Loons down to third after Diamonds loss

Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.

Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.

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The 10 men of Forfar Athletic were beaten 3-1 by Airdrieonians on Saturday after Gavin Malin received a controversial red card.

Manager Dick Campbell was enraged by the decision that also saw the hosts awarded a penalty, which Bryan Prunty - the man who had won the spot kick - duly fired past Rab Douglas to make it 2-0.

Marc Fitzpatrick opened the scoring after just five minutes following poor defending from the visiting Loons, Jim Lister able to glide past Darren Dods before crossing for the midfielder.

Scott Fraser made it three late in the second half before Michael Travis grabbed a late consolation.

Campbell, while livid with the officials, gave all due credit to an Airdrieonians side who had started the game far better than their opponents.

Dick said: “All credit to Airdrie, I thought they started the game better than us. The goal they got was, from our point of view, a sloppy one.

“We didn’t deal with it, the boy crosses it in and we’re 1-0 down. We had some decent passages of play after that.

“I’m sitting up in the stand and I suppose that’s football for you, I cannot believe he gave a penalty kick. Nobody at the game can believe he’s given a penalty kick.

“He’s so abrupt, so ready straight away with a red card up to the boy’s face. I think that’s why these boys are refereeing at our standard.

“Let’s not kid ourselves on, Airdrie deserved to win the game because of our stupidity.”

After the poor start and Fitzpatrick’s opener, Danny Denholm saw his volleyed effort go wide of the goal after he collected a poor defensive clearance.

But it wasn’t long before the Diamonds were two ahead as Fraser’s back heel bamboozled the Loons back line, sending Prunty through into the box before the striker appeared to stumble - the referee instantly gave a red card to Gavin Malin and awarded a penalty, with contact appearing minimal at best.

Prunty’s penalty was unstoppable and it gave Forfar an absolute mountain to climb.

Gavin Swankie had an effort saved by Andy McNeil before Ross Docherty shot wide.

Stuart Malcolm almost pulled one back five minutes into the second half but his header was superbly saved by McNeil.

Fraser fired over the bar before Iain Campbell cleared Lister’s header off the line.

Airdrie added a third in the 75th minute, the impressive Fraser collecting Lister’s cross and turning a defender before firing home.

Forfar grabbed a consolation at the end of the 90 minutes, Stephen Husband’s powerful free kick bouncing out of McNeil’s grasp with defender Travis on hand to sweep it home.

Diamonds manager Gary Bollan said: “It’s a great three points, it’s a welcome three points with so many draws of late.

“It was a tough game as you expect from Dick and it’s a good win coming against a team challenging at the top of the league.”

Next up for Forfar is the visit of Dunfermline Athletic this coming Saturday.

The Loons won the previous Station Park encounter 2-0, goals coming from Dale Hilson and Darren Dods in the second half.

The Loons will be keen to keep pace with Stranraer and Morton with a victory.

Airdrieonians: McNeil, Bain, Boyle, Gilfillan (Morton 83), Gasparotto, Lindsay, Docherty (Gray 76), Fitzpatrick, Lister, Fraser, Prunty (Boyle 83)

Forfar Athletic: Douglas, Travis, Campbell, Malcolm, Dods, Malin, Kader (Hilson 61), Young (Dale 76), Templeman, Swankie, Denholm (Husband 61)