July 3, 2021

NL Cup semi-final

Cumbernauld Colts

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Airdrieonians

Jordan Allan 90+2
Calum Gallagher 90+3

Airdrie left it late to book their place in the pre-season NL Cup tournament, but the Diamonds did it in style with two superb stoppage time finishes.

Calum Gallagher and substitute Jordan Allan were the men to hit the net in a 2-0 win, with the latter producing a wonderful overhead kick to open the scoring.

The Diamonds started with six close-season signings in the starting line-up, joined by a trialist striker upfront. A number of other trialists were listed on the substitute’s bench.

Wing-back Rico Quitongo was the first to impress, getting down the left flank after three minutes and flashing a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Rhys McCabe saw a curling effort deflected behind two minutes later, and Sam Wardrop saw a 15th-minute cross headed clear after strong play in the middle by Dylan Easton.

Wardrop was finding good space on the right, and it took the Colts trialist goalkeeper two attempts to gather his strike on 16 minutes.

The keeper was again called into action just after the half hour mark, tipping Easton’s free-kick round the post with the resultant corner cleared off the line.

Calum Gallagher got in on the action five minutes later, his shot well blocked after an incisive passing move by the Diamonds midfield.

Colts first chance of note came four minutes before the break, captain Stephen O’Neill heading well over after a surging attack down the right.

Airdrie’s trialist striker beat the offside trap just after half-time, but the ball squirmed out of his control allowing the goalkeeper to gather.

Ten minutes later Jordan Allan came on for his third Diamonds “debut”, eight years after his first bow - an astonishing statistic for the 22-year-old record breaker.

The striker looked lively as he instantly linked well with Gallagher upfront, a 58th-minute shot well saved by the keeper with skipper Callum Fordyce firing the loose ball narrowly over the bar.

Two further trialists came off the Airdrie bench to replace Easton and Josh Kerr before Currie was forced to save with his feet as a 75th-minute pass was intercepted.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes, a penalty shoot-out was beginning to look inevitable, although Airdrie continued to apply the pressure with Quitongo rifling wide before Allan was twice denied by good saves.

As a goalmouth scramble was cleared in the final minute, it seemed certain that the game would end goalless, but Allan had other ideas two minutes into stoppage time as Airdrie’s trialist defender nodded the ball into his path and the former Wolves man spun acrobatically to fire a superb overhead kick into the top corner.

Straight from the kick-off Airdrie intercepted a Colts attack and the ball found Gallagher in space. Taking a stride into the box, the Diamonds striker lashed home a second to put some gloss on the scoreline and send Airdrie into tomorrow’s final.

Stuart Mathie at Broadwood Stadium.

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