Airdrieonians 1 -1 Peterhead
Airdrie 1 Peterhead 1 – An unfortunate minute hurts the Blue Toon
Peterhead finished their League 1 season on 42 points after a 1-1 draw at promotion chasing Airdrie and it could have been 44 points had two unfortunate incidents within a minute not gone against the Blue Toon.
Grant Savoury scored a fine goal just on half-time for the Balmoor men however with an hour played an own goal from Simon Ferry levelled the score. Peterhead hit back instantly and were awarded a penalty however an unfortunate slip from Scott Brown saw the chance from 12 yards missed with the retiring Derek Lyle denied what would have been a winner with his last touch in senior football.
Shaun Want and Andrew McCarthy failed to fully shake off injuries and they were replaced by Gary Fraser and Hamish Ritchie with Flynn Duffy coming in for Owen Cairns in a re-organised defence that had Ferry and Andrew McDonald at the heart of it.
The Blue Toon survived an early scare against a Diamonds side looking to set a club record of 20 games undefeated after Rico Quitongo was harshly judged to have fouled Kyle MacDonald on the left.
Justin Devenny swung over the free-kick that was cleared to Dean Ritchie at the edge of the box and his first-time shot flashed inches wide.
On twelve minutes Scott Brown had Peterhead’s first attempt on goal when he accepted a pass from Savoury just inside Airdrie’s half. The visiting skipper carried the ball forward before testing Jay Cantley with a low 30-yard drive that was scooped up by the shot-stopper.
Four minutes later Airdrie’s Kyle MacDonald tested Long from a similar distance with the Peterhead number one also making a safe stop.
Midway through the opening half former Diamond Quitongo forced a corner that Ritchie fired across Airdrie’s goal at the second attempt with Cantley’s poor push away almost creating a chance for the visitors.
Scott Brown sent a curling effort towards Airdrie’s goal after ball broke to him at the edge of the box on 31 minutes but it was saved by Cantley.
Five minutes from the break Long picked the ball off Jordan Allan’s toes before Peterhead worked their way to the other end and Scott Brown tried his luck again with his shot drifting wide this time.
Right on half-time Peterhead took the lead thanks to a wonder strike from Savoury. A corner on the right had fallen to Simon Ferry some 20 yards from the home goal and he rolled a pass to Savoury who whipped in a first time shot that hit the inside of the post before bouncing across goal and hitting the net at the other side of the goal.
Four minutes into the restart Ritchie created space however his chipped effort was too direct at Cantley who saved easily. A MacDonald foul on Jordan Allan, which earned him a booking on 52 minutes, gave Devenny a shooting chance however Long was perfectly positioned to save.
Three minutes later Josh Kerr popped up behind Cantley to head away a dangerous Scott Brown shot, following a lightning Savoury break.
Jonathan Afolabi worked his way clear on 59 minutes only for Long to stick out a foot to save however an equaliser was only delayed until the following minute when Matty McDonald’s shot was deflected past Long by Ferry.
Peterhead should have retaken the lead within a minute after Niah Payne dribbled past the grounded Kerr who stuck out a hand to concede a penalty.
After Airdrie protests ended Scott Brown stepped up to take the spot-kick however he slipped as he kicked the ball and his shot cleared the bar.
Derek Lyle came off the bench to make the final appearance of his senior career with 17 minutes left when he replaced Payne with Alan Cook coming on for Gary Fraser at the same time.
With four minutes left it looked like Cook had released another substitute Jordon Brown however the ball raced into the waiting arms of Cantley with Cook denied a goal 60 seconds later when his deflected drive was saved.
In the final minute Ryan Duncan whipped over a free-kick and it looked for a second that Lyle was going to sign off with a goal when Cantley failed to gather however the shot-stopper recovered and took the ball away from what would have been a dream finish for the striker.
Long, Quitongo, McDonald, Ferry, Duffy (Conroy 78), Fraser (Cook 73), Ritchie (Jordon Brown 78), Scott Brown, Savoury, Jack Brown (Duncan 55), Payne (Lyle 73)
Unused substitutes – Wilson (G/k), Strachan, Cairns
Losing goals at key times hurts the Blue Toon
Airdrie 3 Peterhead 1
Losing goals at key times resulted in Peterhead going down 3-1 to a host Airdrie side who moved to the top of the League 1 table as a result.
The Blue Toon headed to Lanarkshire on the back of a four-game unbeaten run and they matched the Diamonds for nearly the entire first half however a defensive slip allowed Dylan Easton to score just before the half-time whistle.
Airdrie came out with their tails up at the start of the second half and Kerr McInroy added a second with Callum Smith notching a third seconds after the visitors missed a good opportunity to get back into the game.
Andy McDonald pulled a goal back in bizarre fashion late on but the destination of the points had been decided by then.
Simon Ferry and Niah Payne were not able to take their place on the substitutes bench due to injury with manager Jim McInally giving Grant Savoury making his first start in place of Derek Lyle.
Peterhead started brightly and after Hamish Ritchie had been fouled Flynn Duffy’s whipped free-kick reached Russell McLean however the striker headed wide.
On eight minutes Kerr McInroy picked up loose ball in Peterhead box and drilled for goal however his effort was deflected past for a corner.
Four minutes later Airdrie goalkeeper Max Currie was forced to leap high to save when Andy McCarthy lofted a Duffy corner back into the box and Savoury tried to loop a header into the net.
Referee Steven Reid confused everyone on 30 minutes when he awarded a foul to the home side after McLean and Jason Brown challenged for the ball in the Airdrie box.
As the hosts continued to probe for an opening Adam Frizzell tried his luck from long distance with the ball clearing Long’s bar with Peterhead retaliating with a curling Duffy cross that reached Josh Mulligan at the back post however the on-loan Dundee man volleyed over.
The Balmoor men forced a corner five minutes from the break and Duffy crossed it in from the left however the Airdrie defence cleared at pace with skipper Scott Brown having to dart back and end a lightning attack with a timely interception.
Manager Jim McInally had to change his half-time team talk just a minute from the break when Airdrie were able to break the deadlock. McCarthy had done well to win a tackle and slip the ball to Mulligan however he was robbed by Easton who raced into the box and sent a shot past Long with the aid of a deflection off Jason Brown.
Peterhead showed their desire to get level straight from the kick-off for the second half with McCarthy finding Scott Brown and the skipper sending Mulligan free with the danger only ending when the home defence scrambled his low driven cross clear.
Airdrie should have grabbed a second goal on 50 minutes when Smith fired across the visitors’ goal and Calum Gallagher slid in to turn the ball over the line however hie miscued the ball back towards Smith and a relieved Long clutched it.
Seven minutes later a second goal did arrive when McInroy popped up as the ball bounced in the Peterhead box and cutely lobbed Long.
Hamish Ritchie had two chances in quick succession to bring his side back into the game however they were both blocked.
On 63 minutes it looked like Mulligan was set to score a fine goal as he ran onto a low Flynn cross at the back post however he screwed his shot wide.
That miss was punished within seconds as Smith got onto a box in no man’s land and chipped over the advancing Long.
The Peterhead shot-stopper then finger-tipped a cross that became a shot away as Airdrie looked to increase their advantage further.
McInally’s side refused to buckle and McLean sent a shot swerving over Currie with 13 minutes left only to see the ball crash against the bar.
Substitute Derek Lyle volleyed a Mulligan cross over before Andy McDonald pulled a goal back in injury time.
The centre back overhit a pass forward and the ball was going all the way to Currie however the goalkeeper took his eye off it and it rolled under his foot and into the net.
Peterhead – Long, Mulligan, Duffy, McDonald, Jason Brown, McCarthy, Ritchie (Lyle 65), Scott Brown, McLean, Wilson, Savoury (Cameron 72)
Unused substitutes – Wilson (G/k), Conroy, Strachan
Pleasure of Tannadice replaced with pain of Airdrie
What a difference a week makes!
Last Saturday everyone of a Blue Toon persuasion was beaming after a 1-0 win at Dundee United in the Betfred Cup however a week later everyone is winching at the injuries that affected Jim McInally’s side as they went down 2-0 at Airdrie in their first League 1 game of the new season.
Josh Mulligan was already missing due an ankle knock picked up on his debut at Tannadice and Gary Fraser was isolating on the instruction of the Test and Protect Coronavirus Operation and the by the time the 90 minutes were up in Lanarkshire Simon Ferry and Isaac layne were limping and Gary Mackenzie had suffered a head-knock.
Peterhead were the better side in the opening minutes with Andrew McCarthy dominating the midfield and Layne keeping the home defence on their toes as he constantly looked to get in behind them.
Layne had the first opening on 14 minutes when he cleared two challenges on the edge of the Diamonds’ box to get a glimpse of goal however he sent his shot whistling over.
A minute later McCarthy, who had been fouled four times already, picked out Jason Brown with a cross to the back post however the defender sent his header over.
As the Blue Toon continued on top Simon Ferry looked to start an attacking move on 30 minutes however his cross-field pass was cut out. Airdrie darted forward as a result however Ferry took it upon himself to nullify the danger and raced back 30 yards to block out a cross.
Ferry’s desire came at the price as he had to limp off with a suspected hamstring injury with Alan Cook coming on as his replacement.
The break in play disrupted Peterhead’s rhythm and Airdrie sensed an opportunity to take control. Dale Carrick began to dominate on the left and the striker won a penalty on 43 minutes when Kyle Bailey slipped when making a tackle and Carrick hit the artificial turf.
Referee Barry Cook, who yellow-carded both managers for comments made during the first half, pointed to the spot and Carrick dusted himself down and sent Joshua Rae the wrong way from 12 yards out.
Peterhead regrouped during the break and came out determined to get level in the second 45 minutes. Airdrie came out just as determined not to concede and a stalemate set in until Jim McInally’s side suffered further misfortune.
Mackenzie who had stood strong in the heart of the visiting defence was involved in a head-knock just before the hour mark and as he was being treated Layne indicated that he had to come off after banging his knee on the ground following a challenge.
Manager McInally also took off Steven Boyd who had been well-shacked all afternoon with Derryn Kesson, Lyall Cameron and Derek Lyle all coming on.
After taking time to adjust Peterhead carved out a chance to equalise five minutes later when Kieran Freeman was released on the right however the on-loan Dundee United youngster sent his cross high over the head of the unmarked Lyle who had pepped up the visiting attack after coming on.
With 20 minutes left Bailey failed to cut out a through ball and Calum Gallagher looked set to double Airdrie’s lead however a superb sliding tackle from Jason Brown ended the danger.
However from the resultant corner Callum Fordyce rose to head home and secure the three points for the hosts.
Rae, Bailey, J Brown, Mackenzie (Kesson 59), Conroy, Freeman, Ferry (Cook 32), S Brown, Boyd (Cameron 59), McCarthy, Layne (Lyle 58)
Unused substitutes – Wilson