Tuesday July 26, 2016
Betfred Cup Group E
Adam Cummins 3
Aiden Malone 48
Sean Burns 79
Andy Ryan 19
Adam Brown 20
Iain Russell 31
Airdrieonians Win 8-7 On Penalty Kicks
Sean McIntosh scored the deciding spot-kick as Airdrie finished their Betfred Cup group by winning an entertaining match on penalties.
A win over Queen's Park had looked a safe bet at the half-time break, but the bonus point earned by the shoot-out win - after a 3:3 draw in 90 minutes - may be enough to see them finish in third place.
James Daly came in for Ryan Conroy, while hosts Queen's Park had the familiar faces of Sean Burns and former Airdrie youth player Aiden Malone in their starting XI.
The home side started like a whirlwind with them pressing Airdrie back from the kick off.
Darren Miller curled an excellent free kick under Rohan Ferguson’s bar and the keeper reacted well to push the ball over the top to concede a corner after two minutes.
Queens took the lead immediately after though, Adam Cummins scoring from Miller’s delivery a minute later.
With seven minutes played Miller had a similar effort to his opening attempt, once more winning a corner which was fruitless on this occasion.
Andy Ryan looked as if he was enjoying himself and his strong running began to take Airdrie up the field.
He fired a long range effort wide of goal after a powerful run on ten minutes.
Joe Bradley was not too far away as his 20-yard shot flew just over the Airdrie goal with 17 minutes on the clock.
The Diamonds began to pass the ball better and with confidence, while there was always a willing free runner looking to receive the ball.
Their good play was rewarded in 19 minutes after Iain Russell picked a pass for Ryan and he curled a 25-yard effort out away from home keeper Andrew Murphy for his first competitive goal for the club.
A minute later Adam Brown gave Airdrie the lead after Ryan showed great control then left the ball for Brown to curl the ball past Murphy from inside the box.
Airdrie had a swagger about their play with everyone hungry to get involved. A Brown cross into the box in 23 minutes had Russell and Scott Stewart just miss out on connecting with the ball at the back post.
Some nice link up play on 25 minutes saw Ryan go close again.
A third goal looked on the cards and it came in 31 minutes after another superb run by Ryan carrying the ball to the goal line then cutting it back across goal. Conor McLaughlin threaded a pass to Russell who gave Murphy no chance with a shot from just inside the box.
Ryan fired in another shot from the edge of the box in 34 minutes that almost made it four and had another go two minutes from the interval, but Murphy was down quickly to save.
Throughout this period of dominance by the visitors, former Diamond Aiden Malone had a good effort saved by Ferguson in a rare venture towards the Airdrie goal in 39 minutes.
In the second half though Airdrie looked a shadow of the side they had shown after the opening quarter of an hour.
They were not able to offer much as an attacking force and their first real attempt on the Queens goal in the second period came with six minutes remaining.
Stewart’s excellent run then shot from 25 yards out forced Murphy to push the ball back out, and substitute Craig Truesdale reacted quickly to clip his effort against the crossbar.
By that stage Queen's Park had come back from the two goal deficit to level the match 3-3. They had the ball in the net in 48 minutes but the linesman’s flag was up early to disallow the ‘goal’.
A minute later a misplaced pass by McLaughlin saw Malone turn with the ball and pick out the top corner of net with a decent strike to narrow the gap early on.
Ferguson made an excellent save in 77 minutes from Miller’s drive.
A long clearance two minutes later had Joe Gorman stretching to head clear, but he could only direct it into the path of another former Diamond Sean Burns who fired the ball past Ferguson.
In the end a point apiece but the penalty shoot-out ebbed and flowed like match itself.
Queens netted their first three, with Fitzpatrick and Russell scoring but Brown’s shot was saved. Queens then saw their fourth kept out by Ferguson, while McLaughlin levelled matters with an extremely audacious chipped shot over the grounded keeper.
Queens scored their next four while Higgins, Schmidt, Truesdale and Stewart followed suit.
McVey blasted his effort high over the crossbar for the Spiders - the only miss from 18 kicks - while McIntosh remained composed to slot home for Airdrie and secure the bonus point.
Exactly what each side will have learned ahead of the head-to-head on the opening day of the league campaign remains to be seen.
A sizeable travelling support came through on a very wet night and many more are likely to return to the national stadium for the second instalment.
John O'Brien at Hampden Park.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full-size.