Both teams came in to this game knowing a victory for either side today wouldn’t decide who would end up in the final relegation play off place, but it would go a long way in telling us which team had the bottle to handle the remaining 7 league fixtures of this season.
In the end it was United who were left scratching their heads in wonder, as they tried to figure out how they were unable to convert one of their numerous chances, after dominating the bulk of possession in a game they really should have won.
Ayr took the game to Stenny straight from kick off forcing a number of corners early on which also saw Robbie Crawford go close with an effort from long range.
United dominated the opening period pushing the away team back towards their own penalty area at the Railway End creating further chances for Crawford and Beattie. In fact Craig Beattie almost opened the scoring in 18 mins when his turn and shot crashed off the Stenhousemuir crossbar from just 12 yards out.
In 24 mins Greig Fleming, the Stenny keeper, then made a great one handed save diving full length to his right to turn away a powerful McGovern shot from 20 yards out.
In a rare attack Stenhousemuir shocked Ayr in 33 mins when Colin McMenamin prodded home from close range but he was adjudged to be offside much to Ayr’s relief.
Ayr continued to dominate the first half but were unable to break the deadlock and went in all square at the interval.
It was much of the same as the game resumed in the second half as United continued to dominate but they lacked incisiveness with their final ball.
Again Stenhousemuir were rarely troubling Ayr’s defence and Meechan popped up to clear off the line, as a miss-hit Jordan Preston shot looped over the stranded keeper Fleming, as it headed towards the Warriors goal in 62 mins.
Two minutes later Fleming denied Ayr turning a Robbie Crawford shot, from the edge of the box, against the post with a strong right handed save.
Stenny then gave Ayr a reminder of how quickly things could turn sour. In a rare counter attack down the right hand side a deep cross was delivered into Ayr’s penalty box with McMenamin turning the ball in to the Ayr net. This time however he had blatantly used a hand and referee McKendrick correctly disallowed the goal and promptly booked McMenamin.
Just before Craig Beattie was replaced by Alan Forrest he had one last chance to score when through on goal but his tantalising lob just crept the wrong side of the Stenny upright in the 74th minute.
As Ayr went in search of the winner Robbie Crawford burst into the Stenny penalty area. His cut back was partially cleared and the loose ball fell tantalising in to the path of Alan Forrest. The Warriors keeper Fleming at this point was left stranded on the deck and it looked as though United were about to get the goal their play deserved. Unfortunately for Ayr Forrest’s powerfully struck shot from 12 yards cannoned back off the juncture of crossbar and post and away to safety.
However for all their possession and domination Ayr were unable break the deadlock and Stenhousemuir hung on for a point as the game finished 0-0.
Attendance – 1055
Ayr United – Hutton; Devlin; Donald; Murphy; McKenna; McGovern; Murray; Crawford; Preston; Beattie; Robertson Subs – Newman; Forrest; Gilmour; Nisbet; Campbell; Muir; Neil
Stenhousemuir – Fleming; McCormack; Summers; Meechan; Lithgow; Millar; McMullan; Faulds; McMenamin; Marenghi; Watt Subs – Smith; Duncan; Wilson; Fotheringham; Gallacher; Grehan; Sutherland