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Match Preview v Peterhead

Ayr United and Peterhead meet for the first time in three-and-a-half years on Saturday with both clubs looking to forget regrettable performances last weekend. United dropped from the top of the League 1 table to third in the space of just 10 minutes as Airdrieonians fought back to condem the Honest Men to a second successive home defeat. Meanwhile, Peterhead found themselves reduced to eight men before half-time at East End Park, eventually going down 3-0.

Last season’s League 2 Champions have made a reasonable start to the campaign and occupy seventh place with eight points from their seven games.

Read on for our match preview:

Marko says: “Martyn Campbell, Peter Murphy and Josh McArthur are all unavailable through injury. Alan Forrest will be assessed at training on Thursday night and is touch and go. Everyone else is available. We are under no illusions as to how difficult it would be up there, not many teams in the last few years have gone to Peterhead and won. Peterhead were also doing very well at Dunfermline until the game turned with the red cards. Theres no doubt our team is weakened with the injuries that we have in defence however we know we still have plenty of quality in our side and will be going up there to win the match.”

Head-to-Head (at Balmoor):
Ayr United wins – 5
Draws – 2
Peterhead wins – 4

United are unbeaten in their last six matches against Peterhead and have won on each of their last three visits to Balmoor, scoring nine goals in the process.

Last Meeting: Ayr and Peterhead last faced each other in March 2011. Goals either side of half-time from Alan Trouten and Michael Moffat gave the Honest Men a 2-1 victory.

Stats:
– The Blue Toon have lost just two league games at home in the past 18 months.
– United have the best away form in League 1.
– Peterhead right-back Graeme Sharp is set to make his final appearance for the Blue Toon before moving to Greece. The 30-year old has made 327 appearances for the club since signing from Montrose in 2005. Sharp has scored seven goals against Ayr and been shown two red cards.

On this day: United play their first game match on October 4th since Peterhead were the visitors to Somerset Park in 2008. Ryan Stevenson and Alex Williams scored the goals in a 2-0 victory, preserving our 50% win ratio on this date.

Match Officials:
Referee: Alan Muir
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Carr
Assistant Referee 2: Willie Ferguson

Match Info:
Admission
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6

Travel
The River Cottage AUTC are running a bus to Peterhead. To book call Tam on 07585 328685 or Jamie on 07792 747354. Cost is just £16, leaving Ayr at 8am.

Ayr United 2 Airdrie 3

Ayr United 2 v 3 Airdrieonians
Scorers
Ayr United: Campbell (50’), Beattie (79’)
Airdrieonians: Lister (30’), Gasparatto (85’), Bain (90’)

Everything was there to set up this match as one to watch. This was the top versus bottom of the table clash. Ayr had returned from Brechin with all three points while Airdrieonians had been unlucky to only come away with a draw against Stranraer the week before. If any of the 1,185 fans who turned out to watch had been unaware of Airdrieonians’ improving performances they would have left after 90 minutes much better educated.

Airdrieonians were determined and well marshalled throughout. They closed down Ayr at every opportunity, and were set up to attack, with big Jim Lister a constant threat causing endless discomfort for the Ayr defence.

There was little to write home about in the first half with both teams attempting to press forward but with most of the play stagnating in the middle. Ayr’s creative midfielders were given very little time on the ball as Airdrieonians harried and challenged. Due to this, Donnelly, upfront, was provided with little opportunity to show his goal scoring prowess. Most chances were created from set pieces with Martyn Campbell heading close on a number of occasions, and an opportunistic overhead kick from Donnelly on 28 minutes resulting in an excellent save from keeper McNeil.

But Airdrie were growing in confidence with nippy wingers Gray and Watt seeing more of the ball and Ayr looking uncharacteristically nervous at the back. There was a feeling that something was about to happen and when it did was no surprise that Jim Lister was involved.

On 30 minutes, following their own throw in, some slack passing saw Ayr needlessly giving the ball away some thirty yards out. Airdrie’s Prunty made towards the penalty box then flicked it wide to Gray on the right who, making the best of Ayr’s loss of possession turning the defence, darted in behind. His first-time cross to the back post was only partially cleared by Nicky Devlin’s header and the ball dropped to Lister 6 yards out. It was as if time was standing still, and with no one able to get near him, Lister buried the ball with a right-footed shot into the centre of the net.

Ayr went straight into attack as they tried to grab the goal back and saw two corners in quick succession. In 31 minutes ball in from wide right caused problems in the Airdrie defence, and keeper McNeil flapped wildly, managing only to direct the ball to Martyn Campbell 6 yards out. Campbell struck the ball hard but Airdrie threw bodies at the ball and it was blocked. In the following stramash Airdrie somehow managed to boot the ball clear.

With players forward, Ayr were almost caught on the counter-attack. In 33’ Nicky Devlin lost out on the ball in the Airdrie half and Watt slid it through to Lister who raced towards goal. Fortunately for Ayr he ran out of steam as Slane charged back to cover and his shot was powder-puff, trickling into goalkeeper Hutton’s hands.

If things had been bad for Ayr United in the 44’ they got worse as influential central defender Peter Murphy was forced to be withdrawn due to aggravating a ligament injury. This caused Ayr to reshuffle with McKinlay going to central defence, Donald to left back while substitute Shirkie moved into a forward left-sided position.

Half time came at a crucial moment for Ayr who needed a chance to regroup and change things around. And that’s just what happened. A reinvigorated Ayr United emerged from the tunnel with greater determination and more attacking ideas.

The second half burst into action with Ayr putting pressure on the Airdrieonians backline. In the 49th minute both McGovern and Donnelly forced keeper McNeil to pull off two good saves from headers.

In the 50th minute Ayr gained a corner after a header by Donnelly was tipped over by McNeil. McGovern’s curling in-swinger was nodded away from the 6 yard box to Paul Slane who lifted the ball back in again where it reached Martyn Campbell on the penalty spot. Campbell immediately reacted by flicking at the ball with his right foot and directing it into the net leaving fully stretched keeper McNeil clutching at thin air. Martyn Campbell goals are a precious and rare commodity and when they occur they trigger delirious celebrations. No change this time.

But this was not an Airdrieonians’ team that was going to be knocked off their game. They made their intent crystal clear in 53 minutes when the ball was knocked out of the United penalty area and was met by Airdrie defender Luca Gasparotto whose volleyed shot beat Hutton but only to rattle off the top of the bar.

On 60 minutes Ayr were forced to make another change when goal scorer Campbell suffered a muscle injury and was replaced by striker Craig Beattie. Ayr had now lost both of their central defenders and captain Scott McLaughlin once again dropped in beside McKinlay in the reorganised backline.

Both sides went out for victory with Ayr forcing a succession of corners and with Lister, Prunty and Watt all going close for Airdrie. With 79 minutes gone McGovern picked up the ball in midfield and drove down the left. He knocked the ball to Donnelly who cut inside and slid an inch perfect pass to Beattie at the edge of the penalty area. Beattie controlled the ball with one touch, flicked it to his left, giving himself space to snap off a shot that went diagonally across goal and in at the back post. 2- 1 to Ayr.

With just 10 minutes remaining most Ayr fans hoped that this would signal three points for United but yet again Airdrie had different ideas. Manager Bollan signalled for an all-out attack, at times leaving only two at the back and encouraging the towering twosome, Richards-Everton and Gasparotto, to range forward at will. ‘The Diamond’s’ were about to show their cutting edge.

With five minutes remaining, a somewhat innocuous coming together of Slane and Fitzpatrick was deemed as a foul for Airdrie by referee Northcroft. From 25 yards out on the left, Watt curled the resultant free kick into the box, and the ball was returned to him. Taking this second opportunity, Watt lifted the ball to the back post where Proctor rose unmarked to nod the ball into the centre, where Gasparotto out jumped and out muscled his markers to send his header goalward. Hutton reacted immediately to this almost point blank assault but, although managing to get one hand to the ball, he could only watch in horror as it dropped into the net. 2 – 2.

Ayr were toiling and under siege as Airdrie smelt blood and went for the kill. They pushed forward relentlessly, as Ayr desperately tried to hold on. Airdrie’s winner, when it came, was no surprise, the scorer possibly was. In the 89th minute, Gary Bollan sent on the diminutive Jamie Bain for the injured Scott Gray and with his first touch he was to send the Airdrie fans delirious.

After some header tennis on the halfway line, Ayr’s Shirkie and Airdrie’s Watt jumped for the ball some 20 yards inside the Ayr United half and Watt fell clutching his mouth. Again Ayr felt aggrieved but referee Northcroft awarded a free kick to Airdrie. Watt recovered quickly to place the ball and lift it into the centre of the Ayr United penalty box. Jamie Bain had somehow managed to lose his marker, McKinlay, and found time to place his header into the back of the net. 90 minutes had gone and there was no way back for United.

Ayr United
1 Hutton
2 Devlin
3 McKinlay
4 Campbell (Shirkie 45′)
5 Murphy (Beattie 62′)
6 Gilmour
7 Slane
8 McLaughlin
9 Donnelly
10 McGovern
11 Donald

Substitutes
12 Beattie
14 Crawford
15 Shirkie
16 Muir
17 McGill
19 Newman

Airdrieonians
1 McNeil
2 O’Neil
3 P. Boyle
4 Proctor
5 Gasparotto
6 Richards-Everton
7 Gray (Bain 89′)
8 Fitzpatrick
9 Lister
10 Prunty (Parker 80′)
11 Watt

Substitutes
12 Parker
14 Bain
15 Blockley
16 Stewart
17 Bullock
18 Cadden
19 Richford

Referee: Mat Northcroft
Attendance: 1,185
Report: AUmedia.

Club Shop Bonanza!

CRAZY MATCH DAY BONANZA OFFERS AT THE CLUB SHOP

Being top of the table had a serious effect on the rationality of the club shop staff. They have come up with a dozen mad match day offers for our vital League 1 clash on Saturday against Airdrie. These offers are for one day only ( Saturday 27th September) and are on a first come first served basis.

1. Any 3 bespoke T Shirts for only £20 (normal price £14.99 each)
2. Ayr United FC mens watch 1/2 price now only £14.99
3. Jacqaurd hat & scarf set £9.99 (save £5.99)
4. Ayr United FC mugs only £2.99 normal price £6.99)
5. All embroidered slippers only £3.99 (normal price £9.99)
6. Ayr United FC size 4 & 5 footballs 1/2 price now only £5.99 shop2
7. Save £5 on `A season with Ayr United` by Gerry Ferrrara now £9.99
8. 5 piece stationary set £1.99 (reduced from £3.99)
9. Somerset Boab bargain pack T shirt / bottle opener & car sticker only £9.99
10. Ayr United / Man United commemorative match scarfs only £2.99
11. Lunch box deal (1 x Ayr United & 1 x Scotland) both for only £4.99
12. Scotland dressing gown normal price £29.99 **REDUCED TO ONLY £4.99 EACH**

The shop is open from 10 am on Saturday morning.
Offers are while stocks last and no further discounts can be applied to promotional goods.

Shop hours: Monday – Friday 12pm to 4pm and Saturday from 10am.
Tel: 01292 263435 Ext 5
email: shop@ayrunitedfc.co.uk

Slane signs!

Tonight we are delighted to announce an addition to the ever growing squad for this season. Paul Slane, 22, has signed with United for this season.

Paul made his debut for Motherwell in 2009 and after impressing there he signed a 4 year contract with Celtic in February 2010. Unfortunately his early time there was affected by a cruciate ligament injury and he was eventually loaned to MK Dons and then Partick Thistle. He was released by Celtic in 2013 and has used the time since to get himself fully fit and is raring to go.

Manager Mark Roberts said “We are absolutely delighted that Paul has signed on. Paul was never really here on trial as such as I know the ability that he has, we just had to see where he was fitness wise. He has fitted into the squad seamlessly and has already shown the quality he has in training and the games he has played so far. Paul is really enjoying being back playing regularly again and we will reap the benefits of that.”

Match Preview v Airdrie

On Saturday, top plays bottom when tenth placed Airdrieonians are the vistors to Somerset Park. Ayr United regained leadership of League 1 last weekend with four second-half goals at Brechin City and will be looking to maintain their one point advantage at the summit.

The Diamonds are yet to taste victory this season, picking up just two points from six games and have lost all three league matches away from home. A last minute equaliser by Stranraer’s Adam Forde saw Airdrie drop two points last weekend, with the match at the Excelsior Stadium ending 3-3.

Read on for our match preview:

Marko says: “We are closing in on the first quarter of the season and now we are back at the top of the league we want to stay there. We told the players at half time at Brechin that if they won they would most likely be back on top and you could see how much they wanted it. The players showed great character to come from behind and win at a place like Brechin and it just shows the type of player we have this year. We have learned from the Stranraer game a couple of weeks ago when everyone thought we would win as it showed us we need to be at the top of our game to win any match in this league.”

Team news: Kevin McKinlay should be fit for Saturday as it was only a dead leg that forced him off at Brechin, Alan Forrest will be touch and go until kick off and everyone else is fit.

Head-to-Head (league):
Ayr United wins – 6
Draws – 6
Airdrieonians wins – 4

Ayr have an identical record against Airdrie United/Airdrieonians at both Somerset Park and the Excelsior Stadium: W3, D3, L2.

Last Meeting: The home side has won this fixture 3-0 the last two times it has been played. In March, United finished with 9 men at the Excelsior Stadium when they lost to Airdrie but were the winners on the Diamonds’ last visit to Somerset Park, in January. Kevin Kyle, Michael Moffat and Alan Forrest netted in the second-half to earn the Honest Men the win.

Stats:
– The last 10 meetings between Ayr United and Airdrieonians have seen 12 red cards.
– Gary Bollan’s side lost just one of their last 16 league games last season, at Ibrox, having also lost eight games in-a-row between October and December.
– Former Ayr United striker Bryan Prunty has returned to Airdrie, netting the first goal of his second spell at the club on Saturday. ‘Prunts’ scored 17 goals in 52 appearances while at Somerset Park between June 2008 and November 2009.

On this day: Saturday will be the 20th fixture Ayr United have played on 27th September. You have to go back to 1947 for the last draw as United have won 7 and lost 7 of the last 14 matches on this date, including at Broomfield in 1997 when a Kenny Black penalty saw the ‘original’ Airdrieonians win 1-0 in a game that saw Ian Ferguson sent off.

Match Officials:
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Assistant Referee 1: Mark McLean
Assistant Referee 2: Craig Walker

Match Info:
Adults £15
Concessions (OAPs, students and Under16s) £8
Parent and Child Gate £18

BREAKING NEWS!!

**NEWSFLASH**

There’s extra reason (as if you needed it!) to head for Somerset Park this Saturday.

Because match sponsor, RestoraRoof.co.uk, has just announced an incredible venture to help boost the club’s coffers.

Their managing director, Hugh Clarke, has revealed in today’s Ayrshire Post that he will pledge £1 direct to the player budget for EVERY fan through the turnstile against Airdrieonians.

And he’s promised to do exactly the same on Friday, October 10 when we entertain Dunfermline.

It’s a huge incentive for us to get as many supporters through the gates as possible.

We know the next few games at Somerset will be crucial and having the backing of our fantastic fans can hopefully help the boys to a couple of important wins.

Our thanks go to Hugh for this great offer – let’s make him pay up!! restoraroof new

Development League game Tuesday

Our next Development League game is against Queens Park at Somerset Park on Tuesday 23rd September at 7.45pm. Entry to the match is free.

We would ask that any supporters arriving by car for any under 20 matches please use the main car park and avoid blocking emergency exits on Tryfield Place. Your cooperation is much appreciated.

Brechin 2 Ayr United 4

Brechin City 2 v 4 Ayr United
Trouten 48′ McLaughlin 53′ (pen), 86′ (pen)
Masson 59′ Beattie 73′, 90′+3

Glebe Park was a beautiful setting for an afternoon of football with the sun shining, blue skies and a lush and immaculate playing surface providing the conditions for what would be an entertaining and exciting match. With Brechin City buoyed by an emphatic 5 – 0 against Stirling Albion (maintaining their unbeaten run) and Ayr United licking their wounds after defeat at the hands of Stranraer, all was set up for a game in which pride was at stake.

From the start both sides showed their intent to attack and within one minute Brian Gilmour had struck the ball from 20 yards out but the drive ended up narrowly over the bar. Not to be undone, Brechin pushed forward and in four minutes Andy Jackson pounced on a loose ball, as the unfortunate Kevin McKinlay slipped on the greasy surface, and then sprinted goalwards before crashing a shot inches over.

In the seventh minute Alan Forrest picked up the ball on the right hand side and made a darting run into the Brechin penalty area only to be stopped by a strong and accurate last-ditch tackle. Unfortunately for the Ayr winger he landed awkwardly, injuring his shoulder. As he hadn’t recovered, six minutes later he was replaced by last week’s trialist Paul Slane.

Brechin created a number of good chances with former Ayr midfielder Alan Trouten causing difficulty for the United defence. On two occasions he drove straight into the box his first attempt going straight into the arms of a keeper Hutton whilst the second narrowly sliding past the post.
The last 20 minutes or so of the first half developed a little bit of niggle with a number of crunching tackles, unnecessary fouls and some off the ball incidents which the referee failed to pick up. Brechin’s Craig Molloy and Ayr’s Paul Slane were both lucky not to receive the referee’s attention in what appeared to be their own personal macho contest that was to continue for the rest of the game.

Although Ayr seemed to have most of the possession it was Brechin who created the majority of chances as the half moved towards its end. Bobby Barr twice went close as quick passing interplay created space and allowed him to break into the box, firstly dragging the ball past the post and secondly finding Hutton equal to his flashing shot. In the 43rd minute Scott McLaughlin’s pass was short of its mark and Andy Jackson pounced on the ball, taking the opportunity to hammer it towards goal, leaving Hutton watching helplessly as it squeezed narrowly wide.
As the whistle went for the end of the first half there was a feeling that Brechin city were on the ascendancy and that Ayr would need to be stronger in defence and much more purposeful in the second half if they were going to come away with three points.

The second half started as the first had left off, with Brechin pressing hard for an opening goal. Within one minute they went close. Breaking with speed, the ball was delivered to the feet of Andy Jackson in the penalty area and with only Hutton to beat. The odds were on Jackson but somehow he contrived to blast his shot well wide of the keeper and past the post. Ayr should have heeded the warning as Brechin’s opener was only delayed for a short while.
In the 48th minute Jackson found himself played onside well inside the Ayr United penalty area. As the Ayr back line rushed back to defend, Jackson made his way to the goal line and then slid an inch perfect pass to the on-rushing Trouten who side footed the ball into the net from 5 yards.

Before the restart Kevin McKinlay, who had played Jackson onside, was substituted and it transpired that he had difficulty moving after receiving a dead leg right at the end of the first half. Mark Roberts shuffled things around a bit with Mikey Donald filling in at the left back position with Dale Shirkie entering the play in a left side, forward position.

Ayr immediately went on the attack and when Martyn Campbell knocked the ball towards the Brechin net right back McCormack blocked the ball with his hand. Referee Gavin Duncan showed no hesitation and pointed to the spot for a penalty to Ayr United. Brechin players immediately surrounded the referee and in the confusion Duncan was unable to identify the player who had handled. He asked for the opinion of both his assistants but they also failed to spot the culprit. The referee decided to cut his losses and ask for the penalty to be taken. Brechin midfielder Greg Cameron did find his name in the book for repeatedly harassing the referee and, when given a final warning to walk away, again said something and found himself cautioned. This impetuosity would come back to haunt Greg and the Brechin team.

Unperturbed by this three minute hiatus, on 50 minutes captain Scott McLaughlin smashed the ball past Graeme Smith and into the net for United’s equaliser.

If the first half was entertaining the second half had burst into life and exploded to a higher level. Brechin attempted to respond immediately, again pressing towards the United goal. In the 15th minute Campbell slipped and Jackson picked up the ball, cut round the Ayr United defence and, in an almost duplicate version of Brechin’s opening goal, placed the ball at the feet of Trouten but this time his shot was spectacularly saved by Hutton. Again this was only a temporary delay for Brechin’s intent.

On 59 minutes the talented young midfielder Jamie Masson collected the ball on the right, in line with the edge of the United penalty area. Out turning two players he ran parallel to the edge of the box, found himself unchallenged, and with time to change back onto his right foot. Seeing his chance he hit the ball powerfully into the top right-hand corner. This was, without doubt, a spectacular effort from the youngster.

With 62 minutes gone, Brechin leading 2 -1 and with their players appearing confident that they could move on to victory, came the moment that turned the match on its head. Greg Cameron, booked earlier for dissent, lunged in on Dale Shirkie, rolling over the top of the ball and into his shins. Receiving his second yellow card Cameron made the long walk back to the changing rooms and to severe words from his manager Ray McKinnon. Shirkie, to his credit, did not make a meal of the challenge, pausing only to check that his legs were still attached and then returning to action.

Ayr started to pile on the pressure. A Donnelly header from 8 yards out resulted a good save from Smith. Shirkie followed this by shooting just over, and shortly after Smith again came to Brechin’s rescue diving at Donnelly’s feet as he darted into the box.

In the 64th minute Martyn Campbell was replaced by Craig Beattie as Ayr showed their attacking intent. Paul Slane and Jon Paul McGovern were becoming more and more influential, with McGovern spraying passes and creating space and attacking opportunities. Slane began running the ball from deep, both in wide positions and cutting inside, flying past players and linking well with the other forwards.

It looked certain that Ayr would get their just reward for this attacking play and it arrived in the 73rd minute. Following a corner, the ball was flicked from head-to-head and finally reached Craig Beattie near the back post and his header lobbed slowly into the net past the despairing hands of keeper Smith.

With Ayr’s dominance increasing it may have been expected that Brechin would go for a more defensive strategy but this did not happen. Following the replacement of Bobby Barr and Alan Trouten by Robert Thomson and Ryan Ferguson, Brechin maintained a three-man attacking force and continue to attempt to win the match.
This had become a pulsating encounter with end-to-end action but with the extra man giving Ayr a massive and clear advantage. But it wouldn’t be from open play that United took the lead.

In the 87th minute, after a period of sustained Ayr United pressure, the impressive Dale Shirkie found himself inside the box, and as he looked for support, he spotted an opportunity and blasted the ball towards the net. The one remaining defender, McCormack, blocked the attempt with two raised arms, giving the referee no other opportunity but to award another penalty and produce a yellow card. Scott McLaughlin stepped forward, and for the second time in the match, slammed the ball past Smith. Ayr were in front.

The icing on the cake for Ayr came in the third minute of added time as Craig Beattie showed all of his skill and experience to chalk up his second and Ayr’s fourth goal of the match. With the goals behind him, and a defender tight in on his back, Beattie received the ball just inside the penalty area. He flicked the ball to his left and rolled round his marker, who was left treading water, and having created acres of space Beattie blasted the ball into the Brechin net.

And so the game ended Brechin City 2 v 4 Ayr United and as the fans celebrated another three points the long journey home didn’t feel so bad.

Brechin City
1 Smith
2 McCormack
3 Hamilton
4 McLean
5 McCormack
6 Cameron
7 Trouten (Ferguson – 79′)
8 Molloy
9 Jackson
10 Barr (Thomson – 75′)
11 Masson

Substitutes
12 Jackson
14 McLauchlan
15 Ferguson
16 Thomson
17 Tough
21 O’Neil

Ayr United
1 Hutton
2 Devlin
3 McKinlay (Shirkie – 50′)
4 Murphy
5 Campbell (Beattie – 64′)
6 Gilmour
7 Forrest (Slane – 13′)
8 McLaughlin
9 Donnelly
10 McGovern
11 Donald

Substitutes
12 Beattie
14 Slane
15 Shirkie
16 Muir
17 McGill
18 Crawford
19 Newman

Referee: Gavin Duncan
Attendance: 537
Match Report AUmedia

Club shop Opening Hours

The club shop will be open from 10am-12 tomorrow (Saturday 20th September) to allow the staff to travel to Brechin.