Ayr United 4 v 1 Stenhousemuir
Ayr United returned to winning ways running out 4-1 winners at home to Stenhousemuir on a wet Tuesday night. A second half strike from Craig Moore got Ayr’s noses in front before Stenhousemuir responded quickly through Jamie McCormack. However, a sending off for the visitors’ Alan Cook, an own goal from Euan Murray, a wonder strike from Ryan Stevenson and an excellently worked goal from Alan Trouten put Ayr into cruise control as they ran out comfortable winners.
Ian McCall made changes following Saturday’s defeat to Brechin with Craig Moore and Andy Graham coming back into the starting line-up.
Ayr were quickly on the front foot and in three minutes created their first chance of the game. Alan Trouten whipped in a corner from the right hand side and Nicky Devlin flicked the ball on before it fell to Craig Moore from 5 yards out but he couldn’t connect properly with the ball and keeper Barclay saved his tame effort.
Stenhousemuir responded quickly and created a good chance two minutes later. Alan Cook curled in a freekick from the left and it landed to the head of Euan Murray whose flick header at the near post went just wide of the right hand post.
Jamie Barclay was again called into action in the 20th minute when Paddy Boyle hit a freekick from 20 yards out and the Stenny keeper did well to tip it over the bar and keep the score line level.
Ayr immediately responded but Jamie Adams’ effort on goal was easily saved. With 35 minutes gone a Trouten corner was cleared away only for United’s left back Paddy Boyle to hit a powerful strike from 20 yards which looked goal bound but it was palmed away from Barclay who was doing well to keep Ayr out.
Stenhousemuir started the stronger team in the second half and were handed a glorious chance after 50 minutes. Mark Gilhaney played a quick one two on the edge of the box with striker Jason Scotland and found himself 1 on 1 with Fleming but his shot was smothered by the Ayr keeper. From the resultant corner the away side again went close when Euan Murray got his head to the ball but his effort was blocked on the line by his own teammate, Jason Scotland.
Ayr grew into the second half and made the breakthrough after 65 minutes. Ryan Stevenson whipped in a freekick from the left which evaded everyone in the box, catching out keeper Jamie Barclay who failed to collect the ball properly and Moore pounced to smash the ball into the roof of the net from close range and give Ayr the lead.
The away team were quick to respond to this setback and 3 minutes Jason Scotland freekick from 20 yards out was well saved by Greg Fleming. This was only to be temporary relief for Ayr as from the resultant corner the away side found themselves level when Jamie McCormack glanced a free header from 10 yards past Fleming to get his team back into the game.
Ayr almost took the lead again immediately after the restart with Devlin causing Stenhousemuir problems down the right and his powerful low cross being met by Moore who’s shot came back off the post and into Barclay’s hands
The game quickly turned in Ayr’s favour minutes later when Alan Cook was sent off for a second booking after taking out Nicky Devlin with a late challenge, leaving his teammates with an uphill task for the remaining 20 minutes.
Ayr took full advantage of the extra man and got their second of the night on the 76th minute. Trouten collected the ball in the centre of the park, slid Alan Forrest through into the box and he laid it off to Nicky Devlin who’s fizzing low cross was sliced into his own net by defender Euan Murray.
Then came the moment of magic from Ryan Stevenson. Stevenson collected the ball in his own half and was given a free run through middle by the Stenhousemuir defence who were reluctant to come out and from 30 yards he steadied himself before unleashing an unstoppable strike into the top corner giving Barclay no chance. A wonder goal and Ayr were 3-1 up.
The Honest Men rounded off a great night with a goal from Alan Trouten in added time. After build-up play which included 18 passes before Trouten combined well with Moore at the edge of the box then coolly finished from 12 yards to complete the scoring for Ayr.
The victory draws Ayr level on points in second place with Peterhead, with the Blue Toon leading on goal difference.
Ayr will now host league leaders Dunfermline on Saturday.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Murphy, Graham, Stevenson, McCrorie, Docherty, Moore, Trouten, Adams Substitutes Preston, Wardrope, McLaughlin, Donald, Gilmour, Forrest, Newman (GK).
Barclay, McCormack, Summers, Malcolm, Murray, Meechan, Gilhaney, Stirling, McMenamin, Scotland, Cook Substitutes McCroary, Marenghi, Robertson, Manzana, Small, Roberston (GK).
Referee: Alan Newlands
Match Report: AUmedia