Paul Sheerin says his side desperately need a morale-boosting win to turn their season around.
Saturday’s reverse means the Gayfield team have not won in their last nine matches and player-boss Sheerin, who must hope a meek second-half display marks the low point in their season, says hard work is the solution.
Arbroath were a goal to the good at half-time but the Diamonds moved up a couple of gears, and two quick-fire goals won them the points to reduce the gap at the bottom between the sides to just two.
Sheerin said: “To say I am disappointed is an understatement. We were in the mire as it was and now we have given Airdrie increased hope.
“We are struggling to get the win that will give us confidence but it will only come through working hard.”
Sheerin added: “We lacked appetite when we went behind. We could not get going and that was a concern as we have to battle and scrap in the position we are in.
“Hopefully we can show that we can do that starting against East Fife on Thursday.”
The Red Lichties goal came on 25 minutes when Alan Cook’s free-kick from wide on the right found Clayton Donaldson and he sent a header thumping into the ground and into the net.
That was Donaldson’s last major involvement as he was hurt in a collision with Cook shortly afterwards and had to be wheeled off the pitch.
Airdrie brought on Willie McLaren and Jim Lister at half-time and they turned the game the way of the Diamonds.
Centre back Gregor Buchanan rose highest to head in a Caolan McAleer corner just before the hour mark. Three minutes later Scott Morrison spilled a shot by Jamie Bain, and Lister set up former St Johnstone striker Keighan Parker to tap home.
The hosts saw out the game, with their only scare being when an injury-time Darren Smith shot struck the arm of a defender.
Referee Alan Muir was not interested, and Sheerin was not looking for excuses, saying: “I would not have been happy if it was given against us.”
Diamonds boss Gary Bollan, who has signed Parker until the end of the season, said: “Everyone knows how important this win could turn out to be for us.”