Ayr United 1 v 2 Dundee
United suffered their third consecutive Championship loss in a 1-2 defeat to Dundee and missed the chance to go top of the table on Friday evening. The Dee took a two-goal lead through Declan McDaid and Paul McGowan and despite Luke McCowan pulling a goal back just before half time, the visitors maintained their lead to the end.
Ayr started their first match under new manager Mark Kerr as the more threatening and attacking side and could have opened the scoring with only 4 mins gone. Luke McCowan flicked the ball between Jordan Marshall and Graham Dorrans in midfield to allow Michael Moffat to break forward. Moffat played the ball out to the right for a one-two with Jordan Houston that set him up for a shot from inside the box, but Conor Hazard rose to collect.
Dundee’s calmer, more organised looking approach paid off when they found the back of the net on 16 mins. Shaun Byrne intercepted a pass inside the Ayr half and good play between him, Declan McDaid and Cammy Kerr set up McDaid to cut in from the right. Under pressure from the United defence, the former Ayr winger and Andrew Nelson exchanged passes 20 yards out and McDaid fired a powerful low drive into the bottom right-hand corner to give the Dark Blues the lead.
The visitors picked up drive and the game turned into an end-to-end affair with both sides pressing and looking for a goal.
In the 25th min, Ayr should have equalised when Ross Docherty lifted a ball forward over the Dundee defence that allowed Michael Moffat to break through on goal. The striker had only Hazard left to beat, but the Dundee keeper initially blocked his effort from close range. The ball bounced near the goal line and Moffat set Alan Forrest, but Cammy Kerr slid in to turn Forrest’s attempt from 12 yards around the post.
Dundee doubled their lead on 32 mins when they capitalised on a set-piece. Graham Dorrans delivered a freekick from the middle of the Ayr half into the box and found Jordan Forster for an attempt on goal. Ross Doohan got a foot on it, but the rebound rolled back to Paul McGowan who slammed it into the net from 14 yards. 0-2 Dundee.
Only 6 mins later, United clawed one back, also through a set piece. A Stephen Kelly free kick from 35 yards was met by Aaron Muirhead in the penalty area who rose and headed the ball across goal for McCowan to score with a diving header at the right post. The home side were back in the game just before half time.
The start of the second half saw Craig Moore return to first-team action for the first time after a lengthy injury when he came on for Andy Geggan on 48 mins.
There was a lack of the frantic and attacking spirit of the first 45 mins featured in the second half, but both teams stayed creative and fashioned chances to score.
Ayr came close to pulling another goal back on 51 mins. McCowan put pressure on Dorrans in midfield and Moffat intercepted a resulting sloppy pass. He passed on to Docherty who sent the ball forward into space for McCowan who broke down the right wing but hesitated and mishit 12 yards and the ball curled just wide of the right post.
McDaid, Nelson and Kane Hemmings all looked dangerous for Dundee, but the next major chance came Ayr’s way on 61 mins. Docherty beat Shaun Byrne to the ball near the halfway line for Moffat to pick it up and break forward. He crossed the ball out to the left where it found Moore who controlled it and flicked a short pass to Forrest. The winger cut in and bent an attempt just wide of the Dundee goal from the edge of the box.
From there onwards, Dundee’s more composed midfield slowed the game down and the visitors adopted an increasingly defensive approach. Despite Kris Doolan coming on for Luke McCowan giving Ayr three strikers on the park, the Dee played down the remaining minutes and the final whistle blew to seal 1-2 as the final result.
Next up, United travel to Cappielow to face Greenock Morton in the Championship on Tuesday evening.
Doohan, Houston, Muirhead, Roscoe, Harvie, Geggan, Docherty, Kelly, Forrest, Moffat, McCowan Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Ecrepont, Doolan, Moore, McKenzie, McGuffie
Hazard, Kerr, McGhee, Forster, Byrne, Nelson, McGowan, McDaid, Dorrans, Marshall, Hemmings Substitutes: Ferrie (GK), Meekings, Todd, McPake, Johnson, Robertson, Mackie
Referee: Bobby Madden