AIRDRIEONIANS 2 – 0 AYR UNITED
Ayr’s unbeaten run came to an end as they fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat following a lack lustre display at Airdrie. Russell opened the scoring for the home side early on before Brownlie forced in a second before the half hour mark. However, gaffer Ian McCall insisted that he should not be too hard on the players, with 4 key midfielders out, and praised the great run that they were on.
Airdrie opened the scoring with the first chance of the match through Russell. On 3 mins Ayr failed to clear their lines on the edge of the box and Russell was there to collect the ball and direct a low shot into the bottom right hand corner for 1-0.
Ayr almost responded within minutes when Boyle’s dangerous delivery was met by the on-form Shankland who could only send a volley just wide of the post. Ayr were growing into the match as the half progressed, seeking an equaliser to get them up and running.
Shankland was soon involved in the action again. On 10 mins he collected a Ferguson pass on the edge of the area before curling a shot inches over the top of the bar.
Ayr’s best chance to equalise came on 14 mins when Moore was sent through one-on-one with the keeper. With the fantastic scoring form of the striker, fans and players alike expected the hall to nestle in the back of the net but Moore’s strike was straight at keeper Ferguson who saved with relative ease.
Airdrie – unfortunately for the away side – were in a clinical mood and punished Ayr for their missed chances. On 23 mins, a corner from the right whipped into the box and again Ayr were slow to react, allowing Brownlie to force the ball just over the line despite Forrest’s best efforts to block the ball.
Although Ayr had dominated play for long stretches they just didn’t create enough chances or, for the first time in the season, have the composure needed against a hardworking and well organised defence. Things were made much worse by the enforced weakened midfield, missing Captain Ross Docherty, Robbie Crawford, and Jamie Adams and this was exaggerated when Andy Geggan hobbled off.
The first attempt in the second half came from Shankland – who was proving to be Ayr’s biggest goal threat- as he forced his way into the box and cut the ball across goal for a tap in however no-one had made up enough ground to make contact.
Ayr were desperately trying to find a way back into the game and had another great chance on 67 mins when the ball fell to Higgins in the box however his powerful volley was deflected over the bar.
Airdrie did everything they could to stifle United’s forward moving intent, resorting quick break-a-ways with the pace of Watt, Russell, Stewart and Furtado causing most problems.
The last real chance of the game fell to Shankland on 73 mins when made space in the penalty area, but his low strike was stopped as keeper Ferguson stuck out a leg before McDaid hit the follow-up over the bar from 12 yards.
Time slowly ran out for the frustrated Ayrshire men and Airdrieonians took the 3 points their tactics and determination deserved.
A disappointing performance from The Honest Men yet still the 500 travelling supporters stood to applaud efforts and the achievement the players’ over the course of the past 2 undefeated months.
Ayr now welcome Forfar at Somerset, aiming to kick start another unbeaten run in their fight for promotion.
1st Chris Higgins
2nd Lawrence Shankland
3rd Paddy Boyle
AIRDRIEONIANS – Ferguson, Brownlie, MacDonald, McGregor, Watt, Edwards, Stewart, Cairns, Russell, Hastie, Furtado. Substitutes: Kerr (GK), Brown, Fry, McIntosh, Allan, Higgins, Leighton.
AYR UNITED – Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Moore, Forrest, Ferguson, Shankland. Substitutes: Avci (GK), McDaid, McGuffie, Reid, Hilton, Faulds, Murphy
Referee: Scott Millar