Ayr United 0 v 0 Dundee
United were held to a 0-0 draw by Championship play-off rivals Dundee on Saturday. Michael Moffat had a goal disallowed in the second half shortly before Conor Hazard denied Aaron Muirhead from the spot, but chances were sparse in an intriguing and closely matched encounter that was made difficult by the wet conditions at Somerset Park.
Both sides attacked from the get-go and the first big chance of the match came Ayr’s way on 5 mins when Aaron Drinan chased a long ball forward down the left wing and crossed it into the 6-yard box for the onrushing Alan Forrest, but the winger flicked his shot inches past the post.
Graham Dorrans responded for Dundee only moments later, his shot from the edge of the box forcing Ross Doohan into a save.
The game continued as an end-to-end affair with both teams pushing for an opener and looking capable of scoring for the better part of the first half.
United’s best chance came on 22 mins when Drinan played a short pass back to Daniel Harvie who lifted a high cross towards the box and into the path of Michael Moffat, but the striker directed his header straight at Dundee keeper Conor Hazard.
Jordan McGhee came closest to an opener for the visitors with 30 mins on the clock as Josh Meeking set him up to cut in for a curling effort goalwards, but Ross Doohan got a hand on the ball to turn it slightly wide and the shot scratched past the right post.
The rain began to pour down on an increasingly bumpy pitch and with the conditions deteriorating, both teams lost grip and struggled to create anything for the remainder of the first half.
As the game got back underway after the break, United took the initiative and started to gain the upper hand with good skill and passing that brought them into promising positions.
Michael Moffat found the back of the net on 54 mins after Jordan Houston beat Declan McDaid on the right and sent a tight-angled cross in to set Moffat up for a tap-in from close range, but the striker was ruled offside and the score remained 0-0.
Four mins later, Ayr were gifted a chance to take the lead as they were awarded an easy penalty. Hazard called for a loose ball in the box but hesitated to collect it and as Michael Moffat nipped in to pick the ball up, he was tripped by Cammy Kerr. Aaron Muirhead stepped up to take the spot-kick but was denied by an outstanding full-stretch save from Hazard who turned the ball round the post.
United looked unsettled after the missed opportunity and it was now Dundee who started to dominate proceedings with more control and composure, but the visitors struggled with the final ball and hardly threatened Ayr’s goal.
Dundee recorded their best chances through two set pieces but were denied twice by Doohan who first punched Dorrans’ kick from the left wing away and then collected a header from Jordan Forster who got on the end of a free kick from the halfway line.
Drinan dropped the ball back for Stephen Kelly to set up Ayr’s last serious attempt on goal with 10 mins left to play as Kelly’s shot from 20 yards looked goal bound but was kept out by Hazard.
The final chance to break the deadlock went Dundee’s way on 84 mins when Dorrans and Kane Hemmings created space at the edge of the box for the latter to direct a low drive that went inches past the post.
The score remained 0-0 at full time and secured United their first point against Dundee this season and a third consecutive clean sheet.
The Honest Men remain third in the league table, two points ahead of Dundee and two adrift of Inverness.
Ayr and Dundee meet again next Tuesday at Dens Park for their next Championship encounter.
Doohan, Houston, Moffat, Forrest, Harvie, Muirhead, Drinan, Kelly, Roscoe, Malley, Bell
Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Tiffoney, Kerr, Docherty, Gillespie, Murphy, McCowan
Hazard, Kerr, McGhee, Forster, Meekings, Berra, Byrne, McGowan, McDaid, Dorrans, Hemmings
Substitutes: Hamilton (GK), Cameron, Nelson, Field, Elliott, Crankshaw, Robertson
Referee: Steven McLean