Ayr United vs Airdrieonians
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 24th February 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, we play the fourth of four consecutive home games at Somerset Park as we take on Airdrieonians. Ian McCall’s side are just one strike away from a landmark century of goals in all competitions this season but are up against the only side to keep a clean against the free-scoring Honest Men – and the only side they have failed to beat so far. United will be looking to address that with all three points which will see them keep pace, at worst, with league leaders Raith Rovers.
Title rivals Rovers face a testing encounter at home to in-form Arbroath; Dick Campbell’s side are unbeaten in their last 8 league matches, albeit it was the Kirkcaldy side who inflicted that last defeat at Gayfield in December.
Visitors Airdrie were 2-1 winners over Queen’s Park last time out and occupy sixth place in the table, seven points adrift of the final promotion play-off spot. If the Diamonds have any aspirations of going up they will need to improve their away form – they possess the division’s worst record on the road this season with just nine points from a possible 39.
Manager Stephen Findlay, who along with assistant Marc Fitzpatrick signed new 18 month deals at the Excelsior Stadium this month, has strengthened his attacking options recently, adding Dale Carrick and the experience Darryl Duffy. Former Hearts and Livingston striker Carrick has already been among the goals with 3 in 5 games.
Team News: Chris Higgins is out for the season. Everyone else is available for the squad.
Ian says: “It just has the feeling of a pivotal time in a Championship race. Last week was obviously very good for us and again the key is not to worry about anyone else and just focus on what we need to do. There will be plenty of talk about the 100th goal however for us it is business as usual, we are going for back to back home wins. It is a massive confidence boost to have had some key players back in training and an even bigger boost to be able to include them in the squad for tomorrow.”
Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 12
Draws – 9
Airdrieonians wins – 11
There has been very little between the two teams in the 32 previous matches since the current incarnation of Airdrieonians – then Airdrie United – were formed in 2002. The Diamonds have had the upper hand in fixtures at Somerset Park, winning six games to Ayr’s five, with five draws.
Last Meeting: Ayr put in a hugely disappointing performance when the sides last met, at the Excelsior Stadium in December. Early goals from Cammy Russell and David Brownlie gave the Diamonds all three points as United uncharacteristically couldn’t find the back of the net.
Earlier in the season at Somerset Park, an Andy Geggan double in the second-half put United ahead after Jordan McGregor opened the scoring but Willis Furtado – now at Raith – grabbed an equaliser.
Ayr United stand on 99 goals in all completions so far with:
– 58% of those goals scored away from home
– 44 goals scored in the first-half, 55 in the second-half
– 9 goals have been scored after the 85th minute
– United have scored the first goal of the game in 28 of their 35 fixtures
Referee – Alan Newlands
Assistant Referee 1 – Ivan Stankovic
Assistant Referee 2 – Finlay Currie
Adult – £16
Concession (OAPs, Students, 18-21) – £10
Child (Under 18) – £5