Match Preview v Morton

On Saturday, Ayr United travel to Cappielow to face Jim Duffy’s Greenock Morton. The Honest Men have seen their form slump in recent weeks with four defeats in their last five matches but can climb above their opponents into third position with a win.
Morton have been proven a formidable opponent at home this season, winning all four of the League 1 matches and conceding only two goals but a failure to pick up results away from home mean they have just a two point advantage over United. Last weekend they cruised to a 2-0 victory over bottom side Stirling Albion at Cappielow.
Read on for our match preview:

Team News: Brian Gilmour will have a fitness test and other than that everyone will be fit.

Marko says: “We are expecting a tight game as it was on the first game of the season however we are going with a fully fit squad which we have rarely had recently. We know when we get all these guys back we are going to win games and go on a run. I will be expecting the boys to play at the same tempo as the second half on Friday night when we caused Dunfermline problems.

Head-to-Head (League):
Ayr United wins – 58
Draws – 30
Greenock Morton wins – 46
United have lost in their last five matches away to Morton.
Last Meeting: Ayr were the victors when the two sides met on the opening day of the league campaign at the start of August. Ryan Donnelly netted with eleven minutes of the match remaining and Ton’s Jordan Allan was sent-off.
The Honest Men’s last visit to Cappielow was on the 2nd January 2012, where, despite an early Michael Moffat goal, the home side recorded a 3-1 win with goals from David O’Brien, Archie Campbell and Paul Di Giacomo.
Stats:
– Ayr United finished the first quarter of this season with the same points tally and in the same position as at the same point last season.
– Despite defeat to Dunfermline last Friday, Ayr have the best head-to-head record against teams in the top-half of the table, picking up 9 points from 12. Morton have managed just 1 win against League 1’s top five.
– Morton’s Thomas O’Ware is a former pupil of QueenMargaret Academy in Ayr. Nominally a defender, O’Ware has also played in midfield and up-front this season.

On this day: United have played 14 times on this date in history, most recently in 2008. Raith Rovers were the opponents at Starks Park where a last minute Graham Weir goal snatched a 3-2 win for the home team. David Gormley and Scott Walker were on the scoresheet for the Honest Men. Ayr’s last victory on 18th October was against Dumbarton in 1980.

Match Officials:
Referee – Calum Murray
Assistant Referee 1 – Steven Reid
Assistant Referee 2 – William Wilson

Match Info:
Adults – £15
Concessions – £10
Parent & Child – £15
Under 16’s – £3
Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

Concession prices are available to supporters over 65 years old, students in full time education and those who are registered as unemployed. Proof of entitlement must be shown at the turnstile when requested otherwise the full adult price will be due.

Ayr United supporters will be accommodated within the Main Stand and should enter the ground at the turnstiles on East Hamilton Street.

Wheelchair spaces cost £10 which includes admission for a carer or assistant if required. Places are limited, however they can be booked in advance by contacting us on 01475 723571 or by email toadmin@gmfc.net.

Car parking is available adjacent to the ground at a cost of £3 per car. The nearest train station to Cappielow is Cartsdyke, which is 5 minutes walk from the ground.

We would once again remind all supporters that the James Watt Dock Marina, located on the opposite side of East Hamilton Street to the ground, is private property and parking in this area is strictly reserved for Marina patrons only.

GRAHAM LONGAIR TESTIMONIAL MATCH

Whitletts Victoria will play host to an Ayr United XI on Sunday 19th October at Dam Park in a testimonial match for long serving Whitletts skipper Graham Longair.

The match will be only the second official… meeting between the two Ayr clubs. The only previous meeting being 31 years ago when the sides shared six goals in pre-season match at Voluntary Park.

Announcing the testimonial match, Testimonial Committee Chairman Andrew Downie expressed his thanks to Ayr United manager Mark Roberts for agreeing to fulfil the fixture.

“Graham Longair has spent 10 years with Whitletts Victoria as a player and thoroughly deserves this occasion in recognition of his service to the Club. He is also a big Ayr United supporter and when he is not playing can be seen standing on the terraces in the North Enclosure so it is fantastic for him that the two clubs who mean so much to him are coming together for his big day.”

“Ayr boss Mark Roberts has bent over backwards to help in any way that he can, including playing in a celebrity match in the summer and I am indebted to him for all his co=operation to ensure this game goes ahead.”

The match will be sponsored by Restoraroof, who are also major supporters of both clubs. Managing Director Hugh Clarke, himself a former Whitletts player, said that he was delighted to sponsor the event.

“Its’ a pleasure to be match sponsor at Graham’s Testimonial Match and it also shows our ongoing commitment to Whitletts Victoria. ”

“Good luck to everyone involved and congratulations to Graham for his service and commitment at this great local football club”

The day will also be a Funday with plenty to do to keep the kids occupied with Arena Office Supplies sponsoring the event that will include a bouncy castle and face painting.

The match on Sunday 19th October is at Dam Park with a 3pm kick off. Entry is £5 adults and £2.50 for concessions.

Photograph courtesy of Black Ice Images is Ayr skipper Scott McLaughlin with Graeme Longair and flanked by Whitletts Victoria vice chairman Andy McKissock and chairman John Dalton

Ayr United 0 Dunfermline 1

Well the spectacular thunderstorm just before kick off was in complete contrast to the rather dreich first half performance by United, in this Friday night league fixture, as a 29th minute strike from Dunfermline forward Faissal El Bakhtaoui condemned Ayr to their third defeat in a row.

Dunfermline’s neat passing style soon helped them assume control and they dominated possession for large spells of the first half with good chances falling to El Bakhtaoui, Stirling and Falkingham during the opening 15mins. In fact Bakhtaoui looked to have opened the scoring in just 8 mins when Hutton appeared to let his initial shot squirm from his grasp on the slippy Somerset surface but the follow up shot from the Dunfermline striker came off the upright and behind for a goal kick to Ayr.

Dunfermline looked very comfortable in the first half and restricted Ayr to just a handful of chances, so it was no great surprise when in 29 mins a slip in the Ayr defence allowed El Bakhtaoui to find himself in acres of space on the edge of the Ayr penalty box as he wasted no time in lashing the ball past Hutton from 18 yards.

Ayr tried to respond immediately and in one of their few first half forays forward a Mikey Donald low drive forced Dunfermline’s keeper Scully into a fine reaction save diving low to his left to deny the Ayr winger.

Ayr’s frustration at the lack of attacking opportunities was evident for all to see and this resulted in bookings for Brian Gilmour and Paul Slane who both found themselves in the referee’s black book after a couple of rash challenges.

Ayr started the second half with a different attitude and took the game to Dunfermline with Kevin McKinley going close early on from around 20 yards with a drive that went just over Ryan Scully’s cross bar.

Soon afterwards Mark Roberts decided to freshen things up and replaced Ryan Donnelly with Craig Beattie after 52 mins. At the same time Jim Jefferies obviously felt Ayr were beginning to get the upper hand and replaced winger Andy Stirling with defender Alex Whittle. This seemed to give Ayr further impetus and they stormed forward heaping more pressure on to the Dunfermline rearguard. Dunfermline quickly decided to make another change and replaced Urquhart with Ugwu in 56 mins.

As the second half progressed the game opened up as Ayr pressed and Dunfermline attempted to catch United out on the counter attack as both teams made more use of the wide areas and played some good passing football despite the slippery conditions.

In the 64th min Craig Beattie found space on the left hand side of the box and cut inside, his low angled drive had the Ayr fans on their feet as it appeared to beat keeper Scully at his right hand post but unfortunately for the Somerset faithful it was only the side netting. A minute later it was the Dunfermline fans on their feet as a great turn and shot by El Bakhtaoui in the Ayr penalty box whizzed past David Hutton’s head but crashed back of his cross bar to the relief of the Ayr defence and the dismay of the Pars fans situated behind his goal at the Railway End.

The game continued to flow from end to end but further goals eluded both sides and more substitutions followed with Ayr replacing Forrest and Gilmour with Shirkie (70′) and Crawford (79′).

And in the 82nd minute two former Ayr players swapped roles as Andy Geggan replaced a rather subdued Michael Moffat who looked a bit sheepish, when being substituted, clapping the Dunfermline supporters as he left the field of play.

In the final 5 minutes Ayr again went close as two opportunities fell to the impressive Peter Murphy in the space of a minute but he was unable to convert and Dunfermline held on for a valuable 3 points.

Attendance: 1,457

Ayr United
Hutton; Devlin; McKinlay; Murphy; McLaughlin; Gilmour; Forrest; Slane;Donnelly; McGovern; Donald

Subs:
Newman; Beattie; Crawford; Muir; Shirkie; McGill; McArthur

Dunfermline
Scully; Williamson; Millen; Spence; Buchanan; Urquhart; El Bakhtaoui; Byrne; Moffat; Falkingham; Stirling

Subs:
Goodfellow; Ugwu; Forbes; Geggan; Whittle; Drummond; Chemin

Report by AUMedia

The holiday season – A classic heritage which should be stored or massive market relating to the niche

The holiday season – A classic heritage which should be stored or massive market relating to the niche

The holiday season at this point is at soon after one of the best religious tradition as well as one of the most beneficial commercially produced journeys. Family get-togethers, decorations, taking in and having, new clothing, notes, cake sawing and first and foremost treats is exactly pops into your head since this particularly anticipated holiday break gets near. Read more

Fantastic Friday Offers!

FIVE FANTASTIC FRIDAY OFFERS AT THE CLUB SHOP

The club shop have put together five fantastic match day deals for our vital League 1 match against Dunfermline Athletic on Friday evening. These offers are for Friday 10th October only and the shop is open from 4pm that day until kick off and then immediately after the match.

Deal 1. £10 OFF all bespoke jackets including gents, ladies and kids. (adidas stock not included) shop jackets
Deal 2. £10 OFF 2014/15 replica shirts
Deal 3. £10 OFF all onesies
Deal 3. Buy a large pennant get a small pennant FREE
Deal 5. Hi Definition scarfs reduced to £5.99
shop scarves
We also have a limited number of Scotland wall clocks on sale for an incredible of only £2.99

A new range of embroidered holdalls, sports bags and backpacks have arrived in stock. These are priced at £24.99 and with Xmas creeping up on us we have taken delivery of official Ayr United FC tree decorations priced at £4.99 for a pack of 3.

Shop hours this week are:
Monday – Thursday 12pm- 4pm
Friday 4pm – 7.45pm and immediately after the match
Saturday – Closed

Match Preview v Dunfermline

On Friday night, Ayr United take on Dunfermline Athletic under the floodlights at Somerset Park. Mark Roberts’s side is looking to bounce back from two defeats in-a-row at home and three defeats in their last four games.

Title-favourites Dunfermline have won five of their last six league games and occupy second place in the table, three points ahead of Ayr but one behind leaders Forfar Athletic. The match marks the return of Michael Moffat. The 29-year old striker scored 68 goals in 3½ years with the Honest Men.

Read on for our match preview:

Team News: Peter Murphy and Martyn Campbell are both very doubtful and will face late fitness tests. Everyone else in the squad is fit.

Marko says: “This game on Friday will be a great game for us to play in, a first Friday night fixture under the lights at Somerset Park in front of what should be a good crowd. After two home defeats in a row the boys have been working hard to make sure we turn that around. We want to make it as uncomfortable as possible for Dunfermline. They are the league favourites for a reason and its highly likely that if anyone finishes above them they will be winning the league.”

Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 22
Draws – 15
Dunfermline Athletic wins – 16

United are without a win in the last seven meetings between the sides, losing five.

Last Meeting: The final league meeting between Ayr and Dunfermline last season was in April and ended one-all at Somerset Park. Alan Forrest netted for the Honest Men.

Stats:
– 36 of Michael Moffat’s 68 Ayr United goals were scored at Somerset Park.
– Ayr have three more points and twice as many wins as they did at the same stage last season.
– The Honest Men have three wins out of three against sides in the top half of the table.

On this day: Remarkably, the last two fixtures Ayr United have played on 10th October have also been against Dunfermline Athletic. In 2009 the Pars won 3-1 at East End Park. Previous to this, it was United who were winners, by the same scoreline at the same venue back in 1992. In 13 fixtures on this date the Honest Men have drawn just once.

Match Officials:
Referee: Euan Anderson
Assistant Referee 1: Andrew McWilliam
Assistant Referee 2: Colin Pensom

Match Info: Adults £15, Concessions (OAPs, Under16s and students) £8 and parent & child gate £18

Licence Holder Coaching Positions

As part of the Ayr United Football Academy’s continuing to improve the future and opportunities to develop young footballers for the Ayr United first team and support our quest to achieve Silver Star status within the SFA’s Club Academy Scotland the Academy have the following licensed coaching vacancies.

For details on the vacancies please visit our website through the following link.

http://www.aufa.org.uk/2014/09/licence-holder-coaching-positions/

Full Time Football

Ayr United Football Club and Ayr United Football Academy are delighted to confirm that the club and Academy are working jointly towards full time football at Somerset Park. With the Scottish Football Association Club Academy Scotland audit due this month, the Academy has been working hard to gain Silver Status which would put us amongst the elite academies in Scotland. Part of that process involves proving to the SFA that the club and Academy can sustain full time football.DSC00036

Explained Cub Chairman, Lachlan Cameron, “Recently I spoke in the club newsletter about the pride I have in what the Academy has achieved. This is another step along the way. What is even more pleasing is that we don’t need outside finance to achieve it. Through restructuring and making better use of the grants that are available to the Academy it means we are able to put firm foundations down for the future of the club. The aim is to make the club even more attractive to players to come here and play. It also hits my intention of living within our means, which should send a clear message out to the rest of Scottish football that having a youth policy is not only desirable, but essential for clubs to survive. I am very proud that we have one of the best examples and the most stable of community academies in the country.”

This was a view that chimed with Academy chair, Ian Welsh. “We are delighted to have the club backing us to this extent. Make no mistake about it this a serious development which has been long in the thinking. Whilst it may seem obvious that a club who may benefit from the development of a successful youth strategy would back it, we realise that unless we can provide quality young players for the manager, supporters can get disillusioned with the set up. This means we support the manager, the Chairman of the club supports the Academy and collectively we can make real, sustained progress on the park.” DSC00039

The project will see a core number of players – 12 have put pen to paper thus far – becoming full-time with the Club.

Captain Scott McLaughlin is among those who will step up their involvement at Somerset Park as well as key first team players like Michael Donald, Nicky Devlin, Brian Gilmour, Alan Forrest and Paul Slane. Joining them will be a crop of United’s star youngsters and push the club towards full-time football while keeping costs in check.

Academy Head of Youth, David White, explained: “The SFA has different statuses within its Club Academy Programme, and each Academy’s standards are measured to determine where it sits in the structure. We are striving to reach the Elite grade, but in order to do that we must provide our young players with a pathway to full-time football. Our present setup obviously doesn’t make that possible, so I have worked with Academy staff to look at ways in which we could go about it. Both Mark Roberts and Lachlan Cameron have been fantastic in buying into this because they see the benefits for the whole Club – not just the youngsters. The Chairman has added a personal investment to the Academy funding and full credit to him because he sees the long term legacy this could have.”

Training will be taken every day by Roberts and White, with sessions expanded to mirror that of professional full-time clubs. Davie added: “We’ll be able to do proper recovery sessions after games, match analysis and work on things like nutrition and sports science. None of that is really possible within the current part-time setup where the guys just come in on a Tuesday and Thursday night. So many of our young boys are crying out for this because all they want to do is train and play football. It’s not about money for them, they just want to be in and around the club every day learning from the senior pros and this will give them the perfect chance to do that.” DSC00052

The full-time setup will be operational within days, with the squad training six sessions per week.

First team boss, Roberts, confirmed: “It’s a great move for both the Academy and ourselves. What this represents is an important first step towards full-time football and it means we can spend more time working on the things we want to during the week. The players taking part in this will be fitter, stronger and our youngsters in particular will gain more game knowledge. I know from my time as a young player, the most you learn is at the ages of 16, 17 and 18 so this will be a massive thing for the young boys and over the next couple of years we’ll really start to see the benefits.” DSC00057

Restructuring of the Club Academy Scotland set up means that Ayr United Football Academy will either play in a structure below where they are now or in amongst the elite clubs. This development means that the Academy are able now to close off one of the outstanding tasks to achieve the higher status. Stringent rules apply here so the Academy are working very hard to reward the volunteers who put in countless hours for the Academy in coaching sessions with competition to stretch, challenge and improve the quality of opportunities for our young players.

Scottish Cup 3rd round draw

Ayr United will play at home to Alloa Athletic in the third round of this years William Hill Scottish Cup. The tie will be played on Saturday the 1st of November at Somerset Park.

Peterhead 2 Ayr United 0

Prior to this match both sides were forced into making changes through injury and suspension but it was the home side Peterhead who coped better as they took control of the game from the first minute and rarely allowed Ayr to get a foothold in this tie.

Ayr’s defence looked nervous and unsure from the start and as early as the third minute the warning signs were evident as Rory McAllister found himself in acres of space after losing his marker 25 yards from goal. However he seemed surprise about how easily he was able to find space for himself and failed to show enough composure to gather in the pass and bear down on the Ayr goal.

United failed to heed the warnings and only 2 mins later Peterhead’s new signing Nicky Riley found more space down the right hand channel. A jinking run followed which saw him draw Ayr keeper Hutton to his near post before a clever cut back found McAllister but with the goal at his mercy he contrived to screw his shot wide of the left hand post from 15 yards, as Ayr breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Although the surface conditions were greasy this suited Peterhead’s slick passing as they moved the ball quickly around the immaculate surface. After 8 mins another neat move ended with a corner for Peterhead taken by the impressive Jamie Stevenson. His delivery caused more problems for the Ayr defence which only ended after Peterhead’s Scott Ross was unable to keep his shot down and blasted over from inside the box.

In the 13th minute there was a claim for a penalty as Peterhead alleged a push by Ayr’s McGovern from yet another corner but referee Alan Muir saw nothing untoward and ignored the hopeful pleas as The Blue Toons Ross Smith was left floundering on the Balmoor turf.

A few minutes later Peterhead went close again as Brian Gilfillan made a darting run to the front post and his outstretched foot flicked at Jamie Stevenson’s cross from the left which seemed to deflect off an Ayr defender before looping agonisingly over keeper Hutton, and fortunately the crossbar, to settle behind the Ayr goal for another corner.

In 19 mins Ayr won their first corner and could have gone ahead after Ryan Donnelly was left unmarked and all alone in the 6 yard box but his well timed downward header crossed the line the wrong side of the near post for a goal kick to Peterhead.

Peterhead immediately retaliated and a good run and shot by Reece Donaldson was well saved by David Hutton. Ayr again briefly threatened from another corner as Mikey Donald’s near post downward header clipped the outside of the post but this wasn’t enough to stem the tide of Peterhead attacks. McAllister should have scored for Peterhead in 31 mins after he broke through on the Ayr goal but Hutton saved Ayr’s blushes blocking McAllister’s low drive with an instinctive save with his foot.

As the first half drew to a close Graeme Sharp, playing his last game for The Blue Toon before heading to Greece due to work commitments, become more involved in the continuing Peterhead attacks. He pushed forward whenever the opportunity appeared on the right flank attempting to finish on a high. However the elusive opening goal failed to materialise and the half ended 0-0.

Peterhead started the second half with renewed vigour and made a tactical change in the 53rd min withdrawing Mark Millar and replacing him with former Ayr player Ryan McCann. This seemed to unsettle Ayr further and another opportunity fell to Rory McAllister in 54 mins when he was again released through on goal and with only Hutton standing between him and the opener he again managed to completely miss the target dragging his left foot shot wide of the goals from just 15 yards. He did however partially redeem himself for this miss when in the 56th min a combination of poor defending by Ayr and some good play by McAllister allowed him to set up Jamie Stevenson to rattle the ball into an unguarded net to make it 1-0 for Peterhead.

Ayr had barely come to terms with losing the opener when worse was to follow in the 62nd min as they allowed Ryan Strachan space and time in the box to fire home Peterhead’s second of the day from around 12 yards.

Peterhead were now giving Ayr a torrid time and Mark Roberts decided to replace Craig Beattie with Dale Shirkie in the 66th min and this was followed by the final throw of the dice in the 80th min as Ayr made a double substitution replacing Donnelly and Donald with youngsters McGill and Muir.

By this stage Peterhead were happy to allow Ayr to have the ball and were content to sit in and hit Ayr on the counter attack as the game ended with a comfortable 2-0 victory for Peterhead which could have been worse had it not been for some poor finishing by Peterhead’s McAllister.

At the end there was a nice touch for long serving defender Graeme Sharp in his final game for Peterhead when he was substituted with less than a minute to go to receive rapturous applause from the home support.

Attendance – 507

Ayr United:
Hutton; Devlin; Donald; McLaughlin; McKinlay; Gilmour; Forrest; Beattie; Donnelly; McGovern; Slane

Subs:
Newman; Shirkie; Crawford; Muir; McGill

Peterhead:
Smith; Sharp; Donaldson; Smith; Ross; Strachan; Millar; Gilfillan; McAllister; Stevenson; Riley

Subs:
Jarvie; Cox; McCann; Richardson; Rogers

Report by AUmedia