What a difference a week makes!
Last Saturday everyone of a Blue Toon persuasion was beaming after a 1-0 win at Dundee United in the Betfred Cup however a week later everyone is winching at the injuries that affected Jim McInally’s side as they went down 2-0 at Airdrie in their first League 1 game of the new season.
Josh Mulligan was already missing due an ankle knock picked up on his debut at Tannadice and Gary Fraser was isolating on the instruction of the Test and Protect Coronavirus Operation and the by the time the 90 minutes were up in Lanarkshire Simon Ferry and Isaac layne were limping and Gary Mackenzie had suffered a head-knock.
Peterhead were the better side in the opening minutes with Andrew McCarthy dominating the midfield and Layne keeping the home defence on their toes as he constantly looked to get in behind them.
Layne had the first opening on 14 minutes when he cleared two challenges on the edge of the Diamonds’ box to get a glimpse of goal however he sent his shot whistling over.
A minute later McCarthy, who had been fouled four times already, picked out Jason Brown with a cross to the back post however the defender sent his header over.
As the Blue Toon continued on top Simon Ferry looked to start an attacking move on 30 minutes however his cross-field pass was cut out. Airdrie darted forward as a result however Ferry took it upon himself to nullify the danger and raced back 30 yards to block out a cross.
Ferry’s desire came at the price as he had to limp off with a suspected hamstring injury with Alan Cook coming on as his replacement.
The break in play disrupted Peterhead’s rhythm and Airdrie sensed an opportunity to take control. Dale Carrick began to dominate on the left and the striker won a penalty on 43 minutes when Kyle Bailey slipped when making a tackle and Carrick hit the artificial turf.
Referee Barry Cook, who yellow-carded both managers for comments made during the first half, pointed to the spot and Carrick dusted himself down and sent Joshua Rae the wrong way from 12 yards out.
Peterhead regrouped during the break and came out determined to get level in the second 45 minutes. Airdrie came out just as determined not to concede and a stalemate set in until Jim McInally’s side suffered further misfortune.
Mackenzie who had stood strong in the heart of the visiting defence was involved in a head-knock just before the hour mark and as he was being treated Layne indicated that he had to come off after banging his knee on the ground following a challenge.
Manager McInally also took off Steven Boyd who had been well-shacked all afternoon with Derryn Kesson, Lyall Cameron and Derek Lyle all coming on.
After taking time to adjust Peterhead carved out a chance to equalise five minutes later when Kieran Freeman was released on the right however the on-loan Dundee United youngster sent his cross high over the head of the unmarked Lyle who had pepped up the visiting attack after coming on.
With 20 minutes left Bailey failed to cut out a through ball and Calum Gallagher looked set to double Airdrie’s lead however a superb sliding tackle from Jason Brown ended the danger.
However from the resultant corner Callum Fordyce rose to head home and secure the three points for the hosts.
Rae, Bailey, J Brown, Mackenzie (Kesson 59), Conroy, Freeman, Ferry (Cook 32), S Brown, Boyd (Cameron 59), McCarthy, Layne (Lyle 58)
Unused substitutes – Wilson