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

Morton match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Greenock Morton

Ladbrokes Championship
Tuesday 2nd April 2019. Kick-off 7.45pm

On Tuesday night, we return to Somerset Park for the first of three home games in a week. United have had home advantage just once since the end of January but, with six of our remaining eight Championship fixtures at home, will be hoping to make Somerset Park a fortress once more during the run-in, starting with the visit of Greenock Morton.

The Honest Men enjoyed a fruitful weekend, defeating Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park on Friday night and then seeing Ross County, Dundee United and Inverness all drop points. County face Highland rivals Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium this evening before hosting Dundee United on Friday night.

Opponents:Just one win in nine in the Championship has seen Morton slide towards the wrong end of the table. On Saturday, they were defeated 3-0 at home by Partick Thistle and, with other results also going against them, find themselves just four points ahead of bottom side Alloa Athletic.

Jonatan Johansson’s side have found goals hard to come by in 2019, with just six in eleven games since the turn of the year and have lost their five matches away from home, including a Scottish Cup tie at East Fife.

Form:

Ayr United – DLLLW

Greenock Morton – LWDLL


Team News: Jamie Adams is out with injury. Everyone else is available.

Ian says: “It was great to not only get 3 points on Friday night but also to put on an excellent performance. We fully deserved the win and we were delighted to come away from such a difficult venue with such a boost. Of course now the aim is to build up momentum with a run of home games. It seems like a long time ago that we were at Somerset and we are hugely looking forward to getting back out there. We need a real togetherness now over the next month or so between our players and fans, and if we get that, who knows where it could take us.”

Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 42
Draws – 12
Greenock Morton wins – 24

United are unbeaten in the last five meetings between the sides, with the last two matches ending goalless.


Last Meeting:
There were no goals between the sides at Cappielow in February and at Somerset Park back in November, when United had Craig Moore sent off. The first league meeting this season saw the Honest Men put four second-half past

Match Officials:
Referee – William Collum
Assistant Referee 1 – Mark McLean
Assistant Referee 2 – Alan Grainger

Admission:

Adults – £17

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

Under 18s – £6

Dunfermline 0 Ayr Utd 1

Dunfermline Athletic 0 – 1 Ayr United

Ayr United ran out 0-1 winners against Dunfermline Athletic on Friday night, and with other results in the league going their way, finished the weekend in third spot on 46 points.

With the BBC cameras in attendance for this fixture and the home side looking to draw level with Ayr United if they could get the win, the stage was set for a fascinating encounter.

Ayr United kicked off the game and pressed hard, hardly letting Dunfermline get a touch of the ball for the first few minutes. Daniel Harvie was the first to try and get the ball in to a good position, but his cross was grabbed by the Pars keeper, Ryan Scully, and his long ball out was collected by Bruce Anderson but the striker was unable to control the ball and was frustrated to see the ball nestling safely in the arms of Ross Doohan in the visitors goal.

Ayr continued to pile on the pressure with Michael Moffat and Lawrence Shankland seemingly back on the form they showed at the beginning of the season with some neat passing and positional play beguiling the Pars defenders. Declan McDaid, back on the left wing, was also making his presence felt and his shot on the 15th minute pile driver shot from a Liam Smith cutback was blocked by Ryan Williamson and the danger averted as the ball went out for a throw in.

On 18 minutes, the Pars had their first real attempt at goal. Dunfermline managed to retain possession midway in to Ayr’s half and eventually the ball game to Louis Longridge just outside the centre circle. He attempted to get in to the box, but the Ayr defence held firm and only allowed the striker to take a shot from distance that went sailing harmlessly over the bar.

Moffat had an excellent chance in the 28th minute as Scully failed to get through a group of players to retrieve a crossed ball and it spun loose in to the path of Moffat, but his shot too was blasted over the bar and in to the McCathie stand from 15 yards out.

The breakthrough came three minutes later when Ayr found the back of the net. Daniel Harvie collected the ball just outside Ayr’s box and sent a scudding pass through to Moffat waiting in the centre circle. Looking as if he was going to pass the ball infield, he confused the Pars defenders and sent the ball out to McDaid wide on the wing. The winger sent a teasing cross in from the left, and with all the attention on Shankland running in to take the finish the Pars keeper failed to collect, and the ball ended up in the far side of the net. 0-1 to Ayr United, and if the Ayr drummer had been noisy before-hand, he found a few more decibels from the drum.

On 40 minutes, the Pars suffered a blow as Joe Thomson in possession fell to the ground while in possession with no player around him. It was to be seven minutes later that he left the field on a stretcher with sympathetic applause from both sets of fans to be replaced by James Craigen.

It had been a poor first 45 minutes for the home side with Ayr dominating the play, restricting the hosts to only the three attempts at goal and not troubling Doohan in goal at all.

Steve Crawford’s team talk and obviously injected some fire in to the Pars bellies as they started the second half with more urgency and panache, putting more pressure on the Ayr back line and starting to cause some problems. The game took on the feel of a cup match as play raged up and down the park with both teams desperate for the next goal, to either seal the game or set up a nail biting finish.

United were unlucky not to score in the 59th minute as Shankland nipped in between the Pars defence, but somehow Devine and Scully between them managed to keep the strikers shot out of the net.

A tactical substitution of Bakhtaoui for Higginbotham on 61 minutes nearly paid off, but the quest for glory simply ended up in the side netting and the Ayr fans breathed a sigh of relief as the lead remained intact.

If Ayr had dominated for most of the game, it was to be the Pars that took the reins for the last 15 minutes, pressing hard and getting in to the Ayr box on numerous occasions, but they were unable to break down a resolute Ayr defence and salvage anything from the game.

At the final whistle, Ross Doohan was able to celebrate his 21st birthday with his 19th clean sheet of the season and a well deserved three points for the Honest Men, a result that saw them leapfrog in to third place ahead of Caley Thistle and with a game in hand over the Highland side.

With seven games in the next four weeks, it’s going to be a tough task for the Ayrshire team, but this win will hopefully have set them up for a barnstorming finish to the season as they look to consolidate their position in the promotion playoff slots.

Ayr United

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

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

Dunfermline Athletic

Scully, Williamson, J Longridge, Ashcroft, Higginbotham, Beadling, L Longridge, Anderson, Devine, Thomson, Vincent.

Substitutes: Gill, Durnan, Bakhtaoui, Todd, McCann, Craigen, Blair

Referee:  Gavin Duncan

Attendance:  4671

Hospitality Offer Morton game

Our next match at Somerset is on Tuesday 2nd April vs Morton 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 contact Graeme on commercial@ayrunitedfc.co.uk or 01292 263435 ext3 alternatively you can book in the club shop

Dunfermline match preview

Match Preview
Dunfermline Athletic vs. Ayr United

Ladbrokes Championship
Friday 29th March 2019. Kick-off 7.05pm

On Friday night, Ayr United return to action as they take on Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park. The Honest Men last played a Championship fixture 21 days ago and now face eight games in 30 days as they look to book a shot at promotion play-offs.

With second-placed Dundee United playing four times since our trip to Falkirk they have extended their advantage over Ian McCall’s men to 12 points. Inverness have also opened up a two point gap, albeit we have three and two games in hand respectively over the Terrors and Caley Jags.

Supporters not travelling to Fife can again catch us on television, with the match to be broadcast live on the BBC Scotland channel.

Opponents:Under Stevie Crawford Dunfermline have gone from one victory in nine to five wins in-a-row to propel themselves to the brink of the play-offs. However, they were defeated on Tuesday night by Dundee United meaning they remain three points behind Ayr in fifth place, having played two games more.

Three of the Pars five wins since mid-February ended 1-0 and goalkeeper Ryan Scully has conceded just three goals in eight games since switching from Morton in January.

Form:

Ayr United – WDLLL

Dunfermline Athletic – WWWWL


Team News: Jamie Adams is out with an injury to his knee. Everyone else is available.

Ian says: “It has been a strange schedule, no game for 21 days then 8 in the next 30 but we have had a break and absolutely cant wait to get back out there. The situation is very much in our own hands and we are not paying attention to anyone else. We have some players back from injury and it is great to have Alan Forrest fit and available again.”

Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 36
Draws – 30
Dunfermline Athletic wins – 36

United are unbeaten in four of their last five visits to East End Park after a run of one win in 16.


Last Meeting:
A second-half Louis Longridge penalty gave the Pars all three points when the sides met at Somerset Park in February. That went some way to avenge the Fifer’s 4-1 defeat at Somerset Park in August, when goals from Alan Forrest (2), Lawrence Shankland and Michael Moffat were countered by a solitary Jackson Longridge strike.

In between those two fixtures was a goalless draw at East End Park, three days before Christmas.


On this day: In 1913, Ayr defeated Dunfermline Athletic 1-0 at Somerset Park.

Match Officials:
Referee – Gavin Duncan
Assistant Referee 1 – Graeme Leslie
Assistant Referee 2 – David Dunne

Fourth Official – Craig Napier

Admission:

Adults – £18
Concessions* – £12
Under 12s – £5

*Over 60s, Under 18s, Full Time Students, Disabled and Unemployed

Murdoch signs new deal

United midfielder Andy Murdoch has signed a new deal which will keep him at Somerset Park for the 2019/2020 season.

Murdoch has been a near ever present this season and has been a mainstay of the team that currently sits third in the Ladbrokes Championship.

Manager Ian McCall said “We were initially very surprised when we were able to sign Andy and he certainly hasn’t let us down. We have known we wanted to keep him for a long time now and we are absolutely thrilled to  get it over the line.”

Match Postponed

Due to a waterlogged pitch todays game has been called off by the match referee. We will announce the rearranged date as soon as we have it.

Pitch inspection

There will be a pitch inspection for todays game at 12.15 due to the level of rainfall overnight and this morning

Cash for Kids easter egg appeal

Every year there is the CFK Easter Egg Appeal to bring a little bit of chocolate cheer to children around Ayrshire.

Once again our catering manager Lynne Watson is leading the Ayr United appeal. 

Last year we delivered around 300 easter eggs to West FM.

This year we want to set another record and get way over 300 eggs.

If you would like to help then we can take easter eggs anytime from now until the the Morton match on Tuesday 2nd April.

If you would like to donate an easter egg(s) then please bring it to the front door of the main stand, the club shop or the main office.

Five star lottery winners wk 36

FIVE STAR WEEKLY WINNERS

WEEK NUMBER  36      12/03/19

£1000 B0623 Duncan Rout Ayr
       
MONDAY    
£50 K1412 A Cuthbert Annbank
£10 F2945 J Frew Ayr
£10 E1021 J Wardrope Bridges Bar, Ayr
£10 G1631 C Devlin Dunure
       
TUESDAY    
£50 L0845 T Simpson Prestwick
£10 E3715 J McCrorie Coylton
£10 D5045 A Jess Ayr
£10 J1345 C McLean Ayr
`      
WEDNESDAY    
£50 B1913 J McIntyre Ayr
£10 B1111 J Brown Tarbolton
£10 C0225 S Smith Rosses & Posies, Ayr
£10 A3334 B Thomson Market Inn, Ayr
       
THURSDAY    
£50 N0814 A Campbell Ayr
£10 E0535 J Montgomerie Ayr
£10 F3221 C Yorke Dalrymple
£10 A1143 J Skimming Ayr
       
FRIDAY    
£10 B3935 E Nelson Matha Dickies, Ayr
£10 A0645 C Graham Irvine
£10 E0822 G Coulter Crosshill
       

Don’t miss any more chances to win,

To join the Lottery please call the office on 01292 263435 (option 1)

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