Match Preview East Stirlingshire vs. Ayr United Irn-Bru Cup Wednesday 16th August 2017. Kick-off 7.45pm
Tonight (Wednesday), Ayr United travel to face Lowland League side East Stirlingshire in the first round of the Irn-Bru Cup. The Shire have been a bogey side for the Honest Men in this competition, twice upsetting the odds in first round ties at Ochilview and Ian McCall will be hoping to avoid another upset and continue United’s good run of form.
Last season was East Stirlingshire’s first in the Lowland League after defeat to Edinburgh City in the play-offs ended 61-years in the Scottish Football League. The Shire finished second, seven points behind winners East Kilbride but were comfortably the division’s top scorers with 107 goals in 30 games. This term, The Shire have again been no strangers to the back of the net but seven goals in four games have earned just four points. On Saturday, they were held to a goalless draw at home to Gala Fairydean Rovers.
The Shire’s manager John Sludden will be well known to United supporters, having scored 78 goals in 140 appearances for the club between 1985 and 1990. In October 1990, Sludden scored the first ever hat-trick in the Challenge Cup for Kilmarnock in a 4-1 win over Stirling Albion at Rugby Park. Striker Andy Rodgers, in his second spell at the Stirlingshire club, is another with connections to the Honest Men and an eye for a spectacular goal.
Team News: Jamie Adams is out, everyone else is available.
Ian says: “We will make changes tonight however that doesn’t mean we are not wanting to progress, we have a squad of players and training right from the start of pre season has been excellent so we need to utilise the squad and give some of the players that have been knocking on the door an opportunity. We have momentum and we want to keep that and continue improving every match.”
Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 32
Draws – 10
East Stirlingshire wins – 16
Ayr have faced the Shire on three previous occasions in the League Challenge Cup – with very limited success. United needed extra-times and penalties to progress in 1994 after a 1-1 draw at Firs Park.
The sides met again in 2008, East Stirlingshire’s first competitive fixture at Ochilview following the switch from Firs Park. Alex Williams put the Honest Men ahead in the 15th minute but The Shire shock United with late goals from David Richardson and Andy Rodgers. The Shire were more comfortable in 2012, beating an Ayr side featuring Michael Moffat and Robbie Crawford 3-1. Mark Shankland pulled a goal back midway through the second-half to make it 2-1 after a Mickey Herd double put the home side ahead and Scott Maxwell scored late on.
The last meeting between the sides was in the League Cup in 2014, also at Ochilview. After a goalless first-half, United netted four times during the second period, three of the goals coming after David McKenna was sent-off for the home side. Ryan Donnelly (2), Scott McLaughlin and Brian Gilmour were the Honest Men on the scoresheet.
Referee – David Munro
Assistant Referee 1 – Graeme Leslie
Assistant Referee 2 – Mark McHendry
Adults – £10
Concessions – £5