Ayr 2 Brechin 2

Both teams knew beforehand that points from Saturday’s league game would be important in their respective relegation and promotion battles but they were also aware results elsewhere would have a significant bearing on their league position come the end of the day.

It was a subdued opening to the game from both sides as the teams struggled to cope with the windy conditions but with the wind at their backs United had the bulk of possession and pressure early on.

United dominated the early play and created a number of half chances going close through Beattie, Gilmour and Crawford but Graeme Smith in the Brechin goal looked comfortable and wasn’t troubled by these initial chances.

Brechin rarely threatened the Ayr goal in the first half but in the 36th minute they managed to get in behind the United defence and after a goal mouth scramble Andy Jackson managed to bundle the ball over the line from close range. There was some confusion as to whether or not the ball had actually crossed the line but referee Andrew Dallas, after a moments hesitation, pointed to the centre spot and the goal was given.

Ayr should have equalised through a Robbie Crawford drive in 42 mins but his shot from 15 yards was well saved by Graeme Smith and just before half-time Craig Beattie then contrived to miss an open goal from 8 yards out, when his studs appeared to catch on the Somerset turf, with the goal gaping.

Ayr made changes at half-time replacing David Robertson and Craig Murray with Adam Blakeman and Martin Campbell. These changes had an immediate impact in 49 mins when Brian Gilmour latched on to a cross to head home and level the scoring at 1-1.

Ayr finally got their noses in front after a sustained spell of pressure saw Nicky Devlin upended in the penalty area and McGovern coolly converted to give Ayr a 2-1 lead.

This goal gave Ayr fresh impetus and Gilmour should have added to his tally when Mikey Donald found him in space on the edge of the Brechin penalty area only to be thwarted by a tremendous Graeme Smith save. Sub Adam Blakeman also went close for Ayr forcing Smith into another fine save off his shot from the edge of the box.

Brechin made a double substitution on the hour as United threatened to over run them as Tapping and Durojaiye were introduced but the game was almost put beyond Brechin in 74 mins when Adam Blakeman’s shot from 18 yards crashed back off the bar.

However United’s recent inability to kill games off came back to haunt them in 75 mins when a Paul McLean inswinging cross was missed by everyone before skipping off the greasy Somerset turf and coming to rest in the back of the home teams net to level the score at 2-2.

The game had one more twist in the tale in 81 mins after Brechin’s Calum Tapping received his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards in the space of 35 secs.

However even with the extra man advantage United couldn’t find that elusive winner and the game ended all square at 2-2.

Attendance – 986

Ayr United – Hutton; Devlin; Robertson; Murphy; Murray Crawford; McGovern; Gilmour; Donald; Preston; Beattie Subs – Forrest Neil; Blakeman; Campbell; Muir; Nisbet; Newman
Brechin City – Smith; McNeil; McCormack; McLauchlan; Mclean; Ferguson; Fusco; Molloy; Masson; Jackson; Thompson Subs – Tapping; Durojaiye; Jackson; Tough; O’Neil