Ayr booked their place in the promotion play offs and returned to winning ways as they ran out 2-1 winners over their Southwest neighbours, Stranraer. A first half strike from Alan Trouten and a second half goal from Michael Wardrope were enough to earn Ayr the win. Ryan Thomson pulled a goal back for the away side however Ayr held out for the vital 3 points.
Ian McCall made 5 changes to the starting line up as Devlin, Boyle, McCrorie, Forrest and Docherty all dropped out and were replaced by Murphy, McLauchlan, Donald, Wardrope and Adams.
The game started off quickly and Stranraer had their first chance after 6 minutes. Craig Pettigrew picked up the ball in midfield, however his powerful drive from distance went over the bar. Two minutes later and Stranraer were again causing problems as Willie Gibson picked up the ball on the left, skipped past Donald, before sending in a cross which evaded everyone and almost found the far corner however it flashed just wide.
Ayr had their first chance of the game after 9 minutes. Ryan Stevenson picked up the ball on the left hand side and his low drilled cross found Trouten, however he could only scoop the ball over from around 7 yards.
As Stranraer continued to press they were handed their best chance after 14 minutes. Kyle Turner got down the left and crossed the ball for Andy Stirling who saw his shot saved by Fleming from close range and Turner fired over the rebound from 10 yards.
After 16 minutes Stranraer were left to rue their chances as Ayr took the lead through Alan Trouten. The visitors failed to clear their lines properly and the ball fell to Peter Murphy who swung the ball into the back post. It was left by Graham and fell to Trouten at the back post who made no mistake and smashed his volley in off the post giving Belford no chance.
The rest of the first half was one of few chances as Stranraer tried to respond however they failed to do so as Ayr impressed in defence and the home team went in at half time 1-0 ahead.
The second half started brightly for Ayr as Trouten caused problems for Stranraer in the box, however his curled shot from the left went just wide of the far post. 5 minutes later and good play between Moore and Preston sent Preston through one on one however Cameron Belford done well to block his shot and keep the score down.
Stranraer tried to get themselves back into the game and Andy Stirling picked up the ball midway through the Ayr half and his powerful shot had to be saved by Fleming who did well to get his body behind the ball.
Ayr doubled their lead after 60 minutes through Michael Wardrope. Stranraer keeper Belford failed to clear a pass back as Moore closed him down. The keeper’s poor touch forced him to challenge for the ball with Stevenson 30 yards out The ball fell kindly to Michael Wardrope and from 35 yards the youngster managed to curl the ball into the empty net for his first senior goal and double Ayr’s lead.
Stranraer responded well however and 15 minutes later halved the deficit through Ryan Thomson. Cairney’s shot in the box was blocked by the Ayr defence however Fleming failed to clear the loose ball and Thomson nodded the ball home from close range to give the away side hope.
As Stranraer pushed for a leveler it was Ayr who almost scored again after 89 minutes as Wardrope’s half volley from 25 yards had to be well saved as it looked like it would hit the back of the net.
The final chance of the game fell to Stranraer and striker Jamie Longworth in injury time. After a defensive mix up, Longworth found himself through on goal however his effort was saved by Fleming from close range and was enough to earn Ayr the win.
Ayr travel to Fife to play Cowdenbeath next Saturday.
Fleming, Murphy, Donald, Graham, McLauchlan, Stevenson, Wardrope, Adams, Preston, Trouten, Moore
Substitutes: Newman (GK), Forrest, Hodge, Crawford, Muir, McKenzie.
Belford, Robertson, Pettigrew, Cairney, Bell, Stirling, Dick, Turner, McGuigan, Thomson, Gibson
Substitutes: Currie (GK), Aitken, Malcolm, McCloskey, Longworth, Kemp, Rumsby
Referee: Colin Steven
Match Report: AUmedia