Reserves v Livingston | 22/03/22
By Karen Malcolm
On Tuesday afternoon (22/03/22), Ayr United Reserves travelled to the Tony Macaroni Arena to take on Livingston Reserves in a friendly.
Ayr Reserves included first-team players Charlie Albinson, Markus Fjørtoft and Michael Moffat. Carter Jenkins (on loan at Bonnyton Thistle) and Kinlay Bilham (on loan at Irvine Meadow) both started for the Honest Men while James Dolan (on loan at Rossvale) featured from the bench. Under 18 players Dario Viviani and Scott Tomlinson were also on the bench.
Livingston had a strong line-up, including Ayr United Academy graduate Jackson Longridge, assistant manager Marvin Bartley, Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis, and Aston Villa loanee Caleb Chukwuemeka.
With 19 mins on the clock, Livingston opened the scoring through Caleb Chukwemeka. The Aston Villa loanee intercepted a loose pass from Daire O'Connor, resulting in the Ayr defence being outnumbered by a strong press from Livingston. Chukwemeka took a shot from the edge of the box, calmly stroking the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Livingston got their second in the 32nd min when Jackson Longridge fired into the bottom corner after an audacious backheel by Chukwuemeka found him on the edge of the box.
At halftime, the home side went in with a 2-0 lead over the Honest Men. Both sides made a substitution at halftime, Sam Ashford replacing Fraser Bryden for Ayr and Craig Sibbald coming on for Livingston's Tom Parkes.
Livingston started the second half positively and got their third 3 mins after the restart. Andrew Shinnie intercepted the ball at the edge of the box then took a few touches before firing the ball into the net. A great goal from the midfielder.
United came close to grabbing a goal back in the 54th min when Paul Smith took a free-kick from 25 yards, but the midfielder's attempt went narrowly past the post.
Livingston made a double substitution in the 62nd min when Carlo Pignatiello and Odin Bailey replaced Cristian Montaño and Sebastian Soto.
In the 76th min, Dario Viviani came on for Michael Moffat, and 5 mins later, James Dolan replaced United's Trialist.
Dolan immediately showed his ability to cause problems for the Livi defence. Shortly after coming on, he drove down the wing before playing the ball into the 6-yard box, where keeper Ivan Konovalov did well to clutch the ball before United could take advantage.
The winger came close again within minutes. Doolan made his way past Adam Lewis, the left-back on loan from Liverpool, before cutting inside and releasing a shot. Unfortunately for Doolan, his goal-bound effort was denied by a good save from keeper Konovalov.
Livingston got their 4th and final goal 4 mins before the end. A cross was played into the United box from the left, and Odin Bailey, an unmarked runner into the box, fired into the net.
It was not the score Ayr wanted, but the match played its purpose, giving first-team players game time. The squad's younger members also gained valuable experience against a strong Livi side that included players with Premiership experience.
Konovalov, Longridge, Parkes, Montaño, Soto, Lewis, McMillan, Shinnie, Chukwuemeka, Kelly, Bartley Substitutes: Maley (GK), Sibbald, Bailey, Pignatiello
Albinson, Jenkins, Ecrepont, Bilham, Fjørtoft, Trialist, Smith, Moffat, Bryden, O’Connor, Gondoh Substitutes: Ashford, Dolan, Viviani, Tomlinson
Livingston 2 Ayr United 0
Livingston 4 Ayr United 0