Saturday July 13, 2019

Betfred Cup Group F

Partick Thistle

1-0

Sean Crighton own goal 66

Airdrieonians

The Diamonds went down by a goal to nil despite a good showing in the Betfred Cup opener.

 

Airdrieonians’ new look side were beaten by Partick Thistle as the competition started inside the first fortnight of July.

 

The Diamonds' last win at Firhill was back in May 2009, and for the third time in the Betfred Cup, the sides were separated by a single goal in favour of Thistle.

 

Kenny Miller led the opposition frontline just as he had done last season for Livingston when the season got underway.

 

With three minutes gone Adam Eckersley’s corner was knocked away from Sean Crighton as he raced in to meet the ball. 

 

At the other end former Diamond Joe Cardle’s knockdown set up defender James Penrice with a shooting opportunity and his powerful 25-yard effort was well saved by David Hutton. 

 

Airdrie looked relatively solid at the back as the home side had the early possession. Cardle was constantly cutting inside on his right although he saw his shots blocked and cleared or coming back off a team-mate.

 

Craig Thomson was comfortable taking on his marker and beating him for pace, as he did on ten minutes - but his angled shot after getting into the box lacked power as keeper Jamie Sneddon collected the ball.

 

Crighton’s passback after 11 minutes appeared short and he was thankful for Hutton coming out to block Lewis Mansell as his shot went out for a corner.

 

While Thomson and Calum Gallagher were working well on the right, the final ball into the box lacked the threat and were either overhit or cleared. 

 

With 17 minutes played after a foul on Eckersley on the left, Ally Roy’s back post delivery picked out an unmarked Crighton who headed the ball powerfully but into the ground, allowing Sneddon to gather. 

 

Gallagher continued to work hard and put Thomas O’Ware under pressure with a powerful driven cross which the defender sent just over the top of his own goal.

 

After Cardle won a free-kick 25 yards out on 21 minutes, he could only curly his attempt well over Hutton’s goal. 

 

As the home side tried to build up some pressure Shea Gordon’s 23rd minute 20-yard shot was blocked then the ball fell kindly for Hutton, and three minutes later Gordon met Ryan Willamson’s cross with Kenny Miller's follow-up attempt looping over the top of the goal. 

 

Hutton was proving to be a stumbling block as he showed fine positioning to gather or turn behind anything on target.

 

Eight minutes from the interval successive crunching challenges by Eckersley led to an Airdrie break upfield. Roy carried the ball as the Diamonds had three on two, then slid a pass left to Dale Carrick. The striker went one way then the other before blasting the ball high over the goal.

 

On 39 minutes, Hutton again proved himself equal to all Cardle could deliver when he made the initial save from a curling shot then gathered at the second attempt.

 

After the restart Partick went close two minutes in after Crighton blocked Mansell’s shot then Miller sent the rebound wide of goal.

 

Some eye-catching goalkeeping followed from Hutton, getting down quickly to grab a through ball as Sean McGinty raced into the box after 49 minutes, cleanly taking Miller’s 50th minute volley then touching a McGinty curling shot over his bar in 55 minutes, making another fine save after substitute Cammy Palmer’s 57th minute shot looked netbound.

 

The Airdrie keeper denied Cardle once again in the 62nd minute from an angled shot, followed by another save from Stuart Bannigan’s 25-yard drive.

 

McGinty and Miller combined to test Hutton once more from a tight angle with the ball going out for a corner. With 66 minutes played, Cardle’s delivery fell into the group of players inside the six yard box with O’Ware being credited with sending the ball into the net, although the goal was later awarded as a Sean Crighton own goal.

 

Penrice fired a shot well over the target on 72 minutes after being put clear in the box on the left side.

 

Airdrie substitute Euan O’Reilly curled a great ball in from the left which clipped the crossbar on the way over on 73 minutes.

 

A great ball into the box from Cardle on the left picked out substitute Evan Galasso who sent his 76th minute header wide to the right.

 

Miller’s front post flick from a corner with ten minutes left rolled across the face of goal.  

 

In the closing five minutes Airdrie threatened. Calum Fordyce could only send an Eckersley free kick over the Thistle goal, before Eckersley himself sent a long-range speculative effort over the top.

 

In time added on Carrick and Crighton went close to squaring the match but Carrick’s header from Crighton’s knock went wide.

 

Lessons learned for the Diamonds, and there was much to be pleased with, in particular the ability to produce slick passing plays and confidence on the ball in defence and attack. 

John O'Brien at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill

Match photography by John Steven. Click images to view full size.

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