Tuesday August 14, 2018
Irn Bru Cup Round 1
Ryan Conroy 2
Dale Carrick 19
Leighton McIntosh 22 pen
Airdrie visited Shielfield Park for the second time in just over three weeks - and the Diamonds secured another 3-0 win over Berwick Rangers.
With a disappointing home defeat to Montrose behind them, Stevie Findlay's side sought to make immediate amends in this Irn Bru Cup round 1 tie.
The Airdrie manager made four changes to his starting line-up, with David Hutton, Kieran MacDonald, Leighton McIntosh and Joao Victoria coming in.
It was Portuguese striker Victoria who provided an immediate threat, showing his eagerness to take on his man straight from kick-off.
And it took only two minutes for the Diamonds to open the scoring, a low ball into a crowded penalty area breaking to Ryan Conroy 20 yards out with the midfielder firing home a powerful strike which left home keeper Brennan rooted to the spot.
Straight from kick off the Wee Gers bore down on the Airdrie goal, but the threat was snuffed out and the Diamonds soon resumed their domination of possession.
Dale Carrick got on the end of a Victoria cutback on seven minutes, with his shot beating Brennan only to be cleared off the line by a defender.
The Berwick keeper was having a busy night, and he was down quickly to gather a 16th minute Victoria effort.
Carrick did find the net on 19 minutes, and it was a tremendous strike from a tight angle when a cross looked more likely. Instead the former Livingston man smashed the ball across Brennan and into the net to make it 2-0.
There was no let up for Robbie Horn's men as Airdrie continued to press with high intensity. A rash challenge on Scott Stewart just inside the box saw referee John McKendrick blow for a penalty, and Brennan was left cursing his luck as he palmed McIntosh's spot-kick against the inside of the post only to see the ball spin over the line.
The home side enjoyed a couple of attacks before half-time, but their finishing was wayward.
Murrell had the perfect opportunity to pull one back after he was tripped in the box and a penalty awarded, but Airdrie keeper Hutton made a smart save to his left.
Scott Robertson advanced forward on 35 minutes, and would surely have staked a claim for goal of the season had he not fired over the bar after playing three one-twos with teammates to fashion a chance.
Brennan's saves from Victoria and Stewart kept the scoreline at 3-0 as the sides went in for the half-time interval.
Airdrie's comfortable position, coupled with a number of substitutions, meant the second half lacked the intensity of the first, and much of the game was played out in midfield although Brennan had to be alert to deny Carrick a second on 56 minutes.
With 15 minutes remaining, the keeper did well to hold a fierce 30-yard strike from Kieran MacDonald, then Dean Cairns and Cammy Russell missed the target from decent positions.
The early goal blitz proved enough to see Airdrie comfortably through to the second round, and the Diamonds headed back north with a 3-0 victory in the bag for the second time in a few weeks.
Stuart Mathie at Shielfield Park.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.