Cowdenbeath match preview

Match Preview

Cowdenbeath vs. Ayr United
Ladbrokes League 1
Tuesday 29th December 2015, 7.45pm

Ayr United travel to Fife tonight (Tuesday) to take on Cowdenbeath in the rearranged League 1 fixture at Central Park. A win for Ian McCall’s men will see them close the gap to leaders Dunfermline to three points going into the New Year.

While United battled Brechin City – and the elements – on Saturday, the Blue Brazil were inactive after their home fixture versus Albion Rovers fell foul to a waterlogged pitch. Colin Nish’s side occupy seventh position in the table but have won their last three matches. Last time out, Cowdenbeath comprehensively defeated Airdrieonians 3-0 at home, where they have lost just once this season in the league – against Stranraer in August and only after a last minute Craig Malcolm penalty.

Greig Spence is likely to be the home side’s dangerman. The former Alloa, Raith and Hamilton striker has 11 goals in 21 games this season. Cowden travel to Dunfermline in the league and Rangers in the Scottish Cup before the coming to Somerset Park on January 16th

Team News: Jamie Adams, Ross Docherty, Brian Gilmour, Paddy Boyle and Craig Moore are all out.

Ian says: “We beat them comfortably at Somerset earlier in the season however they are a different team at Central Park where they have an excellent record. This is the kind of game where we might need to play a bit differently to try and get the result. We are stretched with injuries just now however the 11 starting are all more than capable and we are looking forward to the game.”

Head-to-Head (at Central Park):
Ayr United wins – 15
Draws – 12
Cowdenbeath wins – 21

United’s last win away to Cowdenbeath came in April 1993. The Honest Men have lost 3 and drawn 2 in the five games since.

Last Meeting: Jordan Preston scored after just 29 seconds when the sides met at Somerset Park in October. Further goals from Alan Forrest, Gerry McLauchlan, Brian Gilmour and Craig Moore gave United a comprehensive 5-0 victory.
On this day: United have a 33% win rate on this day, with their last win coming against Raith Rovers in 2001. Goals in the 81st, 85th (Eddie Annand) and 87th (Pat McGinlay) minutes earned a 3-1 victory after the Fifers took the lead with 15 minutes to go.
Match Officials:
Referee – George Salmond
Assistant Referee – Raymond Whyte
Assistant Referee – Scott Leslie

Match Details:
Gate prices:
Adults – £14
OAP (65 and over) – £7
Youths (under 16) – £7
Students – £7
Adult & child – £15 with 1 child (12 and under)/£16 with 2 children (12 and under)

Ayr Utd 2 Brechin 1

Ayr United 2 v 1 Brechin City
For those of us who arrived early at the ground on Saturday it looked like it would take a miracle for this game to go ahead but we should never underestimate the ground staff and volunteering Ayr United fans. Armed with nothing more than great determination and a gardening fork each they managed to remove the surface water and with some additional effort at half-time made sure the match was played to the final whistle. It was certainly touch and go with referee Nick Walsh scrutinising the ground conditions both before the match and at half-time.

Manager Ian McCall was full of praise for the volunteers who made sure that the Honest Men were able to play and gained three valuable points in the chase against league leaders Dunfermline.

It was also a tribute to the style of football United are playing, along with the return of fan’s favourite Ryan Stevenson, that 1,485 hardy souls were willing to attend through the incessant downpour. The majority huddled in the Somerset Road end playing their part as a noisy 12th man whilst the bravest of the brave stood beneath umbrellas on the North Terrace.

United dominated the majority of this match but Brechin City showed enough to suggest that they will be able to pull off many an upset as the season progresses with their on loan from Alloa striker Isaac Layne oozing quality up front. The front man even managed to give Ayr a scare in under a minute as he drove into the United box before hitting the ball into the side netting with his left foot.

Ayr were, however, determined to stamp their authority on the game and in 4 mins United were ahead. The Honest Men gained a corner after returning hero Ryan Stevenson’s powerful freekick from 35 yards out smashed off the head of a defender and flew over. Brian Gilmour took a short freekick to Mikey Donald whose beautifully flighted left-footed cross was nodded away from Jordan Preston at the back post. The ball dropped to Alan Forrest on the edge of the penalty area and he showed great composure to side foot the ball into the net through a ruck of players.

In 11 mins United again went close. Nicky Devlin played a precise long pass to Craig Moore who had dropped into the centre of midfield. Moore then worked himself forward before passing to Forrest on his left. Forrest gained more ground as he moved into the centre before finding Moore again at the edge of the penalty area. With a touch and a sidestep Moore created space for himself before smashing a drive off the bar with Brechin keeper Smith rooted on the goal-line.

On 13 mins Ayr were two up. After a glorious inter-passing build-up down the right with multiple touches from Devlin, Gilmour and Stevenson, Alan Trouten played the ball behind the defence and into the box where it was met by the overlapping Devlin. Devlin flicked the ball towards Moore some 10 yards out and with the goal beckoning but just as he was about to connect Brechin’s David Weatherston managed to poke in a toe and knock the ball away. Mikey Donald collected the ball and brought out a good save from keeper Smith at his left-hand post but the ball span upwards. Defender Darren McCormack and Craig Moore jumped together some 40 yards out but with neither getting their head to the ball which fell downward. Moore flicked out his foot made contact and the ball was in the back of the net. 2 – 0 Ayr.

Ayr were totally in charge playing some delightful football on a challenging surface but Brechin were still making some chances on the break. In 16 minutes Layne again broke into the box and his low stinging drive was stopped on the line by Devlin.

On 31 mins Brechin had three chances to draw one back. Winger Dene Shields beautifully controlled the ball on his chest from a long flighted freekick before turning Mikey Donald and reaching the by-line first. Shields’ flighted cross was met by Layne who nodded the ball down into the 6-yard box. Striker Andy Jackson was first to react but goalkeeper Greg Fleming was equal to him, blocking his shot and diverting the ball away from the goals. Layne pounced on the ball at the penalty spot, turned and hit it goalwards only to see it ricocheted back off the bar. A partial clearance saw the ball return to Layne but his shot was blocked by the flying body of Brian Gilmour and away to safety.

At half-time the score remained 2 – 1 to United.

Ayr continued to dominate as they moved into the second half creating a number of goal scoring opportunities which the just couldn’t take. Alan Trouten must be wondering how he had walked off the field with at least a hat-trick as on three occasions he was put through putting one past the post, having another cleared off the line by defender William Dyer, and a final attempt blocked by Smith in the Brechin goals.

Gilmour, Forrest, Preston and substitute Caldwell also had chances but Ayr failed to add any further goals to underline their dominance.

On 85 mins came a nasty incident when Brechin substitute Jonathan Tiffoney went over the ball after a lunging slide tackle and straight into the shin and ankle of Ayr playmaker Brian Gilmour. For most fans this appeared to be a direct sending-off offence but referee Walsh decided to only book the former Ayr man as Gilmour had to be carried off to take no further part.

This took Ayr down to only 10 men as all substitutes had been used and Brechin attempted to make full advantage of this. With 91 mins on the clock they struck.

Goalkeeper Smith came some 40 yards outside his box to take a freekick which he launched towards the Ayr United penalty area. With a slight knock on the ball reached Dene Shields in the penalty area and he played the ball across the 6-yard line. In what could only be described as a ‘stramash’ the ball was blocked three times by keeper Fleming before finally substitute Robert Thomson thumped it into the net.

As United players left the rain sodden pitch they could be happy with the result of this hard shift but could only wonder how they had only won by one goal.

Ayr United
Fleming, Devlin, Donald, Murphy, Graham, Stevenson, Gilmour, Moore, Preston, Trouten, Forrest Substitutes Newman (GK), McLauchlan, Crawford, Caldwell, Muir, McCracken, McKenzie.

Brechin City
G. Smith, McLean, Dyer, McCormack, Fusco, E. Smith, Weatherston, Molloy, Jackson, Layne, Shields Substitutes O’Neil (GK), Thomson, Montgomery, Johnston, Tiffoney

Referee: Nick Walsh
Attendance: 1,485
Match Report: AUmedia

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Brechin Match preview

Match Preview

Ayr United vs. Brechin City
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 26th December 2015

Ayr United supporters received an early Christmas present this week with the news of the return to the club of Ryan Stevenson and the midfielder goes straight into the Ian McCall’s squad for the Boxing Day visit of Brechin City.

The Honest Men are looking to bounce back from back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season as they attempt to keep pace with leaders Dunfermline Athletic, who make the trip to Forfar.

Brechin City climbed off the foot of the table last weekend with a 2-0 victory at home to Stranraer, their first win in seven games. Darren Dods’s side started the season with eight straight defeats but have rallied, with striker Isaac Layne, signed on loan from Alloa Athletic, scoring four goals in his last seven games.

Team News: Jamie Adams and Paddy Boyle are both unavailable due to injury. Ross Docherty is still out.

Ian says: “we expect the whole place to be given a boost with Ryan’s signing and back at Somerset we will be looking to get back on track with 3 points. Brechin are a much improved side from the start of the season and they will be confident coming here however we want to control the game and get 3 points.”

Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 27
Draws – 9
Brechin City wins – 13

Saturday is the 50th meeting between the sides at Somerset Park and the 100th overall. United have 49 wins and have scored 187 goals to Brechin’s 144.

Last Meeting: Saturday is the third meeting between the sides this season. At the start of the November, Jamie Adams opened the scoring at Glebe Park but Isaac Layne quickly levelled for City, while the Hedgemen were defeated 2-1 at Somerset Park in August. Alan Forrest and Alan Trouten netted for the Honest Men, Robert Thomson scored for Brechin who had keeper Graeme Smith sent-off late on.

On this day: This is United’s 20th Boxing Day fixture, with our recorded W7, D4, L8. The club’s biggest victory on this date is 8-1 at home to Montrose in 1936.

Match Officials:
Referee – Nick Walsh
Assistant Referee – David McGeachie
Assistant Referee – Craig Walker

Match Details:

Stevo returns

Ryan Stevenson today came home. Fans favourite ‘Stevo’ has initially signed on an emergency 28 day loan.

Manager Ian McCall said: “Ryan wouldn’t have dropped down leagues for any other club. Sometimes you hear of a player who supports this club or that club however he genuinely loves Ayr United.

“That wasn’t the reason I signed him though. Ryan is not at the tail end of his career and I have watched him many times this season and it’s for his ability as a footballer that I have got him here. We have a small squad here and Ryan can play in many different positions across midfield and up front.

“One thing I think we have done really well is give our supporters players that they can relate to and this is another one. We have him on a 28 day loan and are very hopeful of enticing him to stay for longer.”

Stevo said: “There really is nobody else I want to play for. I have always wanted to come back and I knew I would at some point it was just a question of when.

“I knew the manager had been watching me and I had to weigh up what would be the right thing to do. It’s no secret how much this club means to me and I just want to get out there and help us catch Dunfermline. I’ve been to plenty of the games this season so I know there is a lot of quality in the squad and I hope I can add to that.

“It’s an initial 28 day loan and I just want to play games and then take it from there. If selected I am fit and ready to go.”

Ryan will take part in training tonight and Thursday and is straight into the squad for Saturday’s match against Brechin at Somerset Park (kick off 3pm).

Peterhead 3 Ayr Utd 0

Peterhead 3 v 0 Ayr United

Ayr made the long trip north to face Peterhead, hoping to return to winning ways following back to back defeats against Dunfermline. However, they left empty handed as Peterhead reigned victorious with a 3-0 win. Following a goalless first half, the home side took full advantage of the wind at their back with three second half goals from Kevin Dzierzawski and a Shane Sutherland double.

Ross Docherty missed the game due to injury but Adams, Devlin and Moore all returned to the starting line-up for United. Ally Gilchrist was missing for Peterhead who looked to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
It was to be the away side that started the brighter creating a number of goal scoring opportunities. First Brian Gilmour looped the ball onto the head of Trouten who had made an excellent run into the box but he could only head over.

Peterhead were dealt an early blow when central defender Scott Ross aggravated an existing leg injury and was replaced by Shane Sutherland who moved into the forward line with Jamie Redmond slotting into defence.
Moore then had a great chance to give United the lead. Gilmour received the ball on the edge of the eighteen-yard box then flicked the ball inside to Moore. The on loan striker looked well positioned to fire his side into the lead but Graeme Smith produced an excellent double save to deny Moore a comeback goal.

Peterhead started to utilise the pace of front two Leighton McIntosh and Rory McAllister and it was the former who was presented with a glorious opportunity to give his side the advantage. With ten minutes on the clock, the number fifteen found himself one-on-one with United keeper, Greg Fleming but the striker dragged his shot wide of the target.

On 20 mins Ayr created the chance of the half. Murphy played the ball forward to Moore who slid the ball into the path of Trouten but his shot was excellently saved by Smith.

Five minutes later a quickly taken kick free kick found Trouten in space but his shot was blocked by a last second despairing lunge by Jordan Brown. Trouten quickly readjusted himself and lifted the ball across the box Craig Moore attempted an overhead kick which sailed over.

Ayr, with the wind at their backs, dominated play but struggled make the best of the advantage with shots from distance lacking accuracy, a weakness which would come back to haunt them in the second half.
Although pressed into their own half for much of the opening 45 mins, with even goal kicks from the usually artillery like boot of keeper Smith not reaching the halfway line, the guile and instinctive partnership of McAllister and McIntosh still caused Ayr problems.

Twice the flight of the ball confused the usually solid United defence allowing McAllister to find space and shoot. His first attempt in 26 mins saw Fleming in the Ayr goal pull of a fine save turning the ball wide and just two minutes later he blasted narrowly wide.

As the half drew to a close Ayr desperately tried to make use of the last remaining wind driven advantage but failed to any create clear cut chances as the Peterhead backline defended manfully.
The Blue Toon started the send half on the front foot. Inside two minutes Leighton McIntosh sent McAllister clear on the left but the striker’s effort was weak and Fleming saved easily.

Jim McInally’s men were trying to take full advantage of the wind and were hitting shot after shot from long range. Nathan Blockely was next to try his luck as he let fly from 40 yards, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Smelling blood, Peterhead replaced McIntosh with Riley after 61 minutes and on 62 minutes, took the lead. Paddy Boyle’s clearance made little distance and was picked up by Dzierzawski who moved the ball left and into space before lashing the ball past Greg Fleming from 25 yards. A terrific strike from the midfielder and a deserved second half goal for Peterhead.

Ayr made changes up top, substituting Moore and Preston with Forrest and Caldwell as they tried to get back into the game. Forrest was soon in action, receiving a through-ball from Trouten then darting towards the by-line. He then tried to beat Smith from a tight angle but the keeper got down to save well.

United then had a glorious opportunity to draw level. Adams knocked a Gilmour free kick into a dangerous area in the six-yard box but Caldwell sent his shot over the bar over the bar from close in.

Peterhead made Ayr pay two minutes later and with 80 mins on the clock they doubled their lead. With Ayr on the attack Peter Murphy was put under instant pressure then mugged by Ferry and Stevenson with Ferry instantly lifting the ball far up field. The ball hit off the back of McAllister and Ayr’s central defensive partnership of Graham and McLauchlan seemed odds on to clear but the usually assured McLauchlan slipped allowing McAllister to regain the ball. McAllister casually slipped the ball into the centre and the onrushing and un-marked Sutherland who said his ‘thank-yous’ by stroking the ball into the net.

With 10 minutes left United looked dead and buried but the final nail in the coffin, when it came in 85 minutes, was from the most bizarre of circumstances.

Ayr’s Alan Trouten appeared to get entangled with Riley near the halfway line but the Peterhead substitute still managed to play the ball to McAllister who expertly steadied himself before perfectly flighting the ball into the top corner from some 25 yards out. Although referee Alan Newlands had appeared to play on after the Trouten/Riley incident he inexplicably blew his whistle just before McAllister’s shot crossed a line and awarded the free kick to the ‘Blue Toon’.

The Peterhead players were rightfully bemused and angry although manager Jim McInally later confirmed that the referee had apologised for making this mistake. But Peterhead’s injustice was set right only seconds later.
From the resultant freekick Jamie Stevenson floated a wonderful ball from left to right where Sutherland was on hand to head home from the tightest of angles, giving him his second goal of the game.

The game drew to a quiet close as Peterhead romped to a 3-0 victory. A disappointing day for Ayr who will be looking to bounce back next weekend at home to Brechin City.

Ayr United: Fleming (GK), Devlin, Boyle, Murphy, McLauchlan, Graham, Gilmour, Adams, Preston, Trouten, Moore Substitutes; Newman (GK), Forrest, Muir, Crawford, Caldwell, McCracken, Donald
Peterhead: Smith (GK), Blockley, Noble, Ross, Strachan, Dzierzawski, Ferry, Redman, McAllister, Brown, McIntosh Substitutes: Jarvie, Sutherland, Stevenson, Rogers, Ferries, Riley, Adams
Referee: Alan Newlands
Attendance: 612

Peterhead match preview

Match Preview

Peterhead vs. Ayr United
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 19th December 2015

Ayr United will look to bounce back from two consecutive defeats at home to Dunfermline Athletic when they face Peterhead on Saturday. Ian McCall’s side will make the journey north tonight (Friday) ahead of a match where only a win will guarantee they stay within three points of the Pars, who host Stenhousemuir, at the top of the table.

Peterhead boss Jim McInally became Scottish football’s longest serving manager with the departure of Dick Campbell from Forfar last weekend. McInally has been in charge at Balmoor since October 2011. His side are unbeaten in their last six league matches and have lost only once at home this season, by Brechin in September.

Last Saturday, Peterhead recorded a draw at Brechin. Leighton McIntosh scored for the Blue Toon after just seven minutes – his ninth goal of the season – but the Glebe Park side equalised with 10 minutes to go. The result left Peterhead in fourth place in the League 1 table, eleven points behind Ayr.

Team News: Ross Docherty is out after injuring himself in last weeks game with Dunfermline. Everyone else is available to play.

Ian says: “I have said from the start of the season that Peterhead will be in the playoffs and I stand by that. They are a good side and its an extremely difficult place to go. It will be a real test for us however we have lost once in 15 matches and we have to move on from last week and remember how good a side we are. We go into every game looking to win and this one is no different. Even at this time of year we will take a good support up there and we want to send them home partying after a win.”

Head-to-Head (at Balmoor):
Ayr United wins – 6
Draws – 2
Peterhead wins – 6

Last Meeting: Honours were even when the sides met in Ayrshire in September. Nicky Devlin opened the scoring but Jim McInally’s side earned a point with Jamie Redman’s late equaliser.
United lost 2-0 on both visits to Balmoor last season.

On this day: in 1998, Ayr defeated Hamilton Accies 5-0 at Somerset Park when Glynn Hurst netted a hat-trick and Andy Walker a double. Former United midfielder Darren Henderson was sent-off for the visitors with the score at 3-0. In 10 matches on 19th December the Honest Men have yet to be involved in a draw.

Match Officials:
Referee – Alan Newlands
Assistant Referee – Gavin Harris
Assistant Referee – Greg Soutar

Match Details:
Adults – £12
Concessions (12-16 year olds/Seniors 65+/Students) – £6

25% off Everything!


25% OFF all stock in the club shop this weekend!!

Once again the we are offering supporters an early Xmas present by reducing our huge range of official merchandise by a whopping 25% to coincide with Saturday`s crucial table topping clash with Dunfermline Athletic.

This will be the last chance to grab a bargain before Christmas with the offer available in store on Saturday 12th December (open from 10 am) or online from midnight Friday until midnight Sunday.

Tel: 01292 263435 Ext 5

* While stock last
**No further discount applies

Everybody Active

Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) will have a bucket collection at Ayr United V Dunfermline this coming Saturday at Somerset Park. The money collected is to raise funds for their disability sports programme ‘Everybody Active’.

The ‘Everybody Active’ programme is where AUFA delivers weekly football sessions at Queen Margaret Academy (Ayr), Southcraig School (Ayr) and Invergarven School (Girvan). Also, the programme supports festivals, day trips and transport for getting some of the participants to and from their training at these 3 venues.

Kids from Queen Margaret Academy will be participating in the bucket collection and they will be at Somerset Park for today’s game from 2.15pm right through to kick-off at 3pm. They will be at various locations around the ground, just look out for kids with collection buckets.

All money raised from the bucket collection will be put into the ‘Everybody Active’ programme in order to help continue the success of programme.

Thank you for your support!

Dunfermline match preview

Match Preview

Ayr United vs. Dunfermline Athletic
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 12th December 2015

On Saturday, Somerset Park hosts a massive match in the race for the League 1 title when Dunfermline Athletic make a quick return to Ayrshire. Ian McCall’s side will be putting both their 14 match unbeaten run and unblemished home record on the line as they look to reestablish a three point lead over the Pars.

Dunfermline took advantage of Ayr sitting out the last round of League 1 fixtures to regain top spot with a 3-1 home win over bottom side Brechin City. Faissal El-Bakhtaoui, Michael Paton and David Hopkirk netted for the Fifers – extending their unbeaten run in the league to 10 games. Allan Johnston’s side lead by virtue of a better goal difference; the Pars holding a huge sixteen goal advantage.

Team News: Nicky Devlin is still unavailable, Jamie Adams is suspended and Craig Moore is 50/50

Ian says: “This is our third game against Dunfermline this season with the spoils being shared so far. We deservedly won at East End Park and the cup game here didn’t go our way however there was nothing in the match and the conditions made it near impossible to play any football. Weather forecast is much better for tomorrow which is good as we really need a good home support to get right behind us. We need there to be a great atmosphere from the start.”

Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 22
Draws – 15
Dunfermline Athletic wins – 19

Before winning at East End Park in September, United had recorded just two wins in 25 meetings between the sides in all competitions.

Last Meeting: The sides met in the Scottish Cup a fortnight ago with Dunfermline advancing following a narrow 1-0 victory. Former United midfielder Andy Geggan scored the only goal of the game, his fifth against the Honest Men since departing Somerset Park in 2012.

On this day: in 1992, Ayr defeated Dunfermline 1-0 at Somerset Park. The Pars have lost just one league match in 12 here since that match.

Match Officials:
Referee – Andrew Dallas
Assistant Referee – Brian Templeton
Assistant Referee – David McKniff

Match Details:
Adults – £15
Concessions (OAPs/u16s/Students) – £8
Parent & Child – £18