ball was worked across a crowded box.

Nikolay Todorov almost put Airdrie back in front straight away, his 67th-minute header flying just wide of the post, and Elliot Dunlop shot over the bar after a nice passing move on 72 minutes.

Crusaders took the lead on 74 minutes, James Teelan’s back-post run well picked out, and the midfielder swept beyond Airdrie’s goalkeeper to make it 2-1.

The lead was short lived, however, Lewis McGregor powering home a 77th-minute equaliser after Frizzell had chested the ball down from a fine Cameron Rowley pass.

Todorov was crowded out in the box on 80 minutes after a first touch which deserved better, and Rowley saw a strike deflected wide after a powerful run down the right flank.

McGregor was denied by Tuffey as he volleyed goalward with eight minutes remaining, but it was the home side who grabbed a late winner, Stewart Nixon smashing home from just inside the box after some hesitant defending by the visitors.

The full-time whistle signalled a 3-2 win for the home side, but Diamonds boss Rhys McCabe was pleased with the run-out and can now look forward to a few days of training in the Northern Irish capital.

Stuart Mathie.

Photos © Ephy McConnell, with thanks to Crusaders FC.

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