Ayr United 3 v 3 Alloa Athletic
Match report by AUmedia
A double from Lawrence Shankland on his home debut helped Ayr rescue a point at home to Alloa in a match marred by yet another poor refereeing decision when in the 84th min Alloa were awarded a penalty after United midfielder Jamie Adams clearly headed the ball.
Ayr had gone ahead early in the game through Shankland before being pegged back by goals from McKeown and Cawley. Adams equalised late into the second half before Alloa took the lead through that controversial penalty. Ayr dug deep as the game moved into added time when Shankland salvaged a point for Ayr though with a solo effort.
On 4 mins, the first chance of the game resulted in the opener for United. An Adams shot was blocked by a sliding tackle from Alloa player manager Jim Goodwin and spun upwards towards the keeper’s right-hand post. Michael Moffat was first to react and flicked the ball over the keeper into the goalmouth and Lawrence Shankland headed in from close range to make it 1-0.
Ayr almost doubled their lead on 10 mins. A dangerous cross, whipped in by McDaid from the right, was flicked on by Moffat and scraped just wide of the far post. Alloa’s first effort came on 13 mins. From a corner, defender McKeown, in acres of space in the box, saw his powerful header flash wide of the right-hand post. After United’s early dominance, Alloa were growing into the game and had another chance on 28 mins when Robertson took a drive from the edge of the area that went just wide of the target.
Alloa’s increased and sustained pressure was to pay off when they levelled on 35 mins albeit with a touch of good fortune. A corner was cleared by the Ayr defence and fell to Robertson whose off target shot from 20 yards deflected off the grounded McKeown and rolled into the net for 1-1.
Ayr’s next best chance came on 55 mins. Moffat picked the ball up and drove into the Alloa box before lifting the ball towards the back post where McDaid who slid in and directed the ball onto the bar from no more than 3 yards. 3 mins later Shankland saw his header from a corner superbly saved by Alloa keeper Parry at point blank range.
Despite the promising start to the second half, it was Alloa who were to go ahead through ex-Ayr man Cawley on 61 mins. One of the smallest men on the pitch, Cawley won a ball in from a corner on the right and managed to head into the top right-hand corner to give Hart and Docherty, on the line, no chance, 1-2.
One minute later and Ayr almost responded. Shankland held off then turned defender Frank McKeown in the box before seeing his stinging drive palmed away by Parry. McDaid then fired well over the bar from the edge of the area. The visitors almost doubled their advantage on 69 mins through another ex-Ayr player when Meggatt’s header from a corner had to be well saved by Hart in goal.
Alloa were made to pay for this missed chance as Ayr equalised through Adams on 79 mins. McDaid passed the ball to Moffat on the right and his hanging cross was met by Adams at the back post and his shot went back across goal and into the bottom right corner for 2-2. The big midfielder’s momentum carried him onwards and he had to jump over the wall and land in amongst the fans.
Hart was once again called into action, this time to deny yet another ex-Ayr man, Craig Malcolm, who made himself space in the box and curled a shot towards goal that was palmed away with expert agility by Hart on 83 mins.
From the resultant corner, Alloa were awarded a controversial penalty when Adams was deemed to have blocked a header with his hand despite the ball smacking off the side of the midfielder’s head. Taggart stepped up and tucked away the penalty to hand the advantage back to Alloa at 2-3.
Ayr desperately tried to get themselves a leveller and it looked like it just ‘wouldn’t be their day’ when Moffat saw a shot in the box cleared off the line before Rose fired over at the back post in the dying minutes. The Honest Men were to get the last say when Shankland, with an superb piece of individual play, struck his second goal of the game on 94 mins making it 3-3. The striker picked the ball up on the left and cut into the box, evading a number of challenges before smashing the ball into the bottom corner to salvage a point for the home side. United now travel to Hampden Park on Saturday to play Queens Park.
Ayr United Hart, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, McDaid, McGuffie, Ferguson, Adams, Shankland, Docherty, Reid. Substitutes Avci (GK), Gilmour, Waite, Murphy, McCowan.
Alloa Athletic Parry, Taggart, Meggatt, McKeown, Goodwin, Robertson, Cawley, Hetherington, Renton, Fleming, Flannigan. Substitutes Cook, Malcolm, Martin, Crane, Wilson (GK). Referee: Euan Anderson Attendance: 1306