Brophy’s extra-time goal steers Ross County past battling Airdrieonians

Ross County avoided a cup exit with an extra winner.

Eamonn Brophy’s extra-time goal steers Ross County past battling Airdrieonians SNS Group

Ross County booked their place in the last-eight of the Viaplay Cup with a dramatic 4-3 extra-time victory over Airdrieonians.

The Staggies struck twice inside the opening 10 minutes to hold a commanding lead, although Callum Gallagher found the net to give the hosts hope.

Simon Murray was on target minutes later to restore the two-goal advantage for Malky Mackay’s side but they would be stunned as their cinch Championship opponents launched a dramatic fightback late in the second half.

Gallagher calmly despatched a penalty with nine minutes remaining and the Diamonds would level matters in the final minute when Josh O’Connor seized on some poor defending to drill the ball home.

It would take extra time to settle matters and substitute Eamonn Brophy was the hero for the Premiership side, heading home to secure their place in the quarter-final stage for the first time since 2020.

County opened the scoring after six minutes with the first meaningful attempt on goal in the match, Murray laying the ball on to Kyle Turner to curl a brilliant shot beyond Josh Rae.

The visitors doubled their advantage two minutes later and this time Turner turned provider for Jordan White who was perfectly placed to slide the ball home from close range.

The visitors survived a scare when Ross Laidlaw had to tip Jack Baldwin’s sliced clearance behind for a corner before the visitors’ goalkeeper then produced an excellent point blank stop to prevent Aaron Taylor-Sinclair from narrowing the deficit.

After a poor start, Airdrie were finally settling into the match and Murray Aiken went close after an impressive surge into the box.

The hosts got their reward for their attacking pressure when Adam Frizzell fizzed the ball across the face of goal for Gallagher, who made no mistake with a powerful finish.

Airdrie’s reprieve was to be short lived however, just three minutes after reducing their arrears, Murray got the better of Taylor-Sinclair and the striker then shot past Rae to give County some breathing space.

Craig Watson saw his effort drift just past the post as the Diamonds threatened in the opening exchanges of the second half but they would find chances increasingly difficult to come by as the game progressed.

They would be handed a late lifeline when Steven McLean awarded a penalty after Baldwin took down sub O’Connor, and Gallagher made no mistake in tucking away the resulting spot-kick.

Buoyed by Gallagher’s goal, the home fans urged their team on and O’Connor gave them what they wanted when he took advantage of confusion in the County back line and slammed the ball low beyond Laidlaw to ensure at least another 30 minutes.

The visitors restored their advantage with four minutes left in the first half of extra time, Brophy meeting Dylan Smith’s cross with a diving header that left the Airdrie keeper with no chance.

The final minutes saw the County penalty box bombarded with crosses but their defence would hold firm to secure their place in the next round.

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