Saturday July 25, 2015

Petrofac Training Cup round 1

Annan Athletic

3-1

Todd 51, 72, 74

Airdrieonians

Crighton 11

Airdrie crashed out of the Petrofac Cup at the hands of Annan striker Josh Todd, whose second half goals turned things round for the Galabankies.

The Diamonds will be left ruing several missed chances in a first half they dominated, and despite a bright start to the second period the Lanarkshire men collapsed as Todd bagged an impressive hat-trick.

There were no less than eight close-season signings on show for Gary Bollan's men, with David van Zanten leading the side out as captain.

Annan were first to threaten as the ball broke to veteran striker Peter Weatherson in the opening minute, but Airdrie goalkeeper Neil Parry was down smartly to save.

The Diamonds quickly exerted some attacking pressure, and the wing play of Nicolas Šumský and David Cox was providing an early threat.

Cox almost set Taylor Morgan up in the 6th minute, but Annan keeper Jordan Hart just beat the big striker to the front post cross.

Five minutes later Airdrie broke the deadlock, and it was Sean Crighton who opened his account for the Club, bulleting home a Šumský corner.

The Diamonds were in total control and continued to threaten from set-pieces, a 19th minute corner seeing Crighton, Kevin McBride and Liam Watt all thwarted in quick succession.

Watt should have doubled the advantage just after the half-hour mark, another probing Cox cross picking out the midfielder in space at the back post, but he opted to volley when a header seemed the better option, and his effort flew wildly over the bar.

Morgan was also finding space towards the end of the first 45, and his snapshot was well held by Hart before a controversial moment.

A probing through ball by Šumský saw Morgan race from behind the defender to stroke the ball home, but the stand-side linesman raised his offside flag.

Cox and Morgan had looked dangerous throughout the first period, and both went close at the start of the second.

A kick-out from Parry deceived the home defence and fell to Cox, but the former Annan player drilled his shot just wide.

A minute later Cox crossed for Morgan, whose header was well saved by Hart.

For all the chances they were creating, the Diamonds profligacy in front of goal was to be punished.

On 52 minutes, a cross from Annan's left flank picked out striker Josh Todd on the edge of the area, and he made no mistake in firing home.

Weatherson could have put the home side in front 7 minutes later, taking advantage of confusion in the Airdrie defence to pounce on a loose ball, but his shot was wide of the target.

Neil Parry was then called into action, making a desperate fingertip save from Stuart McColm's attempted lob.

The big keeper was on hand again on 69 minutes, making an outrageous point-blank save from Rabin Omar's five-yard header.

The warning signs were not heeded however, and Todd was on hand again to get on the end of a long throw and steer his header beyond Parry and put his side 2:1 up.

Minutes later his hat-trick was complete, a ball over the top catching the Airdrie defence flat-footed, and Todd reacted quickly to fire a shot across Parry and into the net for his third goal.

A flurry of substitutions provided a bit of spark for the Diamonds but it was too little too late, and Jim Chapman's men held on to progress to the second round.

Stuart Mathie at Galabank.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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