Ayr United 5 v 2 Stenhousemuir
Ayr United welcomed Stenhousemuir to Somerset Park on Tuesday night, looking to break their midweek curse and move joint top of League One. The visitors were in confident mood ahead of this encounter as they went into the game on the back of a 4-2 defeat of Cowdenbeath. Meanwhile, Ayr were looking to get over the disappointment of Forfar’s last minute equaliser at the weekend and they had Gerry McLauchlan and Ross Docherty returning to the starting line-up.
The Honest men started the game well and almost took the lead after just two minutes. Nicky Devlin got on the end of Docherty’s through ball before driving a low cross into the box. Striker Craig Moor had made a clever front post run but he flicked his effort just wide of the post.
It didn’t take long for United to go a goal to the hood as Jordan Preston re-opened his account for the club just a minute after Moore’s miss. The on loan front man collected Liam Henderson’s poor back pass – composing himself before slotting the ball under the keeper and into the net to give United a one goal advantage.
Fourteen minutes later and Stenny were level. A corner was whipped into the box and Peter Murphy was the unfortunate Ayr defender as he turned the ball into his own net. 1-1 and there was little between the two sides at this point.
The away side had a great chance to take the lead after a poor pass from Gilmour allowed them the chance to work the back to Jon McShane. McShane had time and space but he opted to shoot first time and his effort flow high and wide of the target.
Stenhousemuir would live to regret that missed chance as Ayr then took the lead after 25 minutes. Preston brilliantly held the ball up before switching the play to full back, Devlin. The United skipper then played an inch perfect ball into the channel for Moore to rush onto. The opposition defence were claiming offside but Moore made no mistake drilling his shot low into the corner – another terrific finish from Moore as he made it three goals in three league games.
Ayr were to take a 3-1 lead into the second half as they failed to defend a long ball. McLauchlan launched the ball forward towards the Ayr front pair but defender, Malcolm looked to be in control of the situation. As Preston and Moore applied pressure a mix up between Malcolm and keeper Barclay meant the keeper had to desperately try to clear the ball over his own cross bar but instead, he looped it into the back of his own net to give United a two goal cushion.
Half time and the score was 3-1 in Ayr United’s favour. A clinical opening half for Ayr as the strike partnership of Preston and Moore was causing all sorts of problems for Stenhousemuir. Ayr didn’t take long to stretch their lead as only two minutes into the second half, Preston got his second of the night. Moore slipped the ball between centre half and full back for the number nine to race onto before dispatching the ball low into the near post corner, giving the keeper no chance.
Then for the moment of the match. Alan Forrest smashed the ball goalwards from 25 yards on the half volley, only to watch his shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce out. A simply stunning effort from the teenager.
Greg Fleming was then called upon as he saved well from Alan Cook’s effort. Ayr couldn’t get the ball away from their penalty area and the ball fell to Cook. From a tight angle he called Fleming into action as they searched for a way back into the game.
In the dying embers of the game United made it 5-1. Substitute Ross Caldwell got on the end of and Alan Forrest pass before rolling the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner. A good finish from the striker to score his second for the club.
That wasn’t to be the end of the scoring, however, as The Warriors added another to make it 5-2. Gilhanney worked a yard of space on the left before floating a cross into the penalty area where Liam McCrory was on hand to head past Fleming.
5-2 the final score and a comfortable victory for United sees them go joint top of the league. Goals from all three strikers will please manager Ian McCall as they are beginning to look a real potent attacking threat. This all bodes well for United’s visit to free scoring Dunfermline on the 12th September.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, McLauchlan, Murphy, Gilmour, Adams, Preston, Moore, Forrest Substitutes Graham, Muir, Nisbet, Donald, Caldwell, Crawford, Newman (GK)
Barclay, Meechan, Henderson, Malcolm, Murray, Robertson, Stirling, Smith, McMenamin, McShane, Cook Substitutes Hamilton, Marenghi, McCroary, Gilhaney, Mazana-Martinez, Eddington, Shaw (GK)
Referee: Don Robertson