Tuesday June 26, 2018
Darryl Duffy 87
A decent crowd attended the Diamonds’ first pre-season home fixture in nine years and saw an entertaining draw in which each side scored well worked goals.
Stevie Findlay’s men faced Dave Mackay’s Stirling Albion, who lost out on promotion after losing in the play-off semi-final, the remaining a level above Saturday’s Lowland League opponents Gala Fairydean Rovers. A closer contest followed.
Airdrie’s first threat came on 17 minutes after Darryl Duffy won a corner on the right. Trialist Adam Watson’s cross saw Sean Crighton head for goal, but Stirling’s alert defending led to the loose ball being cleared from the penalty area.
Three minutes later another corner from Watson was again met by Crighton, and Duffy headed the ball over the top of keeper Cameron Binnie’s goal.
Albion full-back Jordan Allan clipped a threatening 25-yard free kick over the top of Scott Gallacher’s goal in 26 minutes as the Bino’s made some headway in the match.
The goalkeepers were equal to all that came their way in a first half mostly played out in the middle third.
Ten minutes from the break Binnie dived to his left to push away Watson’s curling shot from outside the box after the former Hibs youth had combined well with Duffy.
Scott Gallacher plucked the ball high under his crossbar from William Robertson’s strike with five minutes of the half left.
An excellent through ball by Kieran Millar on 42 minutes picked out Scott Stewart who raced into the box and rounded keeper Binnie, only to see his route to goal blocked as Kyle Banner got back to clear the danger.
After the customary interval changes to give players game time, it was David Hutton who was called on to make a couple of decent saves in the opening ten minutes of the second half.
The former Arbroath keeper dived to his left to push away Mark Stewart’s drilled 20-yard effort, but cleanly gathered McLaren’s netbound shot from some 25 yards out.
Joao Victoria’s powerful run into the left hand side of the penalty box on 57 minutes resulted in his driven cross being desperately cleared by an anxious Stirling defence who had to send the ball over their own crossbar.
Hutton was again called into action two minutes later turning, Daniel Jardine’s shot away for another corner which came to nothing for the visitors.
In 65 minutes Hutton could only get a hand to a terrific shot by Stirling’s Maltese trialist Jacob Borg, who fired a vicious 30-yard strike into the corner of the net to give the visitors the lead.
Airdrie went close to levelling on 72 minutes, Scott Stewart cutting back for Cammy Russell whose 20-yard shot forced keeper Binnie into an excellent save. The young goalie followed up with a fine block from Duffy’s close range attempt as he moved in on the loose ball.
Binnie was then fortunate not to be punished for collecting the ball from what appeared to be outside his box.
A foul on Sean McIntosh with three minutes remaining enabled Ryan Conroy to chip a dead ball into the box, and Duffy made good contact to head home the equaliser.
Back-to-back matches against Highland League opposition as part of the continuing pre-season programme will allow more opportunities for the manager to assess his squad ahead of the competitive action which kicks off in mid-July.
Gallacher (Hutton 46'), Robertson, MacDonald (Edwards 62'), Page (O'Neil 33'), Crighton, Millar (Cairns 62'), Stewart (McIntosh 76'), Gallagher (Conroy 46'), Duffy, Victoria (Carrick 69'), Trialist (Russell 69')
John O'Brien at the Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.