Diamond Watches: Clyde 2-4 Airdrieonians
A Boxing Day Bleaching For The Bully Wee; Airdrie Smash Clyde Once Again
Airdrie benefitted handsomely from a fitting tribute to the Christmas Pantomime, performed with admirable fealty by the defenders and goalkeeper of Clyde F.C.
After demolishing the Bully Wee 5-0 at The Penny Cars, Airdrie merrily unwrapped four presents from their hosts in this reverse fixture, whilst exercising admirable restraint by passing up several other gifts the overwhelmingly generous Clyde players tossed their way.
It all made for very surreal Boxing Day viewing, contrasting sharply with the rather uneventful 1-0 away win over Falkirk the week before. Airdrie looked like scoring every time they went forward, and Clyde seemed grimly determined to help them on their way. After 30 minutes, having lost three goals and being grateful that it wasn't five or six, the hosts barely had any more feet left in which to shoot themselves.
It was pretty bloody lovely.
Airdrie hadn't started all that well in the cavalcade of bad weather that stormed around Broadwood, but Tam Rab took full advantage of the hooley, not to mention some shambolic goalkeeping by David Mitchell, to score directly from the corner kick. If the goal goes down as being wind-assisted, then Mitchell deserves special mention of his own; his flapping flop (for to call it a jump would be to stretch the definition of the word severely) ensured safe passage into the back of the net and Airdrie had their early lead.
What followed was a veritable onslaught of the Clyde goal, as The Diamonds sought to build on their opener. A fearsome MacDonald drive was deflected wide. Crighton put a header narrowly wide. The Clyde defence was all at sea and the second goal arrived eight minutes after the first. Again, Mitchell was found wanting at a set-piece. Again, Crighton won the header. This time it was chested off the line, but only by two yards and Dale Carrick stuck it away.
The third came hot on the heels of the second. Airdrie worked it well, keeping Clyde hemmed in. So hemmed in were the hosts, in fact, that Josh Kerr was afforded acres of space to set himself, line up his shot and fire an excellent side foot finish past Mitchell. As first Airdrie goals go, you'd be hard pressed to name better.
All of this in under twenty minutes.
Kerr nearly doubled his own tally in the 24th minute after combining neatly with Kyle Connell. Kerr returned the ball to the young forward and the Killie loanee was able to return it once again, despite slipping in the box. Kerr took the shot but was denied a second goal by a crucial block.
Airdrie weren't settling for three and Clyde seemed intent on shipping yet more goals. Carrick bore down on David Mitchell as the Clyde keeper took a stinker of a first touch, and only narrowly failed to stop it spinning behind the byline. Kyle Connell was the proverbial genital hair away from rounding Mitchell after capitalising on an horrendous backpass, but this time the keeper bailed out his defence by getting a diverting block in.
28 minutes in and Carrick looked favourite to get to a lofted ball over the Clyde defence. The last player back for the Bully Wee was wrong side of Airdrie's top scorer and appeared to pull him down inside the box but, in a show of mercy, the referee waved play-on. A scramble erupted two yards from the Clyde goal after they failed to deal with the second phase of a corner but again a combination of Mitchell and his last ditch defenders managed to clear it in a haphazard sort of way as Airdrie continued the one way flow of traffic. Thomson, in from the start this week, must have thought his drive was goin in before a good save from Mitchell prevented another Airdrie goal.
And then Clyde pulled one back. A flick on from a by-kick played reached David Goodwillie, who managed, just, to stop himself running the ball out of play before standing up a too hesitant defence and picking out Barry Cuddihy. This time it was Airdrie allowing too much space for the Clyde midfielder and he finished emphatically to reduce arrears.
It would be churlish to deny that Clyde took a bit of a lift from this, but Airdrie weren't budging and saw out the half without being troubled again. A blot on the copy book, that soft goal, but an excellent first half left the visitors in a commanding position.
Within the first ten minutes of the second half, any realistic prospect of a Clyde comeback was put to bed by Dale Carrick, who got his second after a long throw. Connell fired it into the heart of the box and the flick on landed at the feet of Callum Fordyce, who turned well and laid it off to Dale Carrick. The striker got it out of his feet quickly and hit it with a bit of violence high into the net to re-establish Airdrie's three goal lead.
The weather continued to deteriorate, even causing the camera to shake in the stand. Just beyond the hour mark Clyde managed to pull another one back as Ally Love finished well from a low cross out on Airdrie's left. It was another sloppy concession that did at least seem to annoy the Airdrie defence, who clearly knew they should have stopped it, but it was quite clearly a consolation and there was very little of note in the final 30 minutes.
Clyde appealed, half-heartedly, for a penalty, but it was quite clear the ball had been gotten, rather than the man. Currie nearly gifted a goal when he could only parry a drive back into danger, but the header was cushioned delicately into his hands by the Clyde player to whom the ball had bounced.
Paul McKay, who had broke up play in the midfield all day, did so again when Clyde were rushing forward in numbers. He nearly scored as well, but his header was deflected over the bar.
And that was that. 4-2, a second away win on the bounce and Airdrie go into 2021 in third place, one point off second and five behind recent conquests Falkirk. With the chances of the trip to Dumbarton actually happening on the 2nd looking incredibly slim, it might well be that Airdrie won't take to the field again until the Scottish Cup tie at home to Edinburgh City on January 9th.
Until then, Lang may yer lum reek and here's to more like the last two games in 2021.
Airdrie for the Cup. Whit Cup? Any Cup.