Dunfermline Athletic

Airdrieonians 1 Dunfermline 2

Saturday, 9th Dec 2023

cinch Championship: Comrie, O’Halloran, Summers and Wighton start. Josh Edwards (37) 0-1: Matty Todd (69) 0-2: Calum Gallagher (90+2) 1-2:

It was fourth placed Dunfermline against fifth placed Airdrieonians at the Excelsior Stadium on a wet December afternoon. The hosts were hoping to improve their form that had seen them win just one of their last four home league games. For the visitors it was just their second away match since the start of November when they took three points away to Morton.

James McPake made four changes from the side that defeated Arbroath. Sam Fisher and Kane Ritchie-Hosler were out injured while Matty Todd and Owen Moffat were on the bench. Into the side came Aaron Comrie, Michael O’Halloran, Craig Wighton and Ben Summers. The Diamonds brought in former Pars striker Nikolay Todorov, Mason Hancock and Gavin Gallagher in place of Charlie Telfer, Gabby McGill and Callum Gallagher.

It was Wighton who kicked off attacking the goal at the south end of the ground. The Pars started the match with great intent and forced a corner within the first minute. Unfortunately Joe Chalmers ball over from the right was met by a defender.

Next danger came in eight minutes when a Josh Edwards cross narrowly cleared the Airdrie bar to land on the roof of the net. Three minutes later Chalmers led an attack out of his own half, feeding Lewis McCann down the left for the striker to tantalise Callum Fordyce before firing a low shot on target that Josh Rae held.

Airdrie’s first real threat on the Dunfermline goal came in 19 minutes from an Adam Frizzell corner. When the Diamonds’ captain’s delivery came in from the right the ball was touched on to the crossbar off Paul Allan and the defence cleared the danger. Next a promising Summers’ break was ended by Gavin Gallagher and he saw yellow for his challenge.

When Rae came racing out his goal to try and beat Summers to the ball on the left touchline, the orange kitted stopper missed ball and man. Summers made the byeline to cross for McCann but his 28th minute header towards the unguarded goal went wide right.

The Diamonds were beginning to get an uncomfortable number of crosses into the Dunfermline box and in 34 minutes play halted for treatment to Deniz Mehmet when he was caught in the face by a boot in trying to smother the ball in front of Craig Watson.

The first goal of the game would be scored by former Airdrie player, Josh EDWARDS. McCann’s forceful run up the right beat off his marker and he crossed for his team mate at the far post. 0-1

Todorov headed a chance over Mehmet’s bar as the match entered added time at the end of the first half. Edwards second goal in successive matches meant the teams went in at the break with the Fifers leading by what could be a crucial first goal.

Half time: Airdrieonians 0 Dunfermline 1

Dunfermline threatened within 25 seconds of the restart. Summers won possession in his own half and sent McCann away up the left. His cross was just behind Wighton in front of goal and Airdrie cleared.

The home side won their second corner of the match in 51 minutes but Dean McMaster’s cross was far too strong. Airdrie kept play up the park and earned a corner on the right three minutes later. Frizzell’s inswinger was commandingly clutched by Mehmet.

Play continued towards the Fifers goal but fortunately attempts at goal remained from a distance and off target. On the hour both sides committed two substitutes each. Nikolay Todorov and Adam Frizzell were replaced by Josh O’Connor and Calum Gallagher while Dunfermline withdrew Craig Wighton and Ben Summers to bring on Matty Todd and Alex Jakubiak. Within two minutes Jakubiak forced a save with his feet from the Airdrieonians keeper.

Two Dean McMaster corners were then defended before O’Halloran won a corner on the right followed by one on the left. This time Allan’s cross went straight into the hands of Rae. Then James McPake’s two substitutes combined to create the second goal of the afternoon. Jakubiak broke down the left, his cutback was behind McCann but TODD executed the shot to beat Rae from 18 yards out. 0-2

Dunfermline again looked the more likely to find the net again. A 74th minute cross from the right by Allan was tipped away by Rae and Edwards thrashed the ball at goal but his attempt slipped out wide right. The Lanarkshire side sent a free kick into the Pars box but Calum Gallagher’s header was comfortably held by Mehmet. Owen Moffat replaced Lewis McCann for the final 12 minutes.

O’Connor’s right footed effort in 80 minutes was off target but next minute Mehmet had to tip Gallagher’s header over his crossbar. From the corner on the right McStravick eventually took the chance to shoot but he skied the ball into the stand. Mehmet next blocked a Fordyce rocket before Jakubiak on the counter tested Josh Rae who conceded a corner.

Play halted five minutes full time and Chris Hamilton received treatment from the physios before resulting. Jakubiak was thwarted by Rae in the first minute of added time. Dunfermline would have seen the match out with a clean sheet but the home side were awarded an undisputed penalty in 92nd minute. Calum GALLAGHER converted but despite a late push by Airdrie, the Fifers secured three valuable points to create a four points cushion over their opponents.

AIRDRIEONIANS: Josh Rae: Craig Watson, Callum Fordyce, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Mason Hancock: Gavin Gallagher, Dean McMaster, Adam Frizzell (c) (Josh O’Connor 60), Kanayo Megwa: Liam McStravick
, Nikolay Todorov (Calum Gallagher 60)
SUBS NOT USED: Elliot Dunlop, Rhys McCabe, Gabby McGill, Joe Cassidy, Alasdair Spalding, David Hutton (GK), Cade Melrose (GK).
SCORERS: C Gallagher (90+2 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: G Gallagher (21), O,Connor (72)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Chris Hamilton (c), Ewan Otoo: Michael O’Halloran, Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers, Ben Summers (Matty Todd 60), Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton (Alex Jakubiak 60), Lewis McCann (Owen Moffat 78).
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Ewan McLeod, Harry Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Edwards (37), Todd (69)

REFEREE: Don Robertson

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 16th December 2023, kick off 3.00pm
Half time draw: Ticket 18012 won £238

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