Greenock Morton 2 v 3 Ayr United
United got their Championship campaign back on track with a 2-3 victory over Greenock Morton on Tuesday night. Jack Baird opened the scoring for the hosts in the second half but saw his effort immediately cancelled out by Craig Moore. Luke McCowan briefly put Ayr one ahead only for Bob McHugh to equalise again before a goal from Craig McGuffie sealed
three points for the Honest Men at Cappielow.
The opening half saw a scrappy game in which Morton were the more composed side and looked more likely to score, but both teams failed to make many clear-cut chances. It took the hosts 43 mins to create a major chance. Reece Lyon beat Ross Docherty at the edge of the Ayr penalty area and flicked the ball forward to Cameron Salkeld who smashed it towards the goal, but Ross Doohan tipped it over the bar at the top left-hand corner and the half time whistle blew at 0-0.
What the first half had been lacking came thick and fast in the second set of 45 mins.
Morton opened the scoring on 47 mins through a set-piece. A corner from the left came in and Stephen Welsh headed it on to Bob McHugh who hit the post from six yards. As Ayr failed to clear, Jack Baird slid in to meet the rebound and pushed it over the line to give the hosts the lead.
Morton’s joy was short-lived as Ayr equalised swiftly, only 3 mins later. Michael Moffat picked up a misplaced header on the left wing and passed into the middle for Jordan Houston. Houston played the ball forward into the penalty area where a defensive mix up allowed Craig Moore to collect, cut in and lift it over keeper Sam Ramsbottom and into the net.
United found the back of the net again on 55 mins. A one-two between Docherty and Sam Roscoe following allowed Stephen Kelly to break forward and play a pass that set Luke McCowan up 30 yards out. McCowan made short work of it and spectacularly curled the ball past Ramsbottom into the top right-hand corner.
Ayr’s lead didn’t last long as it was now Morton’s turn for a quick equaliser. On 61 mins, the ball stuck between Ross Docherty’s legs allowing McHugh to nip in and steal it, break into the box and drill a powerful shot under Ross Doohan from 16 yards to level the game.
The match was now an explosive end to end affair where both sides looked threatening and likely to score again.
It was the visitors that found what turned out to be a decisive goal on 78 mins. Daniel Harvie intercepted a pass in his own half and played it forward to free McCowan down the left wing. A great run saw McCowan break into the box and Ramsbottom did well to initially tip his effort away. However, Morton failed to clear, and the rebound fell to substitute Craig McGuffie who hit it home from close range and Ayr were leading once again.
Morton were pressing for another equaliser and were threatening going forward while United themselves looked likely to add another one to their tally at the other end. On 92 mins United went close. A one-two between Alan Forrest and Kris Doolan set Forrest up for a run down the left wing to the edge of the box from where he hit a shot at the goal, but Ramsbottom did well to tip it over the bar.
Despite both sides attacking, Ayr saw the game out and brought the 2-3 advantage home for their first win under new manager Mark Kerr.
Ayr remain second in the league, three points behind table-toppers Dundee United and one ahead of Inverness in third.
Next up, the Honest Men are back home at Somerset Park where they welcome Partick Thistle in the Championship.
Ramsbottom, Welsh, Grant, Jacobs, McAlister, Muirhead, McHugh, Salkeld, Strapp, Lyon, Baird Substitutes: Rogers (GK), McLean, Millar, Nesbitt, Sutton, Livingstone, King
Doohan, Muirhead, Harvie, Roscoe, Moffat, Moore, Forrest, McCowan, Houston, Docherty, Kelly Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Geggan, Doolan, McGuffie, Ecrepont, McKenzie
Referee: Colin Steven