Edinburgh City end Betfred Cup campaign on high with win at Airdrie

Edinburgh City wrapped up their Betfred Cup campaign with a fine 1-0 victory over League One outfit Airdrie.
Blair Henderson scored the winner for Edinburgh City.Blair Henderson scored the winner for Edinburgh City.
Blair Henderson scored the winner for Edinburgh City.

Blair Henderson’s fifth-minute strike proved the difference between the teams at the Penny Cars Stadium as the Capital outfit, a division beneath the Diamonds, secured a Group H victory at the final time of asking.

With just a point to show from their previous three outings, the Citizens knew their hopes of a place in the last 16 were at an end.

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However, the win sees City move up to third in the group, although that could change depending on the outcome of this weekend’s results.

Manager James McDonaugh grasped the opportunity to reshuffle his side, making five changes from last weekend’s disappointing 2-0 League Two defeat at Stenhousemuir.

Lee Hamilton, Andy Black, Liam Brown, Michael Cunningham and matchwinner Henderson were restored to the starting line-up with Danny Handling, Rafa De Vita, Ouzy See, Gabby McGill and Marc Laird all dropping out.

The visitors were quick out of the blocks and found themselves ahead inside five minutes, Sam Newman’s cross from just inside the penalty area was expertly steered into the net by Henderson from eight yards.

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City grew in confidence and a neat touch from Henderson afforded on-loan Hibs midfielder Josh Campbell to try his luck from distance. However, the 20-year-old was slightly off balance and his effort screwed wide of goalkeeper David Hutton’s right-hand post.

Airdrie, emphatic 5-0 winners over Clyde five days ago, were largely wasteful in the final third and struggled to create anything of note inside the opening half hour.

However, Ian Murray’s side did threaten seven minutes before the half-time interval when Leon McCann’s athleticism carried the full-back deep into the visitors’ half. The youngster swung over a cross to the far post but striker Eoghan Stokes’ volley back across goal was waved wide by Calum Antell.

City let their opponents off the hook four minutes after the restart and what a chance it was. Campbell capitalised on some hesitation in the Airdrie rearguard to drive through on goal. But with just Hutton to beat, the player tried to burst the net only to send his shot high into the stand behind the goal much to the dismay of McDonaugh.

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Newman perhaps should have done better from a Campbell cross as the Capital men continued to drive forward before Thomas Robert, son of French and Newcastle winger Laurent, drew the first real save from Antell.

Welshman Antell's heroics from Dale Carrick’s point-blank header provided the impetus for his team-mates to see the game out, and despite some sustained pressure in and around the penalty box, the City defence stood firm.