Airdrie Invalids Get a DrawCircumstances favoured Aberdeen for their tie at Airdrie, for an epidemic of influenza had seized most of the Airdrieonian players when undergoing their training at Seamill Hydro. The result was that Doyle and Russell were unable to appear, and Dick, McQueen, Neil, Bennie, and Sommerville had practically risen from their beds to take part in the tie. During the first half Aberdeen faced a strong wind, and were so held that they never passed the Airdrie backs. The height and weight of the Aberdeen defenders told, however, and half-time was reached without any scoring. The second half saw Aberdeen to better purpose. Twice in close succession Smith delivered shots which Shortt ably dealt with. Toward the close the home team rallied, and seven minutes from the end Gallacher, after having his shot repelled by Blackwell, got the net. That score looked like finishing the tie, but the cheering had barely died away when Aberdeen were at the opposite goal, and Smith equalised with a shot from close range. The Airdrieonians made a whole-hearted defence. The Lanarkshire team were the better lot. The attendance was 12,000, and the gate-money £410.
Source: The Scotsman, 29th January 1923
The Game Described.Right from the start the exchanges were keen. Blackwell had early to field an awkward high ball from Howieson, and twice Forsyth brought relief when Cottingham and Gallacher were dangerous. Sweeping the ball from wing to wing Aberdeen made headway, and Shortt had to field a centre by Smith. A flag kick for Airdrieonians was cleared by Milne, and later Blackwell had to gather a ground ball by Gallacher after Hutton had partly smothered the shot. Another corner fell to Airdrieonians, but MacLachlan relieved, and with Hutton in difficulties, Blackwell later rushed out to clear while Howieson hustled him. A miskick by Hutton gave Gallacher a splendid opportunity, but with the forward hesitating, Hutton recovered possession and cleared. Other two corners fell to Airdrieonians, and off the second Hutton, almost below the bar, saved what would have been a certain goal. Airdrieonians continued to monopolise the attacking, but repeatedly they clung too long to the ball, and Aberdeen's bustling defence broke up all their efforts. Off a cross by Reid, Howieson first-timed over the top, and at the other end Connon and Smith twice had determined rushes for Aberdeen, but they were baulked by Dick and McQueen. At Blackwell's end Howieson and Bennie both missed from long range. A free kick taken by Neil near the touchline was finely saved by Blackwell, and there was a stoppage while Hutton had a knee injury attended to by the Aberdeen trainer. Towards the interval the Aberdeen attack became more in evidence. Connon had a shot deflected for a corner by McQueen, and following this Milne shot wide, and Rankine also was off the mark. Smith and Connon forced the pace on the left, and McDougall did to clear when Rankine and Connon endeavoured to rush through a centre from the left-winger, but the interval arrived with no score having been registered. Aberdeen early found what it meant have the assistance of the wind, and attacked right away. Robertson, from thirty yards' range, had a terrific drive which Shortt knocked down and only recovered possession to clear before Connon could reach him. Following this, the Aberdeen attackers strove desperately to break through, but found the Airdrie defence impassable. With the exchanges keen and fast, there were numerous fouls, and in more than one instance the referee had to Intervene between player who were at loggerheads. Smith and Dick had some lively tussles, and repeatedly the defender successfully exploited his weight at the expense of the Aberdeen left winger. By accurate short passing, the Airdrie attack again got going but Howieson shot wildly over, and at the other end Shortt, on the ground, gathered a fine try by Smith. After tricking Forsyth, Reid got away and squared, but Blackwell left his goal and fisted clear.
Narrow Escapes.,/p> Following this, the goal had a narrow escape. Smith sent over a ground pass, and Shortt, out of his goal, just managed to stop the ball with his boot, and gathered and cleared with Connon harassing him. MacLachlan and Howieson damaged their heads in collision, but both were able to continue. Aberdeen again attacked with vigour. A cross by Middleton was saved on the post by Shortt, and following this the Airdrie goal had a sensational escape. Shortt, out his charge, lost possession to Connon, who, on the left, cleverly endeavoured to hook the ball through a crowd of players. It seemed his effort would succeed when MacDougall, below bar, was able to kick clear. After this the Airdrie defenders found relief resorting to offside tactics.
Goals and Thrills.With ten minutes left for play, and when it seemed that neither team could score. Airdrieonians unexpectedly took the lead. They were awarded a free kick against Robertson about forty yards out on the left, several of the Aberdeen players appealing against the decision. The ball was shot in front of goal, and Hutton, in an effort to clear, miskicked, and deflected the ball to Gallacher's foot. The latter shot hard, but the hall struck Blackwell. It rebounded, to Gallacher, however, and on this occasion the centre forward shot hard into the net from few yards' range. On the ball being centred, Aberdeen made a desperate rally, and met with immediate success. All three half-backs and five forwards mixed in an effort to rush the home defence. Shots in quick succession by Milne, MacLachlan, Connon. and Rankine were blocked, and before a terrific onslaught the Airdrie defence wavered. MacLachlan shot hard, and the ball glanced off Dick's body to the foot of Smith, who immediately sent it goalwards. It struck Shortt's left hand upright and glanced into the net, where it was followed by several Aberdeen players. The spectators were left breathless with the sensational turn of events, and in the closing minutes there was tremendous excitement, the players being visibly affected. Airdrieonians made a last desperate rally to save a replay, and in the closing minutes of the game, during a fierce onslaught on the Aberdeen goal, Blackwell twice averted disaster by fisting clear while surrounded by opponents and colleagues. It was a thrilling finish, and the result did full justice to both teams. The result delighted the supporters of the Aberdeen club, and when the players arrived home late on Saturday evening a huge crowd awaited them at the railway station, and gave them a hearty welcome.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal 29th January 1923