Saturday November 23, 2019

William Hill Scottish Cup round 3

Albion Rovers

1-4

Sean Crighton OG 51

Airdrieonians

Kurtis Roberts 13

Sean Crighton 60, 83

Kyle MacDonald 87

Sean Crighton scored an unfortunate own goal at the Reigart Stadium - but the Diamonds captain stepped up to send his side through to the Scottish Cup fourth round draw with an impressive brace in a 4-1 win over Albion Rovers.

It was the first meeting between the Monklands rivals in over 18 months, with the Coatbridge side now plying their trade in League Two, but as always it was a well attended and keenly contested affair.

Airdrie made one enforced change from the line-up which has started the last three matches, Ally Roy replacing the injured Calum Gallagher up front.

Midfielder Kieran Millar was denied by Rovers keeper Ryan Goodfellow in the opening minute after a fast break down the right flank by Callum Smith.

The former Dunfermline goalie was in action again three minutes later, blocking from Roy before the striker headed the loose ball into the side netting.

Airdrie's attacking start paid off on 14 minutes, Kurtis Roberts clearing an Albion corner to Smith then running the length of the park to get on the end of the striker's cute through ball and lift the ball over Goodfellow for the opening goal.

Roy was in a good position again just after the half-hour mark, playing a one-two with Dale Carrick before shooting narrowly wide.

The home side's best chance of the first half fell to defender Bryan Wharton, who got on the end of Crighton's headed clearance but blazed his strike well over David Hutton's crossbar.

The Diamonds could have added a second just before the break as Paul McKay's header looped towards goal, but Rovers had men on the post and cleared the danger.

Seven minutes after the restart the hosts were level. Midfielder Scott Roberts jumped for an inswinging corner but seemed to miss his header and the ball ricocheted off Crighton and beyond Hutton.

Undettered, Airdrie continued to attack and only an outstanding Goodfellow save denied Carrick a headed goal to put his side back in front three minutes later.

Shortly after the hour mark, Crighton atoned for his error by putting the Diamonds back in front, and the defender did it in style, meeting Callum Fordyce's flick from McKay's throw and sending a thunderous volley into the net.

Although scrappy in spells, the game was beginning to resemble a traditional cup tie, and as Rovers broke on 68 minutes it took a superb last-ditch tackle from Leon McCann to prevent a great opportunity to equalise again.

Following a good run down the left and a well-placed cutback, Daniel Scally fired in a low shot which looked certain to find the net, but Hutton was down to make a fine save.

Callum Smith passed up a couple of decent chances before turning provider for Airdrie's third, chipping the ball across the face of goal for Crighton to rifle home his second from close range.

With the clock ticking down, Airdrie added a fourth with Kyle MacDonald grabbing his first goal for the Diamonds. Another dangerous long throw from McKay was only cleared as far as the edge of the box, and MacDonald steered a powerful volley through the crowd of players and into the net.

The final scoreline may seem slightly harsh on Kevin Harper's men who put on a plucky display, but the Diamonds' quality shone through in difficult conditions and a real captain's performance saw Airdrie into the hat for the fourth round draw.

Stuart Mathie at the Reigart Stadium.

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

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