18s v Ross County 18s | Match Report
by Karen Malcolm
Ayr United U18s were in CAS U18 League action on Friday evening (4 March), beating Ross County 5-1 at Townhead Park, Cumnock.
Morgan Stirling started between the sticks for Ayr with a central defensive partnership of Shane McNeish and Lewis Allan in front of him. The Honest Men were captained by Mackenzie Connelly.
Ayr took the lead after 15 mins when they were awarded a free-kick some 25 yards out. Jonathan McPhee played it short to Scott Tomlinson, who then returned it. McPhee then lifted the ball into the box, where a Ross County defender headed it behind himself, and Mackenzie Connelly met it. Connelly’s effort from a tight angle on the right found itself nestling in the left-hand side of the net.
Ayr doubled their lead 4 mins later when Dylan O’Kane played a corner into the centre of the box where striker Max Guthrie headed into the net from 6 yards out.
Ayr continued their fine attacking form, scoring another goal on 22 mins. After a short corner, the ball was played to O’Kane on the edge of the box. O’Kane’s shot went over the heads of the players in front of him, then in at the top right-hand corner. A superb strike.
4 mins later, and United got another. Guthrie drove down the left-hand side and into the box. The striker then took a shot that the keeper got down to save to his left, but Jonathan McPhee was there to tap in the rebound. 4 – 0 United.
On 30 mins, Ayr scored their 5th of the night. Guthrie played a cross into the box, which was met by Dario Viviani. Viviani’s first attempt was blocked, but he reacted quickly to hit the rebound into the net, giving Ayr a comfortable lead going into halftime.
The visitors responded quickly in the second half and got a goal back in the first 2 mins when a shot from inside the box went into the net.
Ayr were forced into their first substitution 3 mins into the second half when the injured McNeish went off and was replaced by Harry Simpson. This substitution saw captain Connelly move back into the defence to partner Allan while Simpson took up Connelly’s role in midfield.
The Honest Men made four further substitutions throughout the second half, with Kennedy, Dreghorn, Strachan, and Wilson replacing Guthrie, McPhee, O’Kane, Weir.
United continued to make chances, the highlights being from Connelly who saw his attempt go just wide of the post, and a Viviani shot from just inside the box being saved at the top left-hand corner by the keeper.
The Honest Men capitalised on a very positive attacking period in the first half that saw them score 5 goals in 15 mins, giving them a comfortable victory over their visitors from Dingwall.
Ayr United Team
Stirling, Weir, Johnston, Connelly, McNeish, Allan, McPhee, Tomlinson, Guthrie, Viviani, O’Kane Substitutes: Fraser (GK), Dreghorn, Kennedy, Simpson, Strachan, Wilson, Pryce
Ayr United 5 Ross County 0
Ayr United 5 Ross County 1
Ayr United Goals
15’ Mackenzie Connelly
19’ Max Guthrie
22’ Dylan O’Kane
26’ Jonathan McPhee
30’ Dario Viviani