Saturday September 19, 2020

Pre-season friendly

Kelty Hearts

1-1

Kallum Higginbotham 57

Airdrieonians

Ally Roy 46

The Diamonds got their pre-season schedule underway with a draw against Lowland League hopefuls Kelty Hearts.

New boys Dean Ritchie, Griffin Sabatini and the returning Euan O'Reilly all started for Airdrie, who sported their new yellow third kit in the Fife sunshine at New Central Park.

Barry Ferguson's Kelty side featured a host of talented ex-seniors, including former Diamonds Paddy Boyle and Cammy Russell.

The first chance fell to the hosts, with striker Nathan Austin just unable to get his strike on target at the far post.

Airdrie hit back through Paul McKay, who stung Darren Jamieson's palms with a powerful 30-yard drive.

O'Reilly was next to test the Kelty keeper after 19 minutes, creating space for himself and getting a decent effort away.

David Hutton showed his credentials at the other end, acrobatically tipping Dylan Easton's strike over the bar.

Austin had another go with ten minutes of the half remaining, but again he failed to trouble the Airdrie goal with a curling effort.

A minute later Callum Fordyce went close with a towering header which drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.

Jamieson was on hand again, denying Craig Thomson as the half drew to a close.

More new faces took to the field for the second half, with Max Currie, Thomas Robert and Eoghan Stokes joining Sean Crighton, Ally Roy and Dale Carrick as half-time substitutions. Hutton, Leon McCann, Ritchie, Calum Gallagher, O'Reilly and Thomson were the players to make way.

French midfielder Robert was involved immediately, picking the ball up on the halfway line and going on a powerful jinking run before squaring to Roy. The striker slammed the ball across Jamieson, with the covering defender only able to send the ball into his own net.

Carrick had a chance to double the lead four minutes later, but shot wide after finding good space.

Currie made a routine save from Ross Philp before the home side were awarded a somewhat soft penalty as Easton went down under the slightest of brushes from Sabatini. The Swiss midfield man was booked for his protest.

Currie did well to save Austin's penalty, but was powerless as Kallum Higginbotham reacted first and stroked the loose ball home to make it 1-1.

Stokes almost grabbed a spectacular debut goal as he scooped a speculative 40-yard lob over Jamieson, but the former Livingston man scrambled back to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Kerr and Roy both passed up good chances as the clock ticked down, and Currie made an excellent double save with three minutes remaining.

Robert almost won the match with the last kick of the game, curling a superb free-kick around the Kelty wall, but Jamieson was alert to make the fingertip save as the final whistle blew.

The match provided valuable minutes for much of the squad as pre-season got underway in earnest, with a number of promising performances from the men in yellow.

Stuart Mathie at New Central Park.

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

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