Wednesday October 8, 2020

Betfred Cup Group H

Airdrieonians

0-2

Alloa Athletic

Alan Trouten 14 pen
Robert Thomson 69

A goal in either half gave Alloa an opening day Betfred Cup win over Airdrie, who were unlucky to find ex-Diamond Neil Parry in top form.

Alan Trouten’s controversial penalty put the visitors in front, but the Diamonds rallied well and enjoyed a good spell of dominance before substitute Robert Thomson sealed the win for the Wasps.

Competitive debuts were handed to Max Currie and Griffin Sabatini, with fellow new boys Eoghan Stokes and Thomas Robert also making their bow as second half substitutes.

There were five former Airdrie men in Peter Grant’s starting line-up, Steven Hetherington, Adam Brown and Liam Buchanan joining Parry and Trouten in returning to their old stomping ground.

It was Alloa who got an early foothold in the game, but Diamonds captain Sean Crighton was leading by example at the back as the home side kept clear-cut chances to a minimum.

The Wasps were awarded a 12th-minute penalty when Adam Brown’s cross struck the arm of Craig Thomson on the bye-line. There was little the midfielder could have done to get prevent the contact at such close range, but referee Steven Reid pointed to the spot nonetheless and up stepped Trouten to send Currie the wrong way with a well taken penalty.

The goal sparked Airdrie into action, and Alloa were forced to defend in numbers two minutes later as Dale Carrick and Leon McCann launched an attack.

McCann was finding space down the left channel, and whipped in a superb cross for Paul McKay on 19 minutes, with the midfielder just unable to stretch enough to get a touch.

It was Airdrie’s turn to appeal for a penalty two minutes later, Crighton’s header coming back off the arm of Scott Taggart, but the referee was unmoved despite the Diamonds’ protests.

Goalscorer Trouten then found himself through on goal following Taggart’s long ball, but the striker snatched at his shot and pulled the effort well wide of goal.

Ally Roy peeled away from his marker to send an angled strike just past the post on 32 minutes, but it was to be the in-form striker’s last action of the match as he landed awkwardly five minutes later, eventually leaving the field on a stretcher after lengthy treatment on the touchline.

Currie’s reflexes were tested as half-time approached, a deflection on Adam Brown’s strike forcing the keeper to adjust his position to make a vital stop before seeing a Jon Robertson effort wide.

Airdrie finished the half strongly, Callum Fordyce nodding into Parry’s arms following a setpiece and substitute Calum Gallagher firing just wide from the tightest of angles.

The push for an equaliser continued after the break, and former Airdrie keeper Parry was in fine form as the Diamonds pressed high up the park.

Four minutes in, Carrick picked up a loose ball outside the box and rifled in a shot which was superbly tipped over the bar.

Gallagher’s header from McKay’s cross two minutes later was agonisingly close before the striker forced another top save from Parry with a vicious 25-yard strike.

Airdrie had further penalty claims as Gallagher went down in the box on 57 minutes, although the appeal was less convincing this time round.

The Diamonds continues to press, with Crighton joining the attack just after the hour mark and whipping in a fine cross which Taggart bundled behind before Gallagher could get a touch.

The Wasps made a triple substitution, and the physical presence of former Morton striker Robert Thomson made an early impression as the striker forced his way into the box and sent an angled strike against the post.

It was Thomson who grabbed a second for Alloa against the run of play, getting up highest to nod a looping Robertson cross beyond Currie and into the net.

With the goal robbing Airdrie of their impressive momentum, play swung from end to end as the clock ticked down.

Griffin Sabatini’s shot was palmed away by Parry before McKay picked up Thomas Robert’s corner at the near post and clipped the upright with a hooked effort.

Currie covered his front post well with seven minutes remaining, blocking Lee Connolly’s cross-shot.

Robert was showing flashes of quality as Airdrie tried to pull one back, firing just wide on 86-minutes before linking with fellow substitute Eoghan Stokes only to see the safe hands of Parry nullify the danger.

Stokes had the final effort for the home side, but his stoppage-time effort cleared the crossbar.

Although the final whistle signalled no Betfred group points for the Diamonds, there were signs of promise as they dominated their Championship counterparts for long spells between the visitors’ goals - and were it not for some good goalkeeping from an ex-Diamond, the result could well have been different.

Stuart Mathie at Penny Cars Stadium.

Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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