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Airdrie 1-2 Dunfermline: The Pars ease to victory over the Diamonds to register welcome back-to-back wins

James McPake's side impressed as they strengthened their grip on fourth in the Championship, despite late Airdrie penalty.

Dunfermline Athletic defender Josh Edwards leans against the dugout at East End Park.
Dunfermline turned down a bid for Josh Edwards during the transfer window. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

Dunfermline struck goals in either half as they registered a routine victory over Airdrie.

Given the drama that has enlivened meetings with the Diamonds in the last 18 months, this was as straight forward as the East End Park men could have hoped for.

Josh Edwards fired in his second goal in two games to give the Pars the lead before the interval.

And the Pars doubled their advantage in the 69th minute when Alex Jakubiak set up fellow substitute Matty Todd for a composed finish.

Airdrie replacement Calum Gallagher rolled in an injury-time penalty but there was to be no late equaliser for the home side.

The victory earned the Fifers back-to-back victories for just the second time this season as they opened up a four-point lead over their hosts in the SPFL Championship table.

Josh Edwards got Dunfermline off the mark for the second game in a row. Image: Ross Parker / SNS Group

Early opportunities

Dunfermline started briskly and a skewed Edwards cross from the left in the eighth minute threatened to drop under Josh Rae’s bar before drifting just over.

Three minutes later an opportunity opened up on the counter-attack as Joe Chalmers picked out the run of Lewis McCann but the striker mishit his shot to give Rae an easy save.

Pars boss James McPake had picked out the threat of former East End Park striker Nikolay Todorov ahead of the game.

And the Bulgarian came close for Airdrie in the 19th minute as he glanced a header on target from an Adam Frizzell corner.

But Deniz Mehmet got his hand to the effort and pushed it onto the bar before the defence scrambled the ball to safety.

Josh Rae luck

Home keeper Rae is one of five players to have been sent-off in the fixture in the last five games.

And he was lucky he did not make more contact with Ben Summers on the touchline in the 27th minute as the on-loan Celtic youngster burst clear.

Summers stumbled and was able to cross, but Lewis McCann’s header was too weak with the keeper still outside his box.

The Fifers striker made amends eight minutes from the break, however, when Dunfermline surged in front.

In space on the right side of the box, the 22-year-old burst past defender Mason Hancock and drove in a low cross that found Edwards, who side-footed in calmly from 10 yards out.

Matty Todd came off the bench to grab a crucial second for Dunfermline. Image: Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Determined Dunfermline

Airdrie were improved after the interval but Dunfermline came to life as the hour mark approached.

Edwards picked out the run of Chalmers with a long throw in the 59th minute but the midfielder’s dipping volley dropped just wide of the far post.

Three minutes later, Jakubiak – only on the pitch for a minute – attacked the left side of the box but Rae repelled the substitute’s low shot with his feet.

However, Jakubiak was instrumental as the Pars extended their lead and sealed the three points.

The striker got clear on the left once more and, although his cutback rolled behind the supporting McCann, Todd timed his arrival perfectly to spear his shot into the bottom corner.

The Fifers had to withstand pressure as full-time approached and twice Jakubiak came close to adding to their lead before Paul Allan was adjudged to have impeded Gallagher in the box.

The striker found the net from the spot but it was too little, too late for home side.

Star Man: Josh Edwards

Manager James McPake this week insisted Dunfermline would extend the full-back’s contract and it is just as well they have that option.

The 23-year-old has been a consistent performer since his arrival from Airdrie in 2019 and was impressive again on his old stomping ground.

A goal for a second consecutive match capped a fine display in defence and attack.

Player ratings

Dunfermline (3-4-1-2): Mehmet 6; Comrie 6, Hamilton 7, Otoo 7; O’Halloran 6, Allan 7, Chalmers 7, Edwards 8; Summers 6 (Todd 60 5); McCann 7 (Moffat 78 3), Wighton 6 (Jakubiak 60 4). Subs not used: Sharp, Little, Fenton, McLeod.

Ref: Don Robertson

Att: 1,650