Ross County match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Ross County

Ladbrokes Championship
Friday 19th April 2019. Kick-off 7.05pm

Tonight (Friday), Ayr United can clinch a Premiership play-off slot when league leaders Ross County make the long journey south to Somerset Park. Ian McCall’s men hold a nine point advantage over fifth placed Dunfermline, who have just three games left to play so need just a point to guarantee a shot at promotion. 

Opponents:Ross County sit on the brink of clinching the Championship title, six points ahead of second-placed Dundee United with nine points left to play for. The Champions-elect were held to a goalless draw at home to Partick Thistle at the weekend but struck a potentially crucial blow in the fight for the title a fortnight ago, when Jamie Lindsay netted a last minute equaliser against the Tannadice side, a result they followed up with a 1-0 win over Dunfermline. . 

Form:

Ayr United – WDLWL

Ross County – LWDWD


Team News: Steven Bell, Craig Moore and Jamie Adams miss out with injury.


Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 7

Draws – 9

Ross County wins – 19

The Staggies have a 54% win rate against the Honest Men and are unbeaten in the last 13 meetings between the sides. United are looking to avoid a repeat of 2009/10 and 2011/12 – the last two seasons the teams shared a league – where they took just one point from a possible 12 versus the Dingwall club.


Last Meeting:
United twice levelled the scores at Victoria Park in the last meeting between the sides; Lawrence Shankland and Andy Murdoch responding to Billy McKay’s goals either side of half-time. The Northern Irish internationalist, however, went on to complete his hat-trick just two minutes after Murdoch made it 2-2, giving the Staggies all three points. The winner came at a cost for the 20-goal striker – a broken arm suffered in the process of scoring means he is ruled out from the remainder of the season.


The first fixture at Somerset Park between the sides this season was a similarly dramatic encounter; County took an early lead through Josh Mullin only to see a quick fire Lawrence Shankland double and goal from Andy Geggan put the Honest Men 3-1 up at the break. Ayr couldn’t hold on to the lead though and a second-half Billy McKay penalty and Don Cowie goal meant the points were shared.

Match Officials:
Referee – Euan Anderson
Assistant Referee 1 – John McCrossan
Assistant Referee 2 – Craig Ferguson

Fourth Official – John McKendrick

Admission:

Adults – £17

Concessions (OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds) – £11

Under 18s – £6

Dundee Utd 2 Ayr Utd 1

Ayr United all but sealed their play-off spot in the League on Friday night despite losing to Dundee United 1-2 in a spirited and strength sapping game that left nothing in the tank by the end.

Fielding the same team that beat Dundee United on their last visit to Tannadice, a win for the Honest Men would move them to within three points of their hosts and induce a heart pounding end to the season.

Lawrence Shankland got things under way in bright sunshine with Ayr attacking the goal in front of the home fans. It was obvious right from the start that both teams were in no mood to go easy with Daniel Harvie not holding back early on with a stiff challenge on his opposite number Peter Pawlett that earned a stiff talking to from referee Bobby Madden but no card this early in the game.

Dundee United were the first to get close to scoring in 5 minutes as poor defending from Ayr allowed Osman Sow to pick up the ball from a long clearance that Michael Rose failed to deal with, but his left footed drive slid wide of Doohan’s right hand post.

General play may not have been pretty with both teams trying the long ball over the back of respective defence lines and nobody getting any time on the ball as attackers were closed down and harried at every opportunity.

Dundee United had another crack at goal in the 17th minute when a long throw came in to the box. The initial touch by Sow was missed and Liam Smith pushed the ball out to the edge of the box where it was met by Callum Booth who slid the ball back to Sow waiting for the ball and his turn and dink ended in the back of the net. Celebrations were there none though as the far side assistant already had their flag up for offside and the scoreboard remained at 0-0.

The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute. Sow clattered into Smith and earned himself a yellow card and a free kick for the visitors on the far-right wing. Smith took the kick and lofted a teasing pass into the Dundee United box where Mark Connolly rose highest to clear the ball out but only to the feet of Andy Geggan. Despite getting fouled, the striker managed to get the ball away to Andy Murdoch and he chipped the ball to the far side of the goalmouth where Ayr captain Steven Bell got his head to the ball and looped a beautifully cushioned header past Benjamin Siegrist for only his second goal of the season. 0-1 to the visitors and Dundee United were staring at a fourth defeat of the season to the hands of Ian McCall’s men.

Ayr took heart from their lead and upped the tempo as they searched for a second goal to turn the screw once more on Dundee United and were playing with skill and panache. The Arabs looked shell shocked and their ball control seemed to desert them as pass after pass went wayward and any forward thrusts were snuffed out by the Ayr back-line and the first half ended with the single goal being the difference between the teams.

The foul on Geggan that led to the goal had obviously caused more damage than had be initially thought as the striker was pulled during the interval to be replaced by Mark Kerr. Neilson must have given his players a tongue lashing during the interval because they came out showing much more purpose and if it had been Ayr that ruled the roost in the first half it was Dundee United that were the top dogs for the next 45.

Just before the hour mark, Robbie Neilson pulled off what was to be his master stroke as he made a double substitution pulling Sow and Booth from the field and replacing them with Pavol Safranko and Nicky Clark. It was only going to take 4 minutes for the changes to take effect.

Coming from a corner on the nearside, the ball bounced and pinged around before Ian Harkes finally got the ball back in to the penalty box. Safranko took the ball on his chest and pinged the ball in to the back of the net and past the despairing Ross Doohan. 1-1 and Dundee United had their tails up and the home crowd urged their team on.

Dundee United doubled their lead and sealed all three points in the 73rd minute when Peter McMullan intercepted a horror pass from Doohan trying to get the ball out to Daniel Harvie, but the power was weak and the Dundee United striker snatched the ball and drove the ball across the face of the goalmouth to get the second goal. 2-1 Dundee United and their hoodoo over Ayr was well and truly broken.

Five games in fifteen days started to take their toll on the Honest Men as they began to falter for the remainder of the game and Dundee United saw the opportunity to truly put the game to bed. Attack after attack tested the Ayr defence and they struggled at times to hold their hosts at bay. When the final whistle eventually blew, they were totally spent with nothing left to give.

Results on the Saturday however went Ayr’s way as Dunfermline failed to capitalise at home going down 0-1 to Falkirk. This leaves them 9 points behind Ayr with three games to play. Ayr though have a game in hand and an 18-point goal difference over them and barring a major disaster should finish the season in fourth place at least, confirming their position in the promotion play-offs.

Next up is another Friday night televised game as champions elect Ross County come to Somerset Park, where they could wrap up the title with a win.

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Harvie, Rose, Bell, Murdoch, Crawford, Geggan, McDaid, Moffat, Shankland

Substitutes: Hare-Reid, Kerr, Forrest, Docherty, McCowan, Cadden, Miller

Dundee United

Siegrist, Booth, McMullan, Sow, Robson, Butcher, Reynolds, Watson, Harkes, Pawlett, Connolly

Substitutes: Laidlaw, Fyvie, Clark, Safranko, Nesbitt, Smith, Seaman

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 4392

Dundee Utd match preview

Match Preview
Dundee United vs. Ayr United

Ladbrokes Championship
Friday 12th April 2019. Kick-off 7.05pm

Tonight (Friday), Ayr United travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United looking to edge closer to securing a promotion play-off slot. Tuesday night’s win over Queen of the South saw the Honest Men open up a nine point gap over fifth place Dunfermline Athletic, who have only four games left to play.  

A fourth win of the season over Dundee United – who have scored in every Championship fixture this season except their three matches against Ian McCall’s men – would reignite our hopes of a second place finish by closing the gap on the Terrors to just three points with a game in hand. 

Opponents:Dundee United’s title hopes suffered a huge set back last Friday night when Ross County’s Jamie Lindsay scored a late equaliser against the Tangerines in Dingwall. Slovakian international Pavol Safranko had put United head in the 12th minute but Robbie Neilson’s men couldn’t hold on for the win that would have seen them close the gap on the Staggies to just one point.

County now hold an eight point advantage following their win on Tuesday night, meaning that with just four games to go, the Tannadice side cannot afford to slip up on Friday night or else the Highlanders will have the opportunity to clinch the Championship at home to Partick Thistle on Saturday.   

Form:

Ayr United – LWDLW

Dundee United – WWWLD


Team News: Everyone is fit and available.

Ian says: “This is our 5th game in 13 days so it has been quite a schedule but we got a good win on Tuesday night and that has given us confidence going into tonights game. We know we can go to places like Tannadice and win and it is a game we will go and enjoy. A win takes us 3 points behind them with a game in hand so it is a big incentive for us. “

Head to head (league games):
Ayr United wins – 30

Draws – 15

Dundee United wins – 28


Last Meeting:
An early Craig Moore goal was enough to earn the Honest Men a third win over Dundee United this season when the sides last met, at Somerset Park in another Friday night fixture at the end of January. Ian McCall’s side travel to Tannadice looking a repeat of their stunning 5-0 victory over the Terrors in November in which Lawrence Shankland struck four goals.

Match Officials:
Referee – Bobby Madden
Assistant Referee 1 – David Doig
Assistant Referee 2 – Jonathan Bell

Fourth Official – Steven Kirkland

Admission:

Adults – £20

Concessions – £10 (65+, under-18s and FTS with valid matric)

Messages from Dundee United –

Ayr United fans are allocated the West Stand (‘Shed’). Lower tier prices of £20 Adults / £10 Concessions apply and access is through turnstiles 19 and 20. The away coaches can park in Neish Street, which is opposite the ground, those travelling by car will have to park out with the no waiting coned areas around Tannadice as there are no parking facilities for supporters.

Random searching will also take place involving both sets of fans. Surfing flags are not permitted and all other flags will be checked by CCTV to ensure they are neither offensive or derogatory, drums are not permitted in the ground and finally the stadium is a no smoking stadium and includes E cigarettes.

For those not travelling to Tannadice, the Ally MacLeod Hospitality Suite will be open from 6pm to 11pm and showing the game live.

The offer includes a 2 choice hot buffet and a pie and Bovril at half time. The cost is £10 and the bar will be open for refreshments.

If you would like to book a table please do so through our club shop in store or by phone 01292 263435 ext5

Queen of the South match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Queens of the South

Ladbrokes Championship
Tuesday 9th April 2019. Kick-off 7.45pm

Ayr United’s busy schedule continues tonight (Tuesday) when Queen of the South are the visitors to Somerset Park. Neither side finds themselves in particularly good form as they battle it out at opposite ends of the table; a narrow defeat at home to Inverness of Saturday saw Caley leapfrog the Honest Men in the Championship table but United can regain third place tonight with a win which would close the gap on Friday night’s opponents Dundee United to six points.

Opponents:Queen of the South travel to Somerset Park with just one win in their last 10 games, a 2-1 victory against Dundee United at Tannadice. That result ended a sequence of seven consecutive defeats for Gary Naysmith’s men. Queens’ have since drawn their last two games, in dramatic circumstances at home to Falkirk seven days ago and versus Morton on Saturday, again at Palmerston Park.

The Doonhamers occupy seventh place in the Championship table, just 3 points above bottom side Alloa Athletic as the relegation battle looks set to go down to the wire; just four points separate tenth placed Wasps and Greenock Morton in sixth. Those two sides face each other at Cappielow tonight, while league leaders Ross County can extend their lead at the top of the table when they host Dunfermline Athletic.

Form:

Ayr United – LLWDL

Queen of the South – LLWDD


Team News: Aaron Muirhead is out with a calf strain. Everyone else is available.


Head to head (league games at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 14

Draws – 8

Queen of the South wins – 14

United have just one win in the last 14 matches between the sides


Last Meeting:
The last two meetings between the sides this season have ended 1-1, at the end of December at Palmerston and at Somerset Park in November.

Match Officials:
Referee – Greg Aitken
Assistant Referee 1 – Kylie Cockburn
Assistant Referee 2 – Ross Anderson

Admission:

Adults – £17

Concessions (OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds) – £11

Under 18s – £6

Dundee Utd Ally MacLeod suite offer

On Friday we face Dundee United at Tannadice with a 7.05pm kick off. The game is live on the new BBC Scotland Channel.

As a trial offer our Hospitality Suite will be open from 6pm to 11pm and showing the game live.

The offer includes a 2 choice hot buffet and a pie and Bovril at half time. The cost is £10 and the bar will be open for refreshments.

If you would like to book a table please do so through our club shop in store or by phone 01292 263435 ext5

Public Notice of Stadium works

Public Notice

On Monday 8th April, the demolition and rebuilding of the track wall will commence in line with the agreed maintenance plan for Somerset Park.

This work will last approximately 2 weeks, and involve mechanical machinery moving from the car park to inside the stadium.

Care should be taken if visiting Somerset Park. There will be no access trackside during these times.

Please note, no building works will take place on matchday.

Roy Provan

Safety and Stadium Manager

Inverness match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Ladbrokes Championship
Saturday 6th April 2019. Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, Ayr United return to Somerset Park where they take on fellow play-off contenders Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Tuesday night’s draw against Morton saw the Honest Men extend their advantage over fourth placed Inverness to one point, with United having two games in hand on the Highlanders.

Opponents:Inverness were in action in the Highland Derby on Tuesday night but were edged out 2-1 by near neighbours Ross County at the Caledonian Stadium. The home side were left to play the second-half with 10 men after Charlie Trafford’s red card on the stroke of half-time.

The defeat came after a five match unbeaten run, featuring four consecutive wins followed by a draw against Falkirk. Next week, John Robertson’s side take on Heart of Midlothian in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.

Form:

Ayr United – LLLWD

Inverness – WWWDL


Team News: Everyone is fit and available.

Ian says: “Tuesday night was disappointing, we never really got going or played at the kind of tempo that makes us very dangerous. We were flat and probably in the end slightly fortunate to come away with a point. But we did come away with a point and 4 points out the last 6 gives us something to build on. There is not one easy game in this league and Inverness don’t lose many games so it will be tough. We may look to freshen things up a bit.”

Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 5
Draws – 10
Inverness wins – 12


Last Meeting:
United were blown away with three Inverness goals in the first 18 minutes of the last meeting between the sides, at Somerset Park in January. A Nathan Austin double and Liam Polworth strike put Caley ahead and they held on for all three point despite a second-half rally from the Honest Men which saw Declan McDaid and Lawrence Shankland net.

Match Officials:
Referee – Craig Thomson
Assistant Referee 1 – David McGeachie
Assistant Referee 2 – Tony Fullerton

Admission:

Adults – £17

Concessions (OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds) – £11

Under 18s – £6

Player of the year voting

This years player of the year event is now only two weeks away and for the next 9 days we will be opening the voting for you to decide who will be our Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year for the 2018/19 season.

Voting for the awards is now open and can be done via email to commercial@ayrunitedfc.co.uk or by using the voting forms in the club shop. Please remember to confirm which category your choice is for – Player of the Year or Young player of the year.

The criteria for Young Player of the Year is that the player be under 23 on 5th April 2019 and have made at least one first team start in the league this season. The players that meet the criteria are as follows – Alan Forrest, Daniel Harvie, Liam Smith, Ross Doohan and Calvin Miller.

There is no age limit on the Player of the Year.

Voting closes at midnight on Sunday April 14

Hospitality offer QofS game

On Tuesday 9th April we face Queen of the South at Somerset Park with a 7.45pm kick off.

We have a special offer for this game only in the Ally MacLeod Hospitality Suite.

A ticket costs £30 and that includes the following

Drink of choice on arrival

Choice of bar meal

Watch the match from indoor viewing box

Half time pie and Bovril.

If you would like to book please do so through our club shop – in store or over the phone on 01292 263435 ext5

Ayr Utd 1 Morton 1

If ever a game could be described as a game of two halves, then it was this Tuesday night encounter between Ayr and Greenock Morton, with a goal each side of half time and Ayr dominating in the first 45 minutes with Greenock Morton taking the reins for the second.

Fielding the same starting eleven that ran out winners against Dunfermline the week before, United were looking to improve their points tally against Caley Thistle, one place below them in the league and to try and close the gap on Dundee United in second place. Heavy rain and hail showers just before the 7:45 kick off had made the top surface greasy, but as usual, the Somerset turf looked in excellent condition and all set up for good football.

Ayr United kicked the game off, playing towards their supporters in the Somerset Road End, and looked far the brighter of the two teams with Shankland in particular playing some nice touches to frustrate the Morton defenders.  It was Moffat that was to have the first shot on goal. Receiving the ball from Shankland on the right wing, the striker drove forward to the 18 yard line but his shot flashed wide of the right hand post and in to the Somerset Road end.

Ayr were looking dangerous in attack as Morton struggled to close down players and connect with their passes. As much as the Morton defenders looked shaky though, the Ayr United defence seemed determined to be just as profligate as a series of Morton attacks were not dealt with efficiently and corners in particular were poorly defended with Morton having three of four free headers at goal before 15 minutes were on the clock.

The opening goal, when it came, was to the home side and from the penalty spot. With Ayr pressing hard up the pitch, it was Harvie on the left hand side who slid a ball through to Andy Murdoch just inside the box. Morton defender Lee Kilday running on to the ball didn’t notice the Ayr striker behind him and going for the ball brought Murdoch crashing to the turf and referee Willie Collum had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Star striker Shankland set the ball down and made no mistake in sending the ball in to the bottom left hand corner of the net with McCrorie going to wrong way. 1-0 to Ayr United with 20 minutes on the clock.

The goal settled the home sides nerves a bit and their play became more assured as they pulled the Morton defence from one side to the other of the field and forced them in to making more mistakes as they tried to deal with the Ayr attacks.

On 34 minutes, Declan McDaid, now playing on the right-hand side, went in for a 50/50 ball with Greg Kiltie but both players missed the ball and connected hard with each other. McDaid was only able to play on for another five minutes before he was substituted by Forrest who slotted in to the position vacated by the departing player.

The first half drew to a close with no more scoring and very few clear-cut chances for either team and so they went in with Ayr holding on to their slender 1-0 lead.

If it had been Ayr who were the dominant force in the first half, they handed that role to the visitors for the second and where it had been Morton making the mistakes it was now Ayr who started to rack up the error count.

Morton thought they had a penalty claim of there own on 65 minutes and Jack Iredale appeared to be tripped by the outstretched leg of Robbie Crawford, but on this occasion Willie Collum saw it differently and booked the Morton player for diving instead of awarding the spot kick.

The visitors didn’t have to wait much longer though as only a minute later they were on level terms. A free kick just inside the Morton half taken by Reghan Tumilty was chested down by Gregor Buchanan in the box and amidst a ruck of Ayr players was toe poked in to the net by Kilitie.  One goal apiece and if nothing else, Morton deserved to draw level with their hosts after dominating the play for the majority of the second half so far.

Ayr rang the changes on the 67th minute, with Mark Kerr being replaced by Andy Geggan and on the 72nd minute with Craig Moore coming on for Michael Moffat, but neither player was able to make their usual impact on the game and the final whistle brought to an end a disappointing night for the home side.

On the balance of play, a draw was probably a fair result, but it does mean that Ayr have now won only one of their last eight home league games. However, with Inverness losing 1-2 at home to leaders Ross County, Ayr retain third spot in the league eight points behind Dundee United, but with two games in hand over the Tayside team.

With games now coming thick and fast, next up is Saturday at home with Inverness the visitors. A vitally important game for the Honest Men this one. A win would see them move four points clear of Caley Thistle, whereas a loss would drop them back a place and down to the final playoff slot with only the six games remaining. Signs of improvement over recent weeks are evident in the side, and with pivotal players coming back from injury, the league is far from over and there is still a good possibility of Ayr finishing strongly and clinching any one of the playoff spots and potential promotion.

Ayr United

Doohan, Harvie, Kerr, Rose, Moffat, Crawford, McDaid, Bell, Shankland, Murdoch, Smith

Substitutes: Hare-Reid, Geggan, Moore, Forrest, Docherty, Muirhead, Miller

Greenock Morton

McCrorie, Kilday, Iredale, Buchanan, Telfer, Millar, McAlister, Tumilty, Oliver, Kiltie, Lyon

Substitutes: Gaston, Thomson, Dykes, O’Connell, Hynes, Watt, Dallas

Referee: Willie Collum

Attendance: 1802