By David Coates:
Queen’s Park made it back to back cup wins after stunning first division Airdrie Utd in extra time.
Having defeated Berwick Rangers on penalties in the Ramsden Cup last weekend they only needed an extra 30 minutes this time around to send Airdrie out of the Scottish Communities League Cup.
At their temporary home for the day at Firhill, Queen’s Park looked to be heading out trailing 2-1 with just minutes left.
But 16 year old youth academy graduate Lawrence Shankland fired a superb dipping volley to force extra time.
Then defender James Brough bundled home the winner on 104 minutes to send Queen’s through, leaving manager Gardner Spiers thrilled.
He said: “I don’t think we had any failures. Everybody played their part to help us get through and we are delighted by that.”
Spiers also heaped praise on Lawrence Shankland’s stunning goal.
He added: “He is a talented boy. We by passed the 19s and went straight to 17s. He’s got the physical stature and he’s got a good temperament. He has got the composure in there and the skill at this level to do it.”
Airdrie started the brighter with a striker Paul Di Giacomo firing a 25 yard shot which was tipped over the crossbar by Queen’s Park keeper Neil Parry.
The best chance of the half for Queen’s Park fell to defender James Brough. A great whipped in corner from Owen Ronald picked out Brough who couldn’t direct his header on target.
Airdrie thought they had taken the lead midway through the first half. Neat play between McLaren and Di Giacomo eventually set up John Boyle who tapped the ball into the net only for the assistant’s flag to go up for offside.
Neither side could find the breakthrough in the opening half but it only took two minutes of the second half for the deadlock to be broken.
A great cross from Willie McLaren found the run of midfielder Nathan Brockley who planted a header past Neil Parry to give Airdrie the lead.
Queen’s Park refused to let their heads go down and where almost level when David Anderson headed just over the crossbar.
They were level just after the hour mark. A corner wasn’t dealt with by the Airdrie defence; the ball broke to James Brough who fired the ball past a sea of bodies to put the Spiders on terms.
However the Glasgow side were on terms for just six minutes as substitute Alan Cook put the Diamonds in the lead once more.
Striker John Boyle teed up Cooke who fired the ball into the net with the Queen’s Park defence gone missing.
Airdrie then came within inches off booking a place in the second round. Striker Ryan Donnelly went clean through but had his shot saved by Parry. The ball broke back to the striker who squared it to McLaren but his shot was heroically cleared off the line by Queen’s defender Ricky Little.
Then with just two minutes left Queen’s Park forced extra time through a moment of magic.
A corner from Sean Burns was headed away by the Airdrie defence. The ball broke to substitute Lawrence Shankland who dinked a volley over the despairing Kenny Arthur in the Airdrie goal.
Airdrie could have won it in stoppage time after a cross from Alan Cook almost picked out John Boyle but he couldn’t connect for a tap in at the back post.
Extra time was needed and the first period belonged to Queen’s Park. A cross from Shankland almost picked out Tony Quinn who couldn’t get on the end of it.
But on 104 minutes Queen’s Park went in front for the first time. A whipped corner by Burns wasn’t cleared away by the Airdrie defence; the ball broke to James Brough who bundled the ball into the net.
Airdrie pushed for an equaliser in the second period of extra time leaving them open for counter attacks by Queen’s Park.
Sean Burns picked out Shankland but his shot was sliced just wide as Queen’s searched for the goal which would have sealed it.
However they didn’t need to as Airdrie couldn’t find an equaliser to force penalties as they tumbled out of the League Cup at the first hurdle.
Airdrie manager Jimmy Boyle felt Willie McLaren’s shot being cleared off the line changed the game.
He said: “The changing point in the game was when we were 2-1 up. Ryan Donnelly is away through and puts a square ball to McLaren but his effort was cleared off the line. That was probably the turning point in the game.
“Credit to Queen’s Park they kept going however if we defend like that in the first division we are going to find it really difficult.”
Star man: James Brough
Queen’s Park: Parry, Monaghan (Burns 70), Bradley, Little, Brough, Keenan, Ronald (Shankland 79), Anderson (Capuano 118), Quinn, Longworth, Robertson
Subs not used: Sinclair, Lochhead
Airdrie: Arthur, Hart, Warren, MacDonald, Lilley, Lynch, McLaren (Gilchrist 82), Blockley, Di Giacomo (Donnelly 65), Boyle, Griffin (Cook 60)
Subs not used: Buchanan, Duncan
Referee: Stephen Finnie