Berwick Rangers vs. Ayr United
Betfred Cup Group G
Saturday 13th July 2019. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United kick off the 2019/20 season with a trip south of the border to face Berwick Rangers in Group G of the Betfred Cup.
Since they were reintroduced in 2016, United have an exemplary record in the group stages of the revamped League Cup, winning 11 of 12 games. Last season saw the Honest Men record wins over Morton, Albion Rovers, Stenhousemuir and Partick Thistle, eventually losing out in the quarter-finals of the competition at Ibrox. That set the tone for a successful Championship campaign and Ian McCall will be looking for progression once more, from an albeit tough looking Group G.
The Honest Men begin life without prolific striker Lawrence Shankland; while Liam Smith, Michael Rose, Robbie Crawford and Declan McDaid have also moved on, but have recruited highly talented youngsters on loan from Aberdeen and Rangers – alongside experienced forward Kris Doolan.
Berwick Rangers lost their league status last season after 68 years in the Scottish Football League/Scottish Professional Football League with a 7-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Highland League title winners Cove Rangers in a play-off. Now a Lowland League side, they will be hoping to steer a path back into League 2 under the direction of Ian Little, who returns to the club for a second spell in charge at Shielfield Park.
The Wee Gers have lost all 12 of their group stage games in the Betfred Cup over the past three seasons and failed to score a goal in last year’s competition.
Team News: Craig Moore and Jamie Adams miss out through injury.
Ian says: “We will not treat any game lightly, last season showed us exactly what can happen in cup competition if you are not completely on your game. We have done well in the group stage in the past years and that’s exactly what we will be looking to do again. Pre season has gone well and we just cant wait to get stuck into the competitive action.”
Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 40
Draws – 11
Berwick Rangers wins – 12
The Tweedsiders recorded home and away wins over the Honest Men in the second-half of the 2004/05 season but United are unbeaten in the six games since, including two at Shielfield Park.
The last meeting between the sides came in the League Cup 11 years ago, at Somerset Park. David Greenhill scored an early goal for the visitors but goals from Alex Williams and Chris Aitken before half-time saw United progress to the next round.
Team: Grindlay; Keenan, Easton, Walker, Campbell; Aitken, Stevenson, Borris, Agnew; Williams, Prunty (Gormley).
Referee – Scott Lambie
Assistant Referee 1 – Jonathan Bell
Assistant Referee 2 – Michael Addy
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6
(OAPs, students and under 21s)
Under 12s – Free
(must be accompanied by an adult)