Ayr United 2 v 0 Brechin City
Ayr were on Cup duty again this weekend as they welcomed fellow League One opponents Brechin City to Somerset Park if the first round of the Scottish League Cup. Following last weekend’s Petrofac Training Cup triumph manager, Ian McCall decided to allow Peter Murphy and Jamie Adams a week to recover from knocks as they were replaced in the starting line up by Martyn Campbell and Michael Donald. Another encouraging sign for Ayr fans was Alan Forrest’s return to the squad on the bench. The visitors suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Peterhead last weekend and came to Somerset hoping to put their wrongs right.
In the opening exchanges both teams were looking to stamp their authority on the game early on. It was Ayr who created the first good opening as Nicky Devlin burst down the right before picking out striker Ross Caldwell. The front man laid the ball back to Brian Gilmour who excellently switched the ball to Michael Donald but his drilled cross was cleared. Brechin City them came close as Andy Jackson looked to have found a way through, only to be foiled by United stopper, Greg Fleming.
Ayr were looking bright as they attempted to gain the upper hand and it was Caldwell who was presented with a chance to put his side ahead. The striker was released down the right hand side before cutting in but his left footed effort was blocked for a corner. Ayr came close soon after again as Martyn Campbell’s header from a Gilmour cross just shaved the post.
The home side’s pressure then paid off as they took the lead after 12 minutes. Gilmour, yet again, delivered a fantastic corner from the left hand side only for Campbell’s diving header to be saved by Graeme Smith. However, fellow centre half Gerry McLauchlan was on hand to slot home for his first goal in an Ayr United shirt, against his former club.
The game then went through a quiet spell with chances few and far between with the next real chance coming on 33mins. A lovely one-two between Trouten and Caldwell allowed the former the chance to shoot but his effort flew narrowly past the post.
Almost immediately Brechin almost found an opening as Ayr struggled to clear the ball further than midfielder Gary Fusco whose right footed drive flew inches past the post. United then produced one of the moves of the match and again Trouten was involved but his low powerful ball across the face of the net was just too strong for the stretching Donald at the back post.
Half time and Ayr were a goal to the good and playing some nice stuff. There wasn’t too much between the two sides at half time but Ayr were looking the livelier of the two in front of goal.
The away side introduced young winger Craig Johnston at half time and this seemed to give them a lift as they were on the front foot straight from the whistle. Early on Ayr Brechin forced a corner and the United rear-guard failed to fully clear the ball which landed at the feet of Johnston whose shot went over the bar from just outside the box.
For the next 10mins Brechin pushed forward but created only half chances with the Ayr defence looking reasonably comfortable. This said, a one goal lead did not look to be enough and something needed to be done to allow Ayr to regain the initiative. At this point McCall brought on Alan Forrest and this seemed to provide the spark that had been missing in the opening period and the game once again turned in Ayr’s favour with Robbie Crawford picking up the ball on the edge of the box and dancing his way past a number of Brechin defenders only to see his shot saved by Smith.
Then with 61 minutes gone Ayr United made it 2-0 as left back Paddy Boyle found the net. A fizzing drive from Caldwell was well saved by Smith but the ball fell to Boyle who from 25 yards struck a sweet half volley and the ball nestled in the net. A fantastic strike by Boyle to put his side in the driving seat.
Brechin almost clawed one back straight away as Andy Jackson got his head on the end of a long ball ahead of the onrushing Fleming but and Ayr were able to clear.
Ayr then created another opening through the creativity of Trouten. Alan Forrest played a pass to Nicky Devlin who found the feet of the impressive Trouten. The forward then brilliantly beat his defender with a very clever turn to create space in the box only to fire his effort straight at Smith.
The last chance of the game was to fall to Brechin City as Johnston found space at the back post but Fleming was out quickly to gather at the pacey winger’s feet.
In the end, a comfortable victory for Ayr in the end who now progress to the second round of the League Cup. The Honest Men now have a foundation to build on as they look forward to next weekend’s league opener away to Albion Rovers.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, McLauchlan, Campbell, Gilmour, Crawford, Caldwell, Trouten, Donlald Substitutes Forrest, Nisbet, McCracken, McKenzie, Wardrope, Muir, Newman (GK)
Smith, McLean, Buchan, McCormack, Perry, Fusco, Thomson, Smith, Jackson, Dale, Montgomery Substitutes Molloy, Johnston, Weatherston, Dods, O’Neil (GK)
Referee: Euan Anderson