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McDonald brace eases Airdrie to victory over Lothian

Airdrieonians FC 3

McDonald 52' 79' Stewart 56'

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 1

Fox 57'
  • Sunday, 20 September 2015
  • Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
  • Under 20´s
  • Little Big Shot Scottish FA Youth Cup

 
Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author
 

Scroll down for video footage courtesy of Gary Fox
 
Airdrieonians progressed to the third round of the Little Big Shot Scottish Youth Cup thanks to a Scott Stewart strike sandwiched between two Daniel McDonald goals. Ryan Fox got one back for Hutchison Vale but it was a comfortable 3-1 victory for the home side who controlled the game throughout.
 
Having started slowly in the league, without a win yet from their first three games, Airdrieonians looked hungry to put that disappointment behind them and make a fist of it in the cup competitions. Tricky winger Nicky Cadden was first to make an impression, turning his marker, and leaving him on the ground, before flashing a cross in front of goal that was begging to be turned in but missed everyone. 
 
With the game being played on the 3G surface at the Excelsior Stadium, both teams looked to utilise a short passing game, choosing to keep the ball and play it around at the back rather than aim long balls up front. One exception to this was Airdrie’s Reece Glackin, who, playing in the defensive midfield role in front of the back four, would look to pick a pinpoint pass over the top when possible. He found fellow centre mid David Ramsay with one early on after a well-timed run but his lobbed finish was narrowly over.
 
Long throws were a favoured weapon of Airdrie to get the ball into the box, with Conor Bell on the left and Kyle Richford on the right both well armed. A Richford throw was headed out by Jack Cook but only as far as his opposite number Stewart who found time in the box to take a touch, turn with the ball and fire a low shot that was held at the second attempt by Byron Gibb in the Hutchy goal. An omen of things to come from Stewart.
 
With Airdrie dominating possession it was difficult for Hutchison Vale to build a move up from the back, but they got a chance to attack when Arran Wood caught an Airdrie midfielder in possession and burst forward into the final third. He passed to Fox who under pressure from the defence, didn’t get a hold of his shot and it was an easy first save for Rohan Ferguson. 
 
Pressing the Airdrie midfield paid dividends again for Hutchy when Elliot Taylor won the ball and drove forward but he was stopped in his tracks by an excellent tackle from Dean Cairns.
 
Cadden was proving a handful for the Hutchy defence, as the left-winger regularly found himself cutting inside or even popping up on the right-wing when the opportunity presented itself. Also the set-piece taker, he fired a free-kick into the wall from the edge of the box and then volleyed the rebound a yard over the bar, before repeating the trick almost exactly a few minutes later from open play, Adrian Shala with the block this time. 
 
Richford also had a couple of opportunities in quick succession to break the deadlock. First from Cadden’s outswinging corner, but the ball appeared to catch the back of his head and spun wide. Then he was on the end of some good build-up play down the inside-left between Ramsay and McDonald, and one-on-one with the keeper he shot early and it was saved by the feet of Gibb. 
 
Following the pattern of the first half for Hutchison Vale attacks, Fox, dropping deep to press the midfield, won the ball with a slide tackle that automatically released Taylor on goal but he was stopped by a last ditch tackle from Cairns. Taylor was quick to get back on the loose ball and played it back to Fox who had pushed up to help but it was that man Cairns again with another excellent block and this time his fellow defenders helped clear the ball to safety.
 
With half time growing closer, Airdrie right-back John Higgins cut inside and played a curling cross that missed the head of McDonald but was still on target, forcing Gibb to react quickly and make a smart reaction save. McDonald did get his head on the end of a corner just after but couldn’t get his effort on target.
 
No goals at half time but plenty of action. Whilst Airdrie dominated possession and carved out the better opportunities, they had moments of sloppiness in the midfield that presented chances to Hutchison Vale. Had it not been for the resilient defending of Cairns, young goalkeeper Ferguson would have been tested more significantly. In the other goal, Gibb was keeping Hutchy alive, particularly in the face of an excellent performance from Cadden.
  • Half Time:
  • Airdrieonians FC
  • 0-0
  • Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
There were no changes for the second half, in teams or play, as Airdrie picked up where they left off. Richford with a fantastic run down the left wing, fired off a shot across goal that beat the keeper and looked goalbound but for a great sliding interception from Lewis Swaney who, with the goal gaping in front of him, was fortunate to see the ball bounce off him and go wide.
 
Swaney then found himself in play at the other end. Having been involved in a previous attack that broke down, he was still meandering back when Fox won the ball and passed it forward to him. His turn and shot was blocked by a defender and Fox blazed the rebound over.
 
In the early stages of the match it looked as though Glackin, playing in the so-called “quarterback” role, and pinging balls over the top for the strikers to run onto might be a main feature of the game however he had quietened down for much of the first half. On cue, with Hutchison Vale looking like growing into the game, he lofted a perfect pass over the top for McDonald to gather and, despite the calls of offside from the away players, finish neatly past the goalkeeper at the near post. It was a lovely bit of play from Glackin, with the ball perfectly timed to outwit the Hutchy defence who were running out and trying to play offside.
 
Confidence boosted, Airdrie found another goal a few minutes later. Cadden’s inswinging corner was headed out by Ryan Hutchison but only as far as Stewart who, in a carbon copy of the first half, turned on the ball and fired off a shot which this time ended up in the back of the net.
 
At this point it looked like the floodgates might open for Airdrie who had finally turned their possessional dominance into goals but incredibly Hutchison Vale were back in the game within a minute. It was Swaney and Fox linking up again, with the left-back’s bursting run and then perfectly weighted through ball sending Fox into the box where he was brought down by the chasing Airdrie defender. Fox dusted himself off to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and put Hutchy back within a goal.
 
Cadden was still a danger for Airdrie in the second-half, but now he was also switching wings with substitute Conor McLaughlin and causing problems for both full-backs. He also hit the bar directly from a corner as Airdrie pushed to reclaim their two goal advantage.
 
Hutchy had Cook to thank for keeping it close with a great block from Ramsay who had found himself inside the box and was about to play a ball across goal with several of his teammates unmarked at the far post. However the away side looked to be tiring and it wasn’t long before the third goal came for Airdrie.
 
And it was an excellent team goal for The Diamonds that sealed the match. Richford picked the ball up in the middle of the pitch and instantly drove forward before passing wide to Cadden. He cut inside with a drop of the shoulder before slipping the ball to Ramsay on the left side of the box who found Richford, who had continued his run, on the edge of the 6-yard box. He forced a good save from Gibb with the first time shot but McDonald was on hand to knock home his second from close range.
 
With only 10 minutes left to play, it was the killer blow for Hutchison Vale. They had performed admirably defensively, particularly in the first half, with Hutchison and Swaney quick to start breaks from the wing-back positions. However, it was mostly counter-attacks they were restricted to due and whenever they did get into good attacking positions they were up against an absolute rock at the back in Cairns who didn’t let anything go by him.
 
Airdrie advance to the next round of the Scottish Cup with a display built on solid defending but not lacking in inventive attacking, particularly from Cadden, although their coach will be pleased to see so many of his team involved in the great play for the third goal and they'll hope to carry this performance into their league form.
  • Full Time:
  • Airdrieonians FC
  • 3-1
  • Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale

Lineups

Airdrieonians FC
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
1. Rohan Ferguson
2. John Higgins
3. Conor Bell
4. Dean Cairns
5. Scott Stewart
6. Reece Glackin
7. Murray Loudon
8. David Ramsay
9. Kyle Richford
10. Daniel McDonald
11. Nicky Cadden
12. Ross Gemmel 14. Conor McLaughlin
15. Kieron McGrory
16. Ciaran Reilly
17. Matthew Kerr
1. Byron Gibb
2. Ryan Hutchison
3. Lewis Swaney
4. Adrian Shala
5. Jack Cook
6. Sam Birch
7. Cairon Young
8. Jordan Mungall
9. Ryan Fox
10. Arran Wood
11. Elliot Taylor
12. Thomas Simpson
14. Thomas Prior
15. Samuel Whamburo
16. Joseph Viola
Star Player
Airdrieonians FC
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
A sea of good performances for Airdrie but the standout player was centre-half Dean Cairns. It could have been a different game without Cairns blocking almost every attack from Hutchy and providing an impenetrable wall for goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson.
Ryan Fox. Involved in everything positive from Hutchison Vale - it was him pressing on the midfield and winning possession to create opportunities as well as running at defenders and winning, and scoring, the penalty.
Magic Moment
Airdrieonians FC
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
The third goal for Airdrie killed the game as a contest and was a fantastic display of movement and passing. Great interchanges of play and smart off the ball movement showed the star quality of the Airdrie attack.
A driving run from left-back Swaney topped off by the perfectly weighted through ball for Fox to run onto created the opportunity for Hutchy to get back into the game with the penalty. Then Fox was cool as a cucumber to send the goalie the wrong way.
Club Views
Airdrieonians FC
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
Iain King, chief executive: "I was delighted. It was frustrating at times because they came with a game plan, they sat in, and sometimes younger players can get frustrated in games like that and we could have been a bit more patient in our play but I thought they did well.

I thought Dean Cairns was outstanding. He's been on the bench for the first team a few times and he's doing really well at this level.

Hutchison gave a very good account of themselves and were very dogged so we're pleased to get through."
Match Video Highlights
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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