Stranraer vs. Ayr United
Championship Play-Off Final, first leg
Wednesday 11th May 2016. Kick-off 7.45pm
Ayr United are two games away from promotion to the Championship; but will need to overcome former manager – and two-time play-off winner – Brian Reid and his resilient Stranraer side if they are going to return to Scottish football’s second tier after a four year absence. The Honest Men cruised to a 6-2 aggregate win over Peterhead in the semi-final, with the hard work done with a stunning 4-1 away win in the first-leg last week. Tomorrow night, Ian McCall’s men are on the road once more as they make the journey south along to A77 to Stair Park with a bumper travelling support sure to be in tow.
Stranraer reached the final after a remarkable 8-6 aggregate win over Livingston at the weekend, a result that saw Livi relegated to League 1. The Blues were 5-2 winners last Tuesday at Stair Park but let that three goal advantage slip in the second-leg at The Tony Macaroni Arena, Livi forcing the game into extra-time with goals in the 89th and 94th minute. Reid’s men, however, were the strongest in extra-time and went through courtesy of goals from Liam Dick and Jamie Longworth.
Team News: Everyone is fit and available to play.
Ian says: “Stranraer have been on a fantastic run in 2016 and they beat Livingston over two legs so there is no question they are a good side and a team in form. Even when they started the season poorly we all knew they would be in the playoffs. Its a fantastic tie and one we are all looking forward to. Its also great that we have all the players back for this match, we have lots of the boys in great form just now and everyone is confident. Hopefully we take a huge support down to Stranraer, I cant stress enough how much of a difference it would make to the boys to run out to a mass of black and white colour and noise.”
Head-to-Head (at Stair Park):
Ayr United wins – 22
Draws – 4
Stranraer wins – 17
The last three meetings between the sides have ended in home wins. The Honest Men also won at Stair Park in August meaning United have picked up nine points from a possible 12 against the Blues this season.
Play-off Record: Ayr United are competing in the play-offs for the fifth time. United won promotion in 2009 and 2011, after finishing second both seasons but were relegated from the First Division following defeat in the semi-final against Airdrie in 2012 and also fell at the semi-final stage in 2014.
P14, W7, D4, L3, F27, A20.
Stranraer have been involved in the play-offs in seven of the last 10 years, three times in the League 1/Division 2 play-offs and four times in the Championship/League 1 play-offs, including the previous two seasons. Last season they were defeated 4-1 on aggregate by
Forfar at the semi-final stage and lost 4-3 after extra-time in 2014 against Dunfermline, also in the semi-final. They have twice reached the final of the Division 2 Play-offs but lost on both occasions.
P8, W3, D1, L4, F14, A18 (Championship/League 1 only)
On this date: in 2011, United chalked up a handsome play-off semi-final first-leg advantage over Forfar Athletic with a 4-1 win at Station Park. Michael Moffat scored after just 2 minutes but Chris Templeman equalised shortly after. United’s advantage, however, was re-established following a Jamie Bishop own-goal before second-half goals from Ryan McCann and Andy Rodgers gave the Honest Men a comfortable lead to take back to Somerset Park.
In 1991, Ayr ended the regular season with 1-0 win over Kilmarnock at Somerset Park, a result which secured George Burley’s side’s Division One status – Ally MacLeod having stepped down in December.
Referee – Bobby Madden
Assistant Referee 1 – Alisdair Ross
Assistant Referee 2 – Douglas Potter
Fourth Official – Alan Newlands
Admission: £13 for adults, £7 concessions, £5 12-16 year olds and £3 under 12s
Travel: River Cottage buses contact Jamie on 07792 747354 or Jeanne on 07599289517 to book.
Twa Dugs bus contact John Grigor on 07903 561025 to book