Ayr responded to recent defeats with a comprehensive 4-0 victory away to Stenhousemuir. Early goals in each half from Mikey Donald and Craig Moore and a double from Jordan Preston earned Ayr the win as the Honest Men coasted to victory
Manager Iain McCall was again absent from the sidelines due to illness however he made 3 changes to the starting 11. Preston, Crawford and Boyle all came into the starting lineup as Stevenson, Trouten and McCrorie made way.
48 seconds gone and Ayr were already off the mark. Jordan Preston collected the ball in midfield and held off Euan Murray before driving forward and providing a pin point pass through to Mikey Donald who made no mistake and calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right corner to give Ayr an early lead.
3 minutes later and Ayr were again causing the home side problems as Moore collected the ball and was forced down the line however managed to cutback to Preston but he couldn’t convert and his shot was blocked inside the box.
Stenny were awarded their first chance on 25 minutes after a good counter attack. Ayr lost the ball in midfield and Stenny broke with Gilhaney running down the right and into the box before cutting back to McMenamin. However the striker fired way over from 12 yards.
On the half hour mark Ayr would have hoped to double their lead through Preston. A mix up in the Stenny defence allowed Preston through on goal, yet from a difficult angle he failed to find the target and his shot squirmed wide of the post.
2 minutes later and Stenhousemuir forced a corner as Gilhaney’s opportunistic strike from 30 yards brought a good save from Fleming in goal. From the resultant corner, Gilhaney had 2 strikes from close range however both shots were blocked by Andy Graham to prevent the home side from equalising.
Lewis Small was next to try and draw the home side level however his effort from close range could only find the side netting after a good cross by Alan Cook. Just before halftime and the home side had their best chance of the game when Lewis Small found himself one on one but his shot was smothered by Fleming as Ayr went into halftime a goal ahead.
Ayr were quick to start the second half also and on the 47th minute doubled their lead through Craig Moore. Donald put a poor freekick into the box, the ball fell to Docherty on the edge of the box and he passed across to McCrorie. He then passed to Preston who turned the defender and set Moore through on goal and his powerful shot took a nick off the defender and past the goalkeeper to put Ayr two up.
54 minutes on the clock and Ayr almost made it 3 through Moore again. Preston clipped in a cross and Moore’s glancing header looked goalbound only for McCabe to claw the ball out of the net to deny Moore his second of the game.
Colin McMenamin almost halved the deficit after 70 minutes. The striker beat the offside trap and found himself one on one with Fleming however United’s stopper was there again to deny the striker a goal and keep Ayr two up.
Ayr continued to press in the final quarter of the game and on the 76th minute McCrorie almost found his name scoresheet but his shot dragged just wide of the left hand post.
A minute later and Ayr were awarded a penalty and a chance to increase their lead. McCrorie drove down to the by-line and was fouled by Ciaran Summers resulting in Barry Cook pointing to the spot. Preston stepped up to take the penalty and coolly fired into net to make it 3-0.
5 minutes later and Stenny almost pulled a goal back. A dangerous cross came in and Andy Graham did well to get his head on the ball however it almost looped into his own net if it were not for Fleming who was there to prevent the ball from going into the back of the net.
The rampant Ayr then added a 4th on the 88th minute. A loose pass at the back by Summers was pounced upon by Preston who steadied himself and fired the ball past McCabe to top off a successful day for the Honest Men.
The result now puts Ayr 1 point behind Peterhead in 2nd as Ayr to travel to the Blue Toon next Saturday.
McCabe, Robertson, McCormack, Meechan, Murray, Stirling, Gilhaney, Beith, McMenamin, Small, Cook Substitutes Barclay (GK), Hamilton, Marenghi, Summers, McCroary, Miller, Eddington.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, Graham, Murphy, Moore, Crawford, Preston, Forrest, Donald Substitutes Newman (GK), McLauchlan, Wardrope, McGuffie, Stevenson, McCrorie, Hodge.
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report: AUmedia