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Airdrie reach Championship play-off final after 10-goal extra-time thriller

Jon Afolabi sealed a dramatic comeback from the Airdrie bench (Martin Rickett/PA)
Jon Afolabi sealed a dramatic comeback from the Airdrie bench (Martin Rickett/PA)

Substitute Jon Afolabi’s extra-time strike sent Airdrie into the cinch Championship play-off final as the hosts pulled off a dramatic second-leg comeback to defeat Montrose 6-5 on aggregate.

Cammy Ballantyne headed home in the 12th minute to give the visitors a 2-0 aggregate lead and, when he struck again in the 26th minute, Montrose looked to be cruising into the promotion showdown with Queen’s Park. However, Callum Smith halved the deficit in the 53rd minute to light a fire under Airdrie.

Milne soon hit back to protect Montrose’s advantage but that was squeezed as Smith notched twice inside five mad minutes.

There was chaos in the 86th minute as Calum Gallagher levelled the semi-final by pouncing on a loose ball to force extra time in North Lanarkshire.

On-loan Celtic forward Afolabi struck a decisive fifth Diamonds goal in the 105th minute and Gabby McGill made it 6-3 on the day with a late contribution of his own. Montrose’s overdue response arrived through Martin Rennie in the third minute of time added on.

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