Ayr United vs. Raith Rovers
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 10th March 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United host league leaders Raith Rovers in what could prove to be a massive game in the League 1 title race. The Kirkcaldy side currently hold a four point advantage over the Honest Men but have played a game more as we enter the final quarter of the season.
Postponements at Arbroath and Coatbridge in the last seven days mean its Ayr’s fifth consecutive home fixture and Ian McCall’s side thankfully appear to have returned to form, recording 3-0 wins over East Fife and Airdrieonians most recently at Somerset Park, chalking up 100 goals in all competitions in the process.
Rovers have lost just once in the league since their last visit to Somerset Park in November but have dropped four points in their last two games, conceding in the 90th minute at Albion Rovers and at home to Arbroath to draw both games 2-2.
Barry Smith is without captain Iain Davidson and midfielder John Herron through suspension. French midfielder Willis Furtado picked up League 1’s Player of the Month Award for February and already has a goal to his name at Somerset Park this season, for previous club Airdrieonians in October.
Team News: Chris Higgins is out and everyone else is fit and available.
Ian says: “After not having a game for two weeks we are absolutely desperate to get back out there and what a game to come back to. Thankfully we haven’t had too much disruption due to the weather, we trained indoors at Toryglen on Monday and Tuesday to ensure our preparations weren’t affected. Training has been excellent and there is a great mood in the squad just now. We are still of the back of two 3-0 wins and with a fully fit squad other than Higgy there is no doubt that there is plenty of confidence. The previous 3 games with Raith have all been eventful and with one win a piece and a draw between the teams there is everything to play for. This match will decide nothing yet in terms of the title however it goes without saying it is a game we want to win. There should be a good crowd, a fantastic atmosphere and this is the kind of game you are involved in football for.”
Head to head (League):
Ayr United wins – 50
Draws – 45
Raith Rovers wins – 50
Rovers have won two of their last 10 trips to Somerset Park, both games finishing 2-0.
Last Meeting: United have scored first in the three previous meetings between the sides this season. Lawrence Shankland opened the scoring at Starks Park in September – his first of 23 goals so far this season – but second-half goals from Lewis Vaughan and Jason Thomson saw all three points remain Fife.
January’s fixture at Starks Park finished all-square, with Shankland and Greig Spence on the scoresheet but November’s game at Somerset Park was a more one-sided affair, Lawrence Shankland again scoring the first goal of the game, with Robbie Crawford and Craig Moore rounding off a dominant 3-0 victory.
On this day: in 2000, United won a rescheduled Division 1 fixture at home to Partick Thistle. Veteran midfielder Steve Bowey scored the only goal of the game with a shot off the crossbar.
Referee – Gavin Ross
Assistant Referee 1 – Gary Hilland
Assistant Referee 2 – David McKniff
There will be a presentation at half time from the AU500 fund which brings the total raised to £20’000 since August 2016. A fantastic achievement and thank you to all involved.
Adults – £16
OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds – £10
Under 18s – £5