Saturday September 8, 2018
Irn Bru Cup Round 2
Tommy Wright 21
A single Tommy Wright goal was enough to see Sutton United through to the third round of the Irn Bru Cup in this cross-border tie.
The Diamonds faced their first non-Scottish opponents in the competition since the 2015/16 changes introduced sides from elsewhere in the UK.
South London side Sutton, who had a decent FA Cup run two seasons ago, travelled to the Penny Cars Stadium.
The early stages saw the sides testing each other out without producing anything of note in the final third.
Sutton were on target on nine minutes when Dean Beckwith rose to head Nicky Bailey’s free kick towards goal with keeper David Hutton catching the ball easily.
Airdrie’s Joao Victoria made good headway into the box four minutes later but saw his run ended when the visitors cleared the danger.
Dale Carrick did well in 16 minutes to nick the ball from defender Aswad Thomas near the right touchline then raced into the penalty box. He got sight of goal but fired the ball wide to the left of keeper Ross Worner’s back post.
From an Airdrie corner Sutton broke up the park after 20 minutes to bag the lead. A long ball found Tom Bolarinwa who fired it forward to Tommy Wright. The striker held off the challenge Kieran MacDonald then drilled a low shot into the corner of the net.
Sutton’s Dan Wishart blasted a 20-yard effort wide of Hutton’s goal with 22 minutes gone.
On the half hour mark Victoria found Leighton McIntosh, who saw his first effort well blocked by Worner. When the ball came back to him, his clipped effort was cleared off the line by Bailey.
Nine minutes from the break some good play from MacDonald and Victoria down the left created another opening for McIntosh, with the striker’s shot on target blocked by Jamie Collins.
The visitor retained their one goal advantage at half time.
Josh Taylor won the ball from Grant Gallagher on 48 minutes in the middle of the park, carrying it into the penalty box before cutting back then firing a shot over the top of Hutton’s goal.
A terrific back-post cross in 57 minutes from MacDonald on the left saw Scott Robertson race into the box to meet the ball and send his headed attempt just over the Sutton goal.
Goalscorer Wright took advantage of a ball won from Ryan Conroy after 63 minutes, racing to the edge of the box and his netbound shot looked set to double the visitors’ lead until an excellent dive to his right by Hutton was followed by a fingertip save to turn the ball away for a corner.
Continual changes and bookings impacted on the latter stages of the match with frequent stoppages affecting any flow to the match.
Wright had a header on target comfortably taken by Hutton before being replaced.
Airdrie fashioned one last chance in time added on, an angled cross ball from Sean Crighton seeing Victoria head back into the danger area. With his back to goal, Carrick’s spectacular overhead kick was well saved by Worner with the defence mopping up the rebound.
In the end, that first half strike from Wright was all that separated the sides.
John O'Brien at Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.