Blue Toon take a ‘day off’ as spritely Airdrie claim the win

Peterhead's Rory McAllister challenges with Luca Gasparotto.
Peterhead's Rory McAllister challenges with Luca Gasparotto.

Cast your mind back exactly 12 months to Peterhead’s final home match of the season when the Blue Toon, who had already sewn up the League 2 title, were beaten by a much hungrier team.

Their opponents that day were a vibrant Stirling Albion, who arrived at Balmoor knowing they had to win to have any chance of claiming a play-off berth.

The outcome mattered a lot more to the visitors, just like it did on Saturday with a spritely Airdrie realising they had to collect three points to keep alive faint hopes of sneaking into the top four.

Peterhead, destined for a mid-table finish regardless of the result, did not have the same intensity and the only surprise in this match was that it took until the 83rd minute for Jim McInally’s men to concede the decisive goal.

Impressive Blue Toon goalkeeper Graeme Smith made numerous saves to keep Airdrie at bay until Liam Lindsay eventually headed home the winner from a corner kick.

McInally made a couple of changes to his starting line-up from the side, which defeated title hopefuls Forfar the week before. Cammy Kerr, making his last Balmoor appearance before returning to parent club Dundee, and Kevin Dzierzawski were restored at the expense of Ross Smith and Andy Rodgers.

All the chances in the first period fell the way of the Diamonds.

The swirling wind helped neither side although the Blue Toon appea red far more hindered as Airdrie continued to probe and push their opponents back after the interval.

Barring a close range Gary McDonald shot which Andy McNeil comfortably saved, Peterhead offered nothing but Smith kept them alive by superbly touching Jordon Morton’s effort behind for a corner.

Scott Fraser then flashed a free-kick narrowly wide but Airdrie were rewarded for their dominance with seven minutes remaining when on loan Partick Thistle youngster Lindsay peeled off his marker to glance a ten-yard header inside the far corner.

In the end, the goal proved almost immaterial with Brechin getting the point they needed at Stenhousemuir to deny Airdrie a play-off spot.

Peterhead have not had too many off days in League 1 but this was definitely one of them. However, they have the ideal fixture to bring the curtain down on their campaign on Saturday.

They visit joint-top Morton, who must win to wrestle the title away from Forfar and Stranraer. Cappielow will be packed and expectant but the Blue Toon have already won at Greenock this season.

What better way for them to sign off than by gate-crashing Morton’s party?