Wednesday July 24, 2019

Betfred Cup Group F

Airdrieonians

2-2

Nat Wedderburn 54

Calum Gallagher 82

Queen's Park

Ciaran Summers 6

Jack Purdue 74

A lengthy penalty shoot-out saw Airdrie grab the bonus point after a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Queen’s Park.

 

After twice fighting back from going behind, goals from Nat Wedderburn and Calum Gallacher helped Airdrieonians to finish the match level before taking an additional point from the penalty shoot-out, but the two points may not be enough to see them reach the knockout stages.   

 

Queen’s Park took the lead on six minutes after Alfredo Agyeman outfoxed Josh Kerr on the touchline, cutting the ball back for Ciaran Summers to hammer his shot high into the net.

 

Two minutes later a dangerous low curling free-kick from Summers asked questions of the home defence, but this time the Diamonds were able to clear the ball away.

 

Airdrie’s first chance came on 17 minutes after an excellent run by Craig Thomson from the right-hand side took him into the box, his cut-back finding Callum Smith who watched his shot skew off the outside of Willie Muir’s left post.

 

An Adam Eckersley free kick picked out Sean Crighton in the box but the Airdrie captain’s header, although on target, was claimed by Muir.

 

After 25 minutes, Ally Roy worked well to give himself space 25 yards out, though his shot was blocked and landed kindly for Muir.

 

Airdrie had a couple of penalty shouts waved away, while in between a speculative long-range attempt by Salim Kouider-Aïssa was well wide.

 

With five minutes of the half remaining another effort from Roy from outside the box saw Muir make the save again.

 

Good play form Kieran Millar set up Smith for the final chance of the half on the 42-minute mark, but he sent his shot wide of goal.

 

After the interval the home side went searching for a goal to level matters.

 

Following a number of crosses into the box, Queens appeared to make a block with an arm on 50 minutes but play continued.

 

Eventually, four minutes later, after a cross from the left was punched clear by Muir well beyond the penalty box, the return ball was controlled by Nat Wedderburn who steered into the net for the equaliser.

 

Queens served notice that they were still in the match on 56 minutes when Jack Purdue tested David Hutton with a 20-yard free kick, with the keeper doing well to get down to his right to push the ball away.

 

Airdrie thought they might have a penalty at the fourth time of asking on 63 minutes when Smith appeared to taken down but their shouts went the way of those before.

 

Ally Roy tested Muir twice in a matter of minutes, the first after Eckersley passed the ball into his path and the other after good work by Smith. The former Airdrie keeper was equal to both.

 

On 74 minutes the Spiders were back in front, Purdue showing great feet inside the box before curling the ball into the postage stamp corner of the net, giving Hutton no chance.

 

An inspired substitution saw Calum Gallagher come on to replace Sean Crighton with ten minutes left. 

 

Three minutes later the forward was on the end of a long throw which was headed on to the back post for Gallagher to touch the ball into the net.

 

As both sides searched for a winner Dale Carrick headed over from close range on 84 minutes, while twice in stoppage time Purdue fired in a couple of impressive efforts which struck the bar and went over.   

 

With the final whistle came penalties, with Hutton saving the first from David Galt while Callum Smith struck the post with Airdrie’s third. The shoot-out continued with everyone scoring including both keepers.

 

Hutton saved from Summers and Carrick scored for  a 12-11 win and the bonus point.

 

A win over Hamilton on Saturday may earn one of the top four runners-up spots, but the final outcome will depend on what happens elsewhere.        

John O'Brien at the Penny Cars Stadium.

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

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