18s v Ross County | Match Report | 06/05/22
By Karen Malcolm
On Friday afternoon, Ayr United Under 18s travelled to Dingwall for their final CAS U18 League game of the season, beating Ross County 1-0.
The Ayr squad was slightly smaller than usual due to several players sitting an SQA exam. One of those players sitting exams was regular starter, CJ Johnston. In his absence, Dylan Watret came into the starting eleven to occupy the left-back slot. Tyler Fraser started in between the sticks for the Honest Men, while Ryan Kennedy started on the right wing.
With 15 mins played, Max Guthrie saw two headers towards goal denied by excellent saves from the young Ross County keeper.
Ayr looked to have taken the lead in the 22nd min, Dylan O'Kane heading into the net from the edge of the box. To Ayr's dismay, celebrations were cut short as the referee signalled for offside.
The scores remained at 0 - 0 as the match reached halftime. Ayr came out for the second half with the clear intent of grabbing an early goal.
45 secs into the second half, Dylan O'Kane came close to giving Ayr the lead. The winger made his way past several players; however, his effort went just wide of the post.
Just 2 mins later, the Honest Men got the goal they deserved, and it was no ordinary goal. Take a bow Dario Viviany for one of those moments that shuts down the 'Goal of the Season' competition in one strike.
Under pressure from a Ross County midfielder, Viviani used his body strength to tear the ball away before making a great solo run down the left wing, leaving two Ross County players trailing in his wake. He then cut inside before curling a 30-yard screamer into the top right-hand corner of the net. A truly outstanding goal.
Ayr made their first substitution in the 57th min when Bruce Strachan replaced Ryan Kennedy.
In the 60th min, a Max Guthrie header appeared to be going into the net, but the ball was cleared off the line, resulting in strong claims from the United contingent that a Ross County player had used his hand. The referee waved the claims away.
Ayr made a second substitution in the 61st min when Jack Pryce replaced Aaron Weir. United's 3rd and final substitution came 15 mins later when Shaun Donnelly came on for Dylan O'Kane.
In the 80th min, Scott Tomlinson saw his effort on goal from the right-hand side of the box denied by the crossbar. Just 2 mins later, a great save by the Ross County keeper stopped a Max Guthrie strike from hitting the back of the net.
It was a brilliant end to the season for the Under 18s with a win and a clean sheet in their final league game.
A special mention must go to Mackenzie Connelly, Dario Viviani, and Dylan O'Kane, as the game marked the trio's last in the pro-youth category. Connelly and O'Kane both joined Ayr United when they were nine years old and have progressed through all the age groups at the Academy. Viviani joined when he was 13 years old and has progressed from U15s all the way to U18s. Connelly captained the Honest Men for most of this season, while O'Kane and Viviani were the two top scorers for the Under 18s.
Fraser, Weir, Watret, Tomlinson, Connelly, Allan, Kennedy, Viviani, Guthrie, Simpson, O'Kane Substitutes: Donnelly, Strachan, Pryce
Ross County 0 Ayr United 0
Ross County 0 Ayr United 1
Ayr United Goal