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Saturday July 23, 2016

Betfred Cup Group E





Adam Brown 13, 67


Mark Gilhaney 56


The Diamonds enjoyed their first competitive win of the season in the Betfred Group E match with League One rivals Stenhousemuir.

An Adam Brown double set up the victory against the Warriors who had remained unbeaten in all four meetings last season.

Right from the kick off it was Airdrie who took the game to their visitors as they moved the ball quickly from wing to wing and sent in a number of dangerous crosses.

From an early Ryan Conroy shot the ball broke to Iain Russell who put it into the net only to be flagged offside.

Joe Gorman joined his forwards for a seventh minute corner and his headed effort from Conroy’s delivery was taken by the visitor’s keeper Colin McCabe.

Adam Brown opened the scoring after 13 minutes. A misplaced pass on the halfway line by Alan Cook was gathered by Brown who powered forward towards goal and took the opposing defenders by surprise, hammering a terrific angled shot into the net past McCabe for the opening goal.

With quarter of an hour played former Diamond Cook curled a shot wide of goal in a rare first half venture into the home penalty area.

A minute later a superb piece of play involving Conor McLaughlin, Brown and Russell led to another Russell effort finding the net only to be denied by the linesman's flag again.

Stenhousemuir threatened in 23 minutes after Jack Smith took the ball from McLaughlin and picked a pass to Mark Gilhaney, but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Rohan Ferguson.

In a repeat of his earlier effort Gorman got on the end of a Conroy corner on 39 minutes but was left angry with himself after his headed effort went past the keeper’s right hand post.

As Airdrie continued to dominate the first period Scott Stewart and Andy Ryan linked inside the box only to see Ryan’s net bound shot blocked by McCabe with seven minutes of the half remaining.

Against the run of play Stenhousemuir almost levelled. Mark Gilhaney’s short corner just before the break enabled him to send over a cross which Fraser Kerr headed just wide of Ferguson’s goal.

After the interval Stenhousemuir had more of a purpose about their play.

Smith missed a great chance to square the match three minutes after the restart when Cook made headway down the right then sent the ball into his path inside the box, but the striker’s shot was well taken by Ferguson.

Russell headed wide of goal from Ryan’s cross in 51 minutes but the visitors did grab an equaliser five minutes later. A long range effort from Cook was pushed against the post by Ferguson with the ball then rolling along the front of goal before Gilhaney raced in to sidefoot home.

The flow of the game started to go from one end to the other.

From a Stenhousemuir corner, Airdrie countered in 67 minutes with Iain Russell’s control in the middle of the park being critical.

The ball was played nicely into the path of Brown on the right hand side, and once again his pace took him quickly into the box where he fired the ball low past McCabe at his far post.

With 14 minutes to play, Ferguson’s reactions were instinctive when Colin McMenamin was in behind the home defence with only the keeper to beat. His save was crucial so soon after taking the lead.

Substitute James Daly had a snap shot on target a minute later, while the hardworking Ryan picked out another substitute, Kevin Schmidt, through the middle with six minutes to play.

The Dutchman put the ball past his marker then raced on to the ball in the box, forcing McCabe to make another decent save.

Ryan set up another decent chance for Schmidt with four minutes left, but his headed attempt was wide at the far post.

An excellent first half and well deserved win that saw the Diamonds take all three points.

John O'Brien at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size.

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