April 30, 2022
cinch League 1
Simon Ferry 60 OG
Grant Savoury 45
Airdrie ended the regular league season with a 1-1 home draw against Peterhead, setting a new club record with a 20-match unbeaten run.
Manager Ian Murray rang the changes for the visit of the Blue Toon, resting a number of key players ahead of Tuesday’s cinch Championship play-off semi-final at Montrose.
The Diamonds boss was serving a touchline ban after an accumulation of yellow cards, with assistant Scott Agnew and club captain Callum Fordyce calling the shots from the sidelines.
Jay Cantley, Dean Ritchie, Jon Afolabi, Matty McDonald, Scott Walker, Gabby McGill and Scott McGill all came into the starting line-up, with Max Currie, Brody Paterson, Rhys McCabe, Callum Gallagher, Dylan Easton and Callum Smith dropping to the bench alongside Fordyce.
Dean Ritchie showed his eagerness to join the attack in the early stages, sending an eighth-minute volley flying just wide of the top corner.
Peterhead captain Scott Brown retaliated four minutes later, testing Jay Cantley with a low effort which the keeper dealt with easily.
Kyle MacDonald was next to get forward, ending a strong run with a shot from outside the box which stung the palms of Brett Long in the visitors’ goal.
Ritchie had another good effort saved on 16 minutes, dribbling into the box and firing in an effort which Long held well.
Cantley had to adjust quickly as Hamish Ritchie tried to surprise him with a near-post ball, but the young keeper did well to palm the ball to safety.
Scott Brown tried his luck from the corner of the box on 31 minutes, but again Cantley was equal to the striker.
With four minutes of the half remaining Jordan Allan was inches away from giving the Diamonds the lead, but MacDonald’s cross was agonisingly out of reach.
Andrew McDonald saw a speculative effort well saved by Cantley just before half-time, but Jim McInally’s side took the lead with the final kick of the first half, a corner kick being played short to Simon Ferry who teed up Grant Savoury to curl a sweet strike into the top corner.
Airdrie changed their shape after the break, but captain-for-the-day Josh Kerr had to be alert to head a Scott Brown shot behind ten minutes after the restart.
Ritchie blocked well as Peterhead pushed for a second, with Airdrie’s swift counter-attack seeing a Jon Afolabi strike saved by Long.
With an hour on the clock the Diamonds were on level terms, Ritchie and Scott McGill combining to tee Matty McDonald up for a one-two with Allan. Sweeping an excellent cross in from the return pass, McDonald watched as Ferry touched the ball past his own keeper to square the tie.
Two minutes later Peterhead had a penalty, Kerr touching the ball with his hand as he stumbled in a challenge on Niah Payne. The contact was outside the box, but referee Gavin Duncan pointed to the spot.
Scott Brown stepped up, but the Blue Toon captain slipped as he struck the ball and his effort went well over the bar.
Scott Walker marshalled Payne well as the striker broke toward goal on 65 minutes, before play was disrupted by a number of substitutions from the visitors.
Jordon Brown got his head to an 84th-minute cross, but Cantley was well placed to catch before saving well from a deflected Alan Cook effort three minutes later.
The match ended all square, seeing an impressive club record broken as the Diamonds now turn their attention to Tuesday evening’s play-off tie at Links Park.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.