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Saturday April 1, 2017

Ladbrokes League One





Rory McAllister 8


Sean McIntosh 35


Two goal-line clearances and a penalty save denied Airdrie a win over Peterhead as Sean McIntosh cancelled out Rory McAllister's early opener.

The Diamonds travelled to Balmoor knowing that they would re-enter the top four with a better result than East Fife, but the relegation threatened hosts had different ideas.

McIntosh came into the back three in place of loanee Jordan McGregor, who this week extended his contract with Hamilton Academical, and Jack McKay replaced the suspended Andy Ryan up front. Jack Leitch returned from suspension with Adam Brown dropping to the bench.

Former Diamond Jamie Stevenson was among the Blue Toon substitutes with Nathan Blockley missing out altogether.

The hosts were first to threaten, and it was top scorer Rory McAllister who tested Rohan Ferguson in the Airdrie goal, but the keeper was equal to his fifth minute effort.

Minutes later the experienced hitman had the ball in the net, gathering a pass from midfield and holding off Simon Mensing before firing home.

Airdrie battled back, and were finding success by passing through the Peterhead midfield.

On 20 minutes, such a move saw Scott Stewart break through the home defence only to be tripped by Stephen Noble. Referee Euan Anderson showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Iain Russell stepped up to take the penalty kick and his effort was well struck, but Blue Toon goalie Graeme Smith dived to his right to make an impressive save.

Airdrie continued to threaten, and McIntosh got on the end of a corner on the half-hour mark only to see his header float wide.

Four minutes later the defender made no mistake. Kyle Hutton sent the ball goalwards after Russell's corner was cleared, and Smith fumbled the catch under pressure from Mensing. The ball dropped to McIntosh who guided home the equaliser.

Kieran MacDonald's pace on the left was proving instrumental to Airdrie's attack, and his curling cross almost found Russell as half-time approached, but the striker couldn't make clean contact.

McIntosh almost had his side in front ten minutes after the restart, Smith again presenting the opportunity after failing to catch Conroy's corner. McIntosh did well to swivel on the ball and get a shot away, but Peterhead defender Aaron Comrie blocked on the goal-line.

Adam Brown replaced Jack McKay with 25 minutes remaining, and the midfielder combined with the impressive Kyle Hutton to find space for a powerful long range drive which Smith did well to palm over the bar.

Airdrie's setpieces were causing problems, and the Diamonds were denied by another goal-line clearance on 88 minutes. Conroy's corner picked out Mensing whose header beat Smith, but Comrie was in the right place to hack the ball of the line for a second time.

McAllister came close in stoppage time with a spectacular angled volley, but his effort was rising and cleared the bar.

There was one last chance for Airdrie as Conroy beat two defenders and shot from the edge of the box, but his effort went wide and referee Anderson signalled full time.

With East Fife also drawing Airdrie remain level on points with the fourth-placed side, but Brechin's defeat to Livingston means the Diamonds can leapfrog them with a win next week.

Stuart Mathie at Balmoor Stadium.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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