Ayr United 2 v 1 Peterhead
Ayr coasted through to the play off final where they will meet Stranraer after a 2-1 victory over Peterhead; 6-2 on aggregate. Goals either side of an unfortunate Donald own goal from Crawford and Devlin secured Ayr the victory.
High on confidence from the 4-1 result on Tuesday, gaffer Ian McCall made only one change to the team with Jamie Adams coming into the line-up to replace Andy Graham who was suffering from a groin strain.
Although the match started at a frantic pace it took 8 mins before there was real goal scoring opportunity and that fell to Peterhead. Noble swung in a corner to the back post and it was headed back into the danger area by McAllister before falling to the feet of Brown who could only fire over from 10 yards.
2 mins later and Ayr created their first chance of the game. Docherty found himself free at the back post however his header was weak and collected easily by Smith. Moore also had an effort from 20 yards which took a nick off the defender and flashed just wide of the post. Ayr were steadily beginning to take control of the match
Although not creating many chances Peterhead were next to try their luck. On 18 mins Jordon Brown struck the ball goalward from 25 yards but Fleming, in the Ayr goals, responded and comfortably saved.
As the game went on there was a feeling that it would only be a matter of time before the Honest Men and in 25 mins they took the lead. When it came it followed some intricate first timed interplay as Ayr tore through the Peterhead defence. McCrorie collected the ball from a throw in and with quick one touch passing between Donald, Preston and Crawford, Crawford found himself in space in the penalty box. He coolly composed himself before placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Ayr were 1-0 on the day and 5-1 up on aggregate.
3 minutes later and Preston almost doubled the lead however his drive across the box just evaded squeezed past the back post.
On the half hour mark, and against the run of ply, Peterhead equalised through a slice of good fortune. McIntosh collected the ball on the right and his driven cross took a nick off the head of Donald resulting in the ball looping over Fleming and into the back of the net.
The away side continued to apply pressure as they desperately tried to find a way back into the tie and almost pulled another goal back through Blockley. Blockley received the ball from 30 yards out and his speculative half volley had to be well saved by Fleming who did well to tip it round the post. Minutes later Brown fired a header over the bar from a Blockley cross when he should have done better.
Crawford had a chance to double his goal tally of the game when he broke into the box again but this time he dragged his shot just wide of the right hand post.
With 56 mins gone Ayr regained their lead through captain Nicky Devlin. Prior to the goal Mikey Donald did exceptionally well to beat two defenders in the box but his shot was tipped wide by Smith. From the resultant corner, Devlin dashed ahead of hesitant keeper Smith and headed in from close range to disperse any hope that the away team had of staging a comeback.
Next, almost increased their lead when Adams got on the end of a Docherty corner but his header flashed wide. Substitute Stevenson then had a powerfully driven low freekick well saved by Smith who turned the ball round the post.
By the last 10 mins of the match the Peterhead players’ heads were down as they ran out of steam and hope allowing United to cruise through the final minutes
The result now means that Ayr progress to the play off final where they will face Stranraer. Ayr travel to Stair Park on Wednesday for the first leg of the final.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, Adams, Murphy, McCrorie, Crawford, Preston, Moore, Donald. Substitutes: Newman (GK), Stevenson, McLauchlan, Wardrope, Forrest, Gilmour.
Smith, Blockley, Noble, Ross, Strachan, Dzierzawski, Ferry, Redman, McAllister, Brown, McIntosh. Substitutes: Jarvie (GK), Sutherland, Riley, Rodgers, Lawrence, Stevenson.
Referee: Crawford Allan
Match Report: AUmedia