Ayr United 2 Dundee United 0
By AU Media
On Saturday, Ayr came out victorious in the Championship top-of-the-table clash as they beat Dundee United 2-0 at Somerset Park. Daniel Harvie gave the Honest Men the advantage early on and a penalty scored by Alan Forrest in the second half sealed the deal for Ayr to maintain their undefeated League home record and end Dundee United’s unbeaten start to the season.
It was an energetic, end-to-end start to the game with both teams creating good chances from the get-go.
With only 9 mins on the clock, the home side found the back of the net. Daniel Harvie won the ball in his own half and made space for himself to send a short pass to Michael Moffat at the halfway line. Moffat passed to Mark Kerr who then lifted a long ball forward over the Dundee United defence which was met by Harvie who had continued his run. The defender drove on and despite a good challenge from former Ayr player Liam Smith, he maintained his balance, got back onto the ball and slotted it past keeper Benjamin Siegrist to give Ayr an early lead.
The game kept its pace and another strong chance came Ayr’s way in the 17th min. Mark’s Reynold poor attempt at a header back to his keeper allowed Moffat to nip in between the two but Siegrist came off his line to deny a tight angled shot from the striker.
Ayr were flying with a delicious brand of quick one-touch football carving its way through the Dundee United defence on numerous occasions and only a superb one-handed save by Siegrist from an Alan Forrest shot kept the score at 1 – 0.
The game was end-to-end and Dundee United got their best chance of the match so far through a set-piece on 30 mins. Sam Roscoe upended Sam Stanton 25 yards out in the centre of the park and set piece specialist Peter Pawlett stepped up to take it. Pawlett’s powerful shot looked goal bound but was tipped over the bar by Ross Doohan.
It was a carbon copy from Doohan 4 mins later when Louis Appéré made space on the left to play the ball into the middle to Calum Butcher who fired a strike at the goal. The Tangerines were yet again denied an equaliser as Doohan again tipped the ball over the bar.
Ayr came close to doubling their lead in the 37th min when Moffat sent in a tight angled cross from the left which was initially blocked by Siegrist but rebounded into the box. Kelly swung at the ball, but it was clipped away from him a frantic Dundee United defence tried to clear. McCowan got to the ball first and tried to make space before lifting it over the bar.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Dundee United were given 2 successive freekicks at the edge of the box and the Tangerine’s players and fans claimed for penalties for both. First, after a ranging run down the left by Appéré, he was tripped from behind just inches outside the box by the chasing Moffat. Next, as Appéré tried to get back into the box at the goal line he was again brought down by Moffat. As before, there were just inches in it and the freekick was awarded outside the box. Both timesAyr did well to clear and the scoreline remained 1-0 at the half time whistle.
The second set of 45 mins had a similar tone to the first with vibrant play and both teams looking threatening going forward.
Dundee United should have equalised in the 56th min. Paul McMullan crossed into the box from the right and, as Ayr failed to clear, Appéré flicked a shot at goal from close range. Doohan went down to block, and with Appéré looking odds on to score from the rebound, the ball came off Andy Geggan and into the keeper’s arms.
Ayr responded 1 min later when a quick one-two between Kerr and Kelly allowed Kerr to feed Forrest in a goalscoring position 10 yards out. He attempted to flick the ball with the outside of his right foot past the keeper, but Siegrist left did well to react and save down on the deck with his arms outstretched.
The Terrors kept up the pressure and came close again on 72 mins. A pinpoint cross into the box from Appéré found substitute Nicky Clark whose header smashed into the post at the bottom right-hand corner.
2 mins later though, Ayr doubled their lead through a penalty. A long ball up the park from Doohan was met by Moffat who controlled it and curled a short pass back to Forrest from near the goal line. Forrest cut in from the left and was brought down just inside the box by Smith. Referee Bobby Madden pointed to the penalty spot and Forrest stepped up to take it. The winger made no mistake and sent the keeper the wrong way, firing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 2-0 to the Honest Men.
Dundee United didn’t give up and created a good chance in the 82nd min. A cross-field ball out to the right wing from Jamie Robson found McMullan who sent a short pass into Cammy Smith who had just come on the park. The substitute slammed a powerful drive from 16 yards towards the goal but hit the woodwork at the top right-hand corner.
Ayr almost added another one to their tally on 90 mins when Dundee United failed to clear in their own box. Ross Docherty won the ball and curled a shot at the goal from 10 yards which was initially blocked by Siegrist. Kelly picked up the rebound but lifted it over the bar and the scoreline remained 2-0 at full time for a nevertheless emphatic victory for Ayr.
This result sees Ayr United remain second in the Championship, now on equal points with table toppers Dundee United who have a superior goal difference.