Ten-man Forfar Athletic were dealt a massive blow in the hunt for the play-off positions as they were beaten 5-1 by a great Airdrieonians side at the Excelsior Stadium on Saturday.
Manager Dick Campbell made two changes from last week’s win over Stranraer, Darren Hill replacing Rab Douglas, after Douglas suffered a stomach strain in the warm-up, and Neil McCabe coming in for the injured Gavin Swankie. Loan signing Chris Duggan took a spot on the bench; meanwhile Airdrie’s Nicky Cadden came in for the suspended Caolan McAleer.
Forfar threatened first with Martyn Fotheringham’s free kick troubling Grant Adam before a great passing move in the fifth minute ended in Dale Hilson cutting inside from the wing, but he could only fire wide of the mark.
The Loons were dealt a blow after that, with Marvin Andrews hobbling off to be replaced by Darren Dods. Three minutes later Fotheringham hit a free kick from 30 yards that had ex-Loon Adam scrambling to make a great save.
The Diamonds took the lead in the 13th minute, a corner by Jamie Bain causing a stramash in the box and Gregor Buchanan stabbing the ball home.
Fotheringham fired straight at the keeper again before Airdrie scored twice more to make it three in the space of eight minutes. Jamie Bain scored possibly the best goal of the game in the 19th minute when he fired the ball into the top corner from long range; two minutes later Mark Baxter diverted a Jim Lister pass into his own net with Keigan Parker waiting to receive said pass.
On the half-hour mark a free kick just inside the attacking half from Iain Campbell was nodded out towards Neil McCabe and he sent a low shot straight into Adam’s arms.
The Loons were down to 10 men in the 33rd minute. A 50-50 challenge between Iain Campbell and Jamie Bain, with each player having their studs up, ended in Campbell being sent off.
Dale Hilson continued his recent scoring run six minutes before half time; Fotheringham gave him the ball on the halfway line, he ran past Bain, got inside the box, rounded Adam and fired home despite three defenders on the line.
HALF TIME: Airdrieonians 3, Forfar Athletic 1
Five minutes into the second half it was four for the home side. A great cross by Paddy Boyle was met by the head of Jim Lister and his header found the net via Darren Dods’ knee.
The Loons hit the post after 53 minutes, another Fotheringham corner was sent out to Mark Baxter and his low shot beat Grant Adam but came off the post and was cleared.
Airdrie took their foot off the gas after but still went close to scoring again, Parker and Craig Barr having efforts on target.
In the 75th minute Chris Templeman headed over from sub Jamie McCluskey’s free kick before Airdrie added a fifth five minutes later.
Barr split open the defence with a great through ball and Liam Watt rounded Darren Hill, slotting the ball into the empty net.
They almost added a sixth but Hill pulled off a tremendous double save from Watt and Coogans, at the other end Chris Templeman hitting the sidenetting with a good volley.
Forfar are now six points behind fourth-placed Ayr United, with East Fife visiting Station Park next week, the Methil side on a high after their derby win over Dunfermline, putting them four points clear of Arbroath on the bottom. Airdrieonians: Grant Adam, Craig Barr, Jamie Bain, Liam Watt, Gregor Buchanan, Stefan Milojevic, Nicky Cadden (Lewis Coult 71), Darren McCormack, Jim Lister (Liam Coogans 84), Keigan Parker, Paddy Boyle (Grant Evans 77).
Subs not used: Reece Glackin, Scott Stewart, Aiden Ward, Chris McCluskey (gk).
Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill, Mark Baxter, Iain Campbell, Marvin Andrews (Darren Dods 4), Stuart Malcolm, Gary Fusco, Omar Kader (Jamie McCluskey 71), Martyn Fotheringham, Chris Templeman, Neil McCabe, Dale Hilson (Chris Duggan 75).
Subs not used: Craig Smith, James Dale, Gavin Malin, Rab Douglas (gk).