Saturday July 28, 2012

Ramsdens Challenge Cup round 1

Hamilton Academical

0-1

Airdrie United

McLaren 85

AN inspired substitution from boss Jimmy Boyle was the catalyst for Airdrie's opening-day victory.

The Diamonds chief brought on Willie McLaren with eight minutes left of the Ramsdens Challenge Cup First Round tie at Hamilton Accies on Saturday.

And the winger, who only re-signed for the club again on Thursday evening, struck the winning goal with his first touch soon after.

Boyle heaped praise on McLaren for showing great quality to win the game and was delighted with the overall result and display.

He said: "I thought we looked solid defensively and I'm really pleased with the clean sheet and victory. It's a great start for us."

The home side started well but it wasn't until the 18th minute they had their first sight at goal.

A free-kick into the area by Ali Crawford was punched by keeper Kenny Arthur as far as Martin Canning whose header was cleared off the line by Marc Warren.

Andy Ryan then blazed a shot over the bar six minutes later. At the other end, Airdrie's Austrialian left-back Warren, who received international clearance to play, went close.

The Diamonds, who operated in a 4-4-2 formation with Grant Evans and Gavin Griffin as makeshift wide midfielders, tested Accies custodian Kevin Cuthbert through Nathan Blockley.

Midfielder Gary Fraser fired a shot wide midway through the second half and Arthur smothered a Connor McGlinchey drive as Accies searched for the opening goal.

But Airdrie won it in the 85th minute when McLaren latched onto a terrific Blockley ball and found the bottom corner of the net with a cool finish.

Disappointed Hamilton manager Billy Reid said: "It was a frustrating afternoon for us but all credit to Airdrie who came here with a gameplan and worked very hard."

Colin Paterson at New Douglas Park.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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