Betfred Cup Roundup: Annan and Montrose pick up shock victories

Annan's Aidan Smith scores to make it 1-0 against Hamilton. Pic: SNS/Sammy Turner
Annan's Aidan Smith scores to make it 1-0 against Hamilton. Pic: SNS/Sammy Turner
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League Two side Annan Athletic administered the biggest shock of the opening weekend of the Betfred Cup group stages, as Aidan Smith’s 60th minute header earned a 1-0 victory over top-flight Hamilton Academical at Galabank.

On as a substitute only a few moments earlier, Smith struck with his first touch to head home a Ryan Sinnamon cross to stun Accies, Group F’s top seeds.

Elsewhere, in Group A, 2016 winners Ross County started with a comfortable 2-0 win over Elgin City courtesy of strikes from new signings Declan McManus and Josh Mullin.

Group B witnessed the second biggest shock of the afternoon as Falkirk fell to a 1-0 loss at the hands of last season’s League Two champions Montrose.

The visitors’ winner arrived in the 19th minute as Martin Rennie, inset, finished impressively.

In Group C, Inverness Caledonian Thistle enjoyed a straightforward 2-0 success against Cove Rangers of the Highland League.

Nathan Austin scored twice for the Caley Jags in the opening period.

In the same section, Cowdenbeath emerged with a surprising 2-0 triumph away to Fife rivals Raith Rovers, with Jordyn Sheerin netting a second-half double.

At Glebe Park, Brechin City and Peterhead played out a largely forgettable 0-0 draw in Group D, after which Peterhead earned a bonus point thanks to a penalty shoot-out success as Brechin’s Giuliano Morena saw his spot-kick decisively saved by Greg Fleming in the Peterhead goal.

In Group E, Ayr United came from behind to record an excellent 3-1 win over Championship rivals Morton in which Lawrence Shankland scored a hat-trick.

Michael Tidser’s free-kick gave Morton the opening goal after just 14 minutes,but Shankland headed Ayr level soon after the restart after which a fortuitous cross-come-shot and sublime chip steered the Honest Men to a two-goal winning margin.

Elsewhere in the same group, the third Championship side in this group, Partick Thistle, registered a 2-0 win at Stenhousemuir courtesy of Shea Gordon’s early double.

Blair Spittal set up Gordon for the opener inside two minutes and the latter doubled his tally with a measured chip four minutes later.

The highest scoring encounter of the afternoon came in Group G as Queen of the South ran out 5-3 victors over Stranraer in Dumfries.

The away side had taken a surprise two-goal lead inside the opening ten minutes as first Chris McGowan and then Luke Donnelly benefitted from a sleepy Queens rearguard.

However, Gary Harkins pulled on back for the hosts in the 41st minute and their equaliser followed almost immediately when Harkins teed up Stephen Dobbie to level terms.

There was still time for the Doonhamers to take the lead before the interval through Lyndon Dykes.

Andy Stirling’s 64th minute effort gave Queens a two-goal cushion which was briefly halved by Stranraer’s Kyle Turner only for Dobbie to score his second goal of what was a tremendous game with three minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Martin McNiff’s last-gasp leveller earned a 1-1 draw for Clyde against Edinburgh City for whom Conrad Balatoni had opened the scoring in the 44th minute.

City bounced back swiftly from that late setback to emerge with a 4-1 success in the shoot-out to earn a consolatory bonus point.

In Group H, Spartans held on for a credible 0-0 draw against League Two Dumbarton albeit the Sons did muster a bonus point as Grant Adam saved from Jamie Dishington in the shootout.