A disastrous second half performance saw United again struggle to see out a game from a commanding position, by allowing Peterhead to come from 2 goals down to win 4-2 and maintain their outside chances of a promotion play-off place.
Ian McCall and his coaching staff will be scratching their heads at United’s Jekyll & Hyde performance, as only a late capitulation by relegation contenders Stenhousemuir at Cappielow, prevented this result from being an even bigger disaster. Stenhousemuir also managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as they also lost a 2 goal lead, going down 3-2 to Morton. This result means Ayr stay above The Warriors thanks to United’s better goals scored tally, as both teams have the same goal difference.
Going in to this game United made one change to the side that narrowly lost to league leaders Stranraer last Saturday, replacing Craig Beattie with Allan Forrest. While Jim McInally decided to make changes after Peterhead’s 1-1 draw against Dunfermline last weekend . They made three changes with Steven Noble, Jordan Brown and Andy Rodgers being favoured in the starting eleven as Nicky Riley and Scott Ross dropped to the bench with Jamie Stevenson missing through injury.
The afternoon started positively for United as they looked the hungrier and better of the two sides pressing Peterhead deep into their own half preventing them from threatening United for the bulk of the first half.
The early domination by United saw early chances for Mikey Donald and Alan Forrest but the opener wasn’t far away. In 17 mins Allan Forrest eluded the Peterhead defence to find himself in on goal, he coolly rounded the goalkeeper before showing great composure to finish past a defender on the line to give Ayr an early lead.
More was to come from the home side just two minutes later. Good build up play by Ayr was rewarded when Jordan Preston burst into the box before slipping the ball under Peterhead keeper Smith to double United’s advantage at 2-0.
Allan Forrest should have made it 3-0 soon after but from in front of goal 10 yards out he pulled his volley wide of the keepers right hand post in 36 mins.
Three minutes later Peterhead’s keeper Smith kept his team in the game with a sensational one handed save, blocking a shot on the line with his right hand, and somehow managing to turn it up and over the bar.
However Ayr were made to pay for their inability to put the game to bed in 41 mins.
Steven Noble managed to find space on the left, sending in a teasing cross, that ended up with the unmarked Andy Rodgers heading home from close range to make the score 2-1 in what was Peterhead’s first serious attack of the game.
At the start of the second half Ayr almost scored from the kick off as Jordan Preston burst through and bore down on goal only to see his shot well saved by Smith in the Peterhead goal.
Again a positive start by United was quickly undone as Peterhead levelled the score in 52 mins with another close range header from the unmarked Jordan Brown.
David Hutton then saved Ayr from further embarrassment off of another free header from Andy Rodgers in 56 mins as Ayr struggled to repel Peterhead’s attacks.
In 58 mins the inevitable happened as the United defence was breached again when Jordan Brown notched his second goal of the game prodding home from close range to make it 3-2 to The Blues.
Ayr made a double substitution in an attempt to get back in to the game in 67 mins as Robertson and Beattie replaced Forrest and Murphy.
Peterhead though took no notice of the changes Ayr made and grabbed a fourth goal in 75 mins. Gary McDonald ending a good move, netting with a close range finish, to put the game beyond Ayr. This result keep’s alive Peterhead’s outside chance of a promotion play-off place but condemned Ayr to a morale sapping home defeat.
Attendance – 998
Hutton; Devlin; Campbell; Murphy; McKenna; McGovern; Blakeman; Crawford; Prreston; Forrest; Donald
Newman; Robertson; Nisbet; Gilmour; Beattie; Murray; Neil
Smith; Donaldson; Noble; Strachan; Smith; McDonald; Dzierzawski; Redman; McAllister; Brown; Rodgers
McDonald; Riley; Cowie; Ross
Report – AUMedia