July 12, 2022
Premier Sports Cup Group E
Justin Devenny 26
John Robertson 20
Luck was not on Airdrie’s side as they drew 1-1 with FC Edinburgh despite dominating possession and chances.
Alan Maybury’s side took the bonus point from the penalty shoot-out, but with two off the post and two off the line, the Diamonds will feel they should have won the tie in 90 minutes.
With Dean McMaster sidelined after coming off at Cowdenbeath on Saturday and Calum Gallagher missing through illness, Rhys McCabe brought in the five academy youngsters signed earlier in the day, with 17-year-old Cole Gibson given the nod to start in central midfield.
League 1 play-off winners FC Edinburgh included recent signing Liam Fontaine and ex-Diamonds Kieran MacDonald and Innes Murray.
Sam Ramsbottom was the first goalkeeper called into action, the former Dumbarton man smothering the loose ball after Gabby McGill and Cammy Ballantyne had combined on three minutes.
Craig Watson joined the attack a minute later, only to see his shot charged down before a good sliding tackle stopped McGill bearing down on goal.
Josh Rae showed good hands as he dealt with a long-range Murray effort after ten minutes, and a minute later Justin Devenny’s effort was hacked off the line after strong play by Callum Smith.
Adam Frizzell was looking lively, with an 18th-minute block preventing the midfielder from repeating his scoring feat from Saturday’s match.
Smith went agonisingly close a minute later, a flowing attack ending with the striker firing in a low angled shot which hit the inside of the post and skidded to safety.
Supporters’ fears that their luck was out were exacerbated in the 20th minute as Edinburgh opened the scoring, a quick counter-attack giving John Robertson space to line up a powerful shot which beat Rae and crept inside the post.
Frizzell came close to an early goal-of-the-season contender three minutes later, sending a curling angled lob over Ramsbottom with the ball going inches over the bar.
The Diamonds weren’t to be denied for long though, and Frizzell’s hard work in the corner allowed Ballantyne to cross for McGill, who got the slightest touch to knock the ball to Devenny. The midfielder took a touch before despatching a left-footed strike into the net for his second goal in as many games.
Edinburgh’s attacks were mostly coming through Robertson on the counter, and McCabe did well to marshall the former St Johnstone striker on the hour mark.
Ballantyne had two efforts in quick succession as half-time approached, firing over the bar before seeing a shot blocked after running on to Euan Deveney’s cross.
McGill won possession in the centre circle on the stroke of half-time, looking to go alone as he advanced on goal and pulled his shot just wide of the post.
The visitors had the first chance of the second half, Murray forcing a good save from Rae as he tipped a powerful strike over the bar.
Airdrie were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes as Ballantyne picked the ball up at the back post only to be barged to the ground. McGill sent Ramsbottom the wrong way from the spot, but his kick struck the base of the post and bounced back out.
Ramsbottom was beaten again by Smith’s 55th-minute strike, but the impressive Fontaine was back to clear off the line for a second time.
The visiting keeper punched out Devenny’s long-range effort on 59 minutes, with Fontaine blocking a McGill shot a minute later.
Robertson’s audacious 69th-minute effort drifted wide of Rae’s goal, and the striker fired over with ten minutes remaining as the Citizens began to come into the game after a number of changes.
Danny Handling went close with a curling effort before Ramsbottom saved well from Smith as the striker got through one-on-one.
Two late penalty shouts for Airdrie were denied as Frizzell appeared to be fouled and Ballantyne was tripped in stoppage time, but the match ended all square with penalties deciding the bonus point.
It was the visitors who edged the shoot-out, Handling, Shanley, Docherty and Robertson all scoring, while only Fordyce and Smith were able to find the net for Airdrie, Ramsbottom saving from McCabe and Frizzell.
With no other matches played on the night, Airdrie still top the group - but with fixtures against higher-league opposition still to come, the Diamonds may live to rue a missed opportunity.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © Stuart Dalzell. Click to view full-size.