Ayr United 0 v 2 Raith Rovers
Ayr got their Championship campaign off to a poor start as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Raith Rovers. A first half goal from Ross Callaghan plus one in the second from Ross Matthews sealed the 3 points for the Fifers.
Gaffer Ian McCall made one change to the side that defeated Livingston as Forrest came in for Thomas to lead the line for the United.
The game started brightly for The Honest Men and Forrest was first to try his luck. After collecting the ball on the left from Boyle, Forrest took a strike at goal from the edge of the box only his for the ball to curl just wide of the far post. Paul Cairney was next to go for goal however his header from a Boyle cross was tame and easily collected by ex-United keeper Cuthbert.
19 minutes gone and it was the away side who took the lead through Ross Callaghan. Matthews picked up the ball on the right hand side and his long hanging cross was collected in the box by Barr at the far post and he chipped the ball to the centre where it was met by Callaghan who powered home a header from close range. 1-0 Raith.
Shortly after, the Honest Men almost brought themselves level. Meggatt thundered a freekick from 30 yards towards goal and Cuthbert could only parry. The ball was met by Cairney who looked to have the simple task of nodding home but was hit by a high boot from McHattie. To everyone’s disbelief referee Euan Anderson waved away claims for a penalty given though.
United continued to press and were handed a glorious chance which Cairney again failed to convert. One touch passing from Boyle and Donald led to Donald putting Cairney through on goal however Cuthbert was there to smother his shot from close range.
Raith then almost doubled their lead through McManus. A cross from Barr was met by McManus whose looping header came back off the post and Vaughan just failed to reach the rebound. A let off for Ayr as they went into halftime 1-0 down.
Ayr started the second half brightly and almost equalised through Forrest. Cairney picked up the ball inside the box and laid the ball off to Forrest who could only fire his shot wide from 15 yards when it looked easier to hit the target.
Ayr were left to rue their chances and the away side doubled their lead through Ross Matthews on the 75th minute. Raith broke from an Ayr attack in the Raith half and Barr took the ball down the left hand side, squared it to Skacel whose shot was blocked well by Fleming but the fell to Matthews who coolly slotted home from 15 yards to seal the 3 points for Rovers.
The final chance of the game fell to Raith as they looked to add extra gloss to the scoreline. Roberts picked the ball up on the left, skipped past Boyle, and his cross was met by Skacel and his first time shot trickled just wide of the post.
A tough start to the league campaign however could prove to be a valuable wake-up call for the Honest Men as they prepare for life in the Championship. United now host Premiership opponents Aberdeen in the League Cup on Wednesday as they look to bounce back from this defeat.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Murphy, Meggatt, Crawford, Cairney, Adams, Docherty, Donald, Forrest. Substitutes: Hart (GK), Thomas, Rose, Wardrope, McCracken, McGuffie, O’Connell.
Cuthbert, Thomson, Mvoto, Benedicuts, McHattie, Thomson, Callaghan, Matthews, Barr, Vaughan, McManus. Substitutes: Lennox (GK), Johnston, Osei-Opoku, Coustrain, Roberts, Skacel, Stewart
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match Report: AUmedia