Thursday 27 July 2017

Ross County 1 Airdrie United 1

Ross County threw away a great chance to win a tightly fought Scottish Second Division match at Victoria Park against Airdrie United on Saturday 1 September, when striker Andy Barrowman had his penalty kick saved by Stephen Robertson in the 89th minute, leaving the teams deadlocked at one-all.

The game was like all the ones I have seen since coming back to Scotland, played at high speed with tackles flying in and one-touch football the order of the day. It was into the last minute of the first half before a player on either side took one more than one direct opponent with the ball at his feet.

Neither side was able to hold the ball for any length of time or change the pace of the game.

Airdrie had the more measured build-up while County relied on a number of long balls over the defence for Barrowman and Sean Higgins to chase.

Both the goals scored in normal time came from defensive errors.

The visitor broke through in the 31st minute when County lost the ball in midfield and Kevin McDonald fed a pass through to Stuart Noble who kept his composure and beat young keeper Joe Mallon easily.

County got back on terms nine minutes later, after Stephen McEown brought down Martin Scott and Iain Anderson’s free kick rebounded off a couple of defenders before Barrowman poked it over the line from close range.

The first half ended with a two players involved in a slanging match under the nose of the referee but there was no further score.

Airdrie had the better of the second half until County manager Dick Campbell made a triple substitution bringing on Darren Brady, Daniel Moore and Dene Shields.

Airdire also introduced tricky winger Stephen McDougall who added some flair to its attack.

But despite a number of near things it looked like the game would peter out into a draw until Darren Smith was adjudged to have brought down Brady on the edge of the penalty area. It seemed a soft penalty, but this observer was a long way from the action.

Barrowman could not take advantage and so both teams had to be content with the point.

Stuart Petrie, who played with Central Coast Mariners last season in the Australian A-League has joined Ross County as player-coach, and though he was listed among the substitutes he did not get a run in this game.

Petrie scored both goals the following week in Ross County’s win over the league leader Raith Rovers.

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