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.
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
Hutton; Devlin; Donald; McLaughlin; McKinlay; Gilmour; Forrest; Beattie; Donnelly; McGovern; Slane
Newman; Shirkie; Crawford; Muir; McGill
Smith; Sharp; Donaldson; Smith; Ross; Strachan; Millar; Gilfillan; McAllister; Stevenson; Riley
Jarvie; Cox; McCann; Richardson; Rogers
Report by AUmedia
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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.
– 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.
Referee: Alan Muir
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Carr
Assistant Referee 2: Willie Ferguson
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6
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 v 3 Airdrieonians
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.
4 Campbell (Shirkie 45′)
5 Murphy (Beattie 62′)
3 P. Boyle
7 Gray (Bain 89′)
10 Prunty (Parker 80′)
Referee: Mat Northcroft
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
– 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.
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Assistant Referee 1: Mark McLean
Assistant Referee 2: Craig Walker
Concessions (OAPs, students and Under16s) £8
Parent and Child Gate £18
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 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.
Tel: +44 (0) 1292 263435
Fax:+44 (0) 1292 281314
Ayr United Football Club, Somerset Park Tryfield Place, Ayr, KA8 9NB