January 14, 2023
cinch League 1
Jamie Barjonas 66
Adam Frizzell 21
Airdrie and Kelty Hearts shared the points in a match played in punishing conditions at New Central Park, with a goal in either half deciding the outcome.
The Diamonds were without player-manager Rhys McCabe who was sidelined through illness, with recent loan signing Ben Stanway coming in for his first start in the only change from the side which beat Peterhead 3-0 last weekend. New boys Lewis McGregor and Lachie Byrd were named among the substitutes.
Former Airdrie midfielder Joe Cardle was on the bench for the hosts as they looked to make it two home wins against the Diamonds.
Driving wind and rain battered New Central Park as the teams tried their best to pass the ball about, but the adverse conditions led to a match which was often scrappy.
The home side were first to threaten through defender Jordon Forster who got his head to a third minute Josh Rae parry, but could only steer wide.
As Airdrie began to get a foothold in the game, Craig Watson’s tenth-minute cross was just beyond Calum Gallagher.
Stanway was next to have a go for the Diamonds, dispossessing Alfredo Agyeman and curling in a powerful strike which Darren Jamieson handled well.
The hosts should have taken the lead on 16 minutes, a wayward clearance falling to Kallum Higginbotham who only had to hit the target with the goal gaping, but shot well over.
Airdrie’s slick passing came into play four minutes later, a sliding block stopping the final ball reaching Gallagher in front of goal.
It only took another minute for Airdrie to go in front, Gabby McGill’s first time cross being completely missed by defender Reiss Peggie. Adam Frizzell gratefully accepted the ball and advanced toward goal before slamming a left-footed effort past Jamieson.
John Potter’s men almost equalised on the half-hour mark, Jamie Barjonas placing his shot well, but the outstretched leg of Rae denied the wide midfielder.
Callum Fordyce cleared a dangerous cross five minutes before the break with Peggie picking up the loose ball and blazing over.
It was Rae to the rescue again three minutes later as the keeper raced off his line to intercept Agyeman’s through ball for Nathan Austin.
Frizzell was twice denied by good blocks as he looked to add a second just before the break, and Airdrie took their slender lead into the second half.
As the wind and rain began to worsen, it was the hosts who took control of the game, Barjonas sending an angled strike off the bar five minutes after the restart.
Rae was out quickly again to clear the danger three minutes later before Stanway had a stinging long-range effort deflected behind for a corner.
With 66 minutes played, the hosts got their equaliser when Barjona knocked in a cross from substitute Cardle, although the linesman at first did not award the goal as there were doubts as to whether a player in an offside position got the final touch. After conferring with his assistant, referee Mike Roncone awarded the goal.
Barjonas went close again on 75 minutes, firing a close-range strike just wide of the post before Charlie Telfer sent a free-kick wide at the other end.
As the match moved into the final ten minutes, Michael Tidser had a shot off-target before Forster dived across to head a McGill strike behind.
Kelty sub Jack Milne was perhaps fortunate only to see yellow after a lunging challenge on Fordyce, but the referee showed leniency.
Barjonas could have won it in stoppage time with a cross-shot that drifted just past the far post, but in the end a share of the spoils was probably the right result after a game of two halves in which the conditions played a major part.
Stuart Mathie at New Central Park.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.