Airdrie 1 Cove Rangers 1: Late heartbreak for Diamonds in League One title chase

Fraser Fyvie’s last-gasp stunner for Cove denied Airdrie a huge win in the League One title race.

Gabby McGill’s goal inside the opening minute for Airdrie looked to have given them three previous points, but Fyvie popped up with a wonder strike from 25-yards to equalize and keep Cove five points clear at the top with five games to go.

It maintains Cove’s unbeaten run – now at 21 games – while Airdrie are 15 games unbeaten.

Airdrie boss Ian Murray billed it as the biggest game in Scotland this weekend and it didn’t disappoint as both sides fought out an intense, and at times, frantic battle.

And it’s advantage Cove with five games to go as the Diamonds have a lot of ground to make up.

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Airdrie made one change from last week’s win over Queen’s Park as Scott Walker dropped out and Craig Watson came in.

There was also one change for Cove as boss Paul Hartley brought Harry Milne into the first 11 and striker Rory McAllister started on the bench.

New Broomfield was brimming with anticipation and the Diamonds made a dream start inside the opening minute when the ball was worked to Adam Frizzell inside the box.

He fired at goal and although Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie got a hand to his strike, Gabby McGill was on hand to bundle the ball over the line from close range to spark wild celebrations in the Lanarkshire sunshine.

Ian Murray celebrates with Airdrie star Gabby McGill.

That really got the home crowd going and three minutes later they were almost cheering a second goal when Calum Gallagher burst through, but McKenzie made a smart stop with his left leg to turn his strike away.

Rangers looked for a response and in 12 minutes Shay Logan’s cross looped up into the air and fell out of the sky for Connor Scully to hammer a volley towards the bottom corner. Thankfully for Airdrie, Max Currie got down superbly to keep hold of the shot.

Logan went close himself in 17 minutes when Fraser Fyvie teed him up on the edge of the box and he fired a strike narrowly over the bar.

On the half hour mark Airdrie missed a gilt edged chance when a fine flowing move worked the ball wide to Craig Watson. His cross picked out McGill perfectly in the middle of the six yard box unmarked, but his header was straight at McKenzie and Cove breathed a huge sigh of relief.

A few minutes later another big chance went abegging as Callum Smith volleyed over after Gallagher headed Frizzell’s cross to the back post into his path.

Moments like that can come back to haunt you and Cove almost pulled level in 37 minutes when Scully crossed for Fyvie. However, Max Currie pulled off a superb stop to bat it away from the right hand corner as Airdrie went in at the break ahead.

The second half was just a minute old when Cove won a free-kick 20 yards out and Airdrie’s determination to hold onto their lead was exemplified, with defenders throwing their bodies in the way to block Fyvie’s initial drive and then a thumping second bite at it as well.

In 56 minutes Smith glanced at a wide header from a Brody Paterson cross as Airdrie looked to give themselves a cushion in an intense contest.

There was a sign of relief down the other end when Currie spilled Logan’s cross and managed to nab it at the second attempt under pressure from Megginson.

Cove introduced joint-top scorer Rory McAllister after 61 minutes for Scully as they searched for a leveller.

The visitors kept pushing and although Harry Milne was getting a lot of joy down the left-hand side his final ball wasn’t troubling the Diamonds as they kept danger men Megginson and McAllister in check.

An Iain Vigurs free-kick to the back post in the final minute caused concern when it fell to Morgyn Neil but he headed over.

It looked like Airdrie would hold out but in the 90th minute Fyvie sent the away support into raptures with a wonder goal that flew past Max Currie from 25-yards.

The Diamonds are back in action next Saturday when they travel to East Fife.

Airdrie and Cove Rangers played out a close match.
Airdrie and Cove Rangers played out a close match.

Airdrie: Currie, Fordyce, Watson, Paterson, McCabe, G McGill (S McGill 75), Agnew, Easton, Frizzell, Gallagher (Afolabi 85), Smith.

Scorers: G McGill 1

Bookings: Agnew, Paterson, Frizzell

Subs not used: Walker, Ritchie, Allan, McDonald, Kerr, Devenny, Cantley.

Cove: McKenzie, Neill, Ross, Reynolds, Logan, Milne (McIntosh 86), Yule (Masson 85) Vigurs, Megginson, Fyvie, Scully (McAllister 61).

Scorers: Friday 90

Bookings: Megginson, Ross

Subs not used: Gourlay, Leitch, Fotheringham, Strachan, Adeyemo.

Ref: Gavin Duncan

HT: 1-0

Att: 1,650

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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