July 2, 2022
Adam Frizzell 6
Gabby McGill 52, 85
Airdrie progressed to the NL Cup final with a 3-0 win over Stirling Albion, with the Diamonds fans leaving Broadwood satisfied with a good result and a solid performance.
Rhys McCabe’s management career got underway in earnest as Airdrie named a strong starting XI featuring two trialists alongside summer signings Josh Rae, Cammy Ballantyne, Dean McMaster and Justin Devenny.
Darren Young’s Stirling Albion side had three ex-Diamonds among their ranks, defender Jordan McGregor, midfielder Jack Leitch and striker Dale Carrick.
The Diamonds started well, passing the ball around at a good tempo, and it took only six minutes to open the scoring. Callum Smith took possession on the halfway line and advanced before picking out Adam Frizzell with an excellent pass. The midfielder cut across the box and sent in a powerful strike, with a deflection wrongfooting Blair Currie in the Binos goal.
Devenny went close six minutes later, turning and shooting after accepting Ballantyne’s pass, but this time Currie saved well.
Gabby McGill was finding good space on the outside of the Diamonds attack, and was unlucky to see a 13th-minute effort fly just wide.
Stirling hit back through Robert Thomson on 18 minutes, but Rae took his close-range effort comfortably.
Smith almost added a fine second as Airdrie began to dominate again, a deflection taking the sting out of his curling strike to allow a defender to nod the ball to safety.
On-loan midfielder McMaster was playing some tidy passes in the centre of the park, and sent Smith toward goal with a measured through-ball on the half-hour mark, but the Diamonds striker was denied by a good challenge.
Rae was at full stretch to tip a 34th-minute strike onto the bar and behind for a corner before Smith sent another effort fizzing just wide of the post after dumping a defender with some neat footwork.
Currie held Smith’s effort shortly after the restart, but again Airdrie were quicker out the blocks and McGill doubled the Diamonds lead on 52 minutes, Frizzell bringing down McMaster’s ball over the top to allow the English striker to leather the ball beyond Currie.
Some good defending denied Frizzell four minutes later, with McMaster blocking a goalbound strike from Stirling sub Danny Denholm on 58 minutes.
Currie held a 63rd-minute McGill header before the Diamonds’ trialist midfielder fired over the bar and player-manager McCabe sent a free-kick the same way.
The usual raft of substitutions disrupted play in the final quarter, with no less than four trialists taking to the field for Airdrie alongside Calum Gallagher.
There was still time for another McGill goal though as the striker grabbed his second with five minutes remaining. Frizzell and Ballantyne combined down the left, with the former sending a great ball in for one of the substitute trialists. His near-post cross was knocked into McGill’s pass by Ballantyne, and the Yorkshireman sidefooted home from close range.
A good run out for the Diamonds, who will face hosts Cumbernauld Colts in tomorrow’s final after the Broadwood men beat Albion Rovers 2-1 in today’s first match.
Stuart Mathie at Broadwood Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.