Gilmour signs new deal

Brian Gilmour today signed a new two year deal which keeps him at Somerset Park until the end of the 2017/18 season.

Manager Ian McCall said “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to get Gilly signed up for two years. Last season he had a lot of bad luck with niggling injuries however for the first part of the season he was absolutely one of our key players. He must have had more assists than anyone else.

Next season we are going to a lot of big grounds and with Gilly’s quality and temperament it certainly wont phase him.

He knows that I think he needs to be the fittest he has ever been so he can influence the game in the attacking part of the pitch where his ability is fantastic.”

Brian said “I am delighted to sign a deal committing my longer term future to the club. Last year I had a chat with the manager about my role in the squad and I am delighted he has stuck by me. That’s me been here 3 years and I feel really comfortable at the club. It’s a great bunch of boys and I am just really looking forward to the Championship now.”

Players released

The following players have been released today – Gerry McLauchlan, Andrew Muir, Adam Hodge, Shaun Newman and Kieran Woods.

Everyone at the club would like to thank them for their efforts at Ayr United and wish them all the very best for the future.

Play off Final match report

Ayr United 0 v 0 Stranraer

(Ayr win 3 – 1 on penalties after extra time)

Ayr United clinched promotion to the Championship as they triumphed on penalties thanks to the heroics of keeper Greg Fleming.  In what was a tense 120 minutes of football at Somerset it was The Honest Men who prevailed with Andy Graham hitting the winning spot-kick after 3 consecutive saves from Fleming.

Gaffer Ian McCall made 2 changes to the team from Wednesday as Stevenson and Gilmour came in for Moore and McCrorie.

The game started off at a frantic pace and after only 2 minutes Ayr had their first chance of the game.  Gilmour whipped in a free-kick at the front post and Devlin got ahead of his marker at the front post but his header flashed just over the bar.

3 minutes later and the away side were handed their first chance of the game through Stirling.  The tricky winger broke into the Ayr box and his strike was blocked by the Ayr defence who stood firm.  Stirling then had another chance when his audacious strike from 25 yards had to be well saved by Fleming as the ball looked like it would creep into the top right corner.

9 minutes gone and it was Devlin again causing problems in the Stranraer box as he got onto another corner however his header flew over the bar.  Preston was next to try his luck and his fizzing drive from the edge of the area was well saved by keeper Belford.

United almost gifted a goal to the away side when miscommunication between Fleming and Malcolm allowed the striker to sneak through on goal with the ball however Fleming did well to smother his shot from close range.

Both teams went into half-time on level terms as the tension heightened within Somerset; 0-0 on the day and 1-1 on aggregate.

Stranraer were quick to get going in the second half and after 54 minutes Stirling broke into the box and with plenty of time on the ball he could only smash his effort over the bar from 12 yards.  4 minutes later and it was McGuigan who almost opened the scoring but his header from a Pettigrew cross was well saved.

10 minutes from time and Ayr almost snatched the lead when they were handed a glorious chance.  Preston pounced upon a mistake by the Stranraer defence and after steadying himself on the edge of the box he ballooned his shot well over the bar as Ayr headed into extra time with still all to play for.

It took until the second half of extra time before the next real opportunity was created and this time it was for visitors.  Gibson swung in a corner from the right and substitute Longworth’s header flashed just wide of the far post.  3 minutes later and it was another Gibson delivery causing Ayr problems as Bell got on the end of it however his header across goal evaded everyone as it looked destined for the net.

5 minutes from time and Ayr had their last chance of the game as Boyle’s flick header looped over the bar.

120 minutes up and the play off final was to be decided on penalties towards the Railway End.

Cairney was first up for Stranraer and his fizzing strike was brilliantly saved by Fleming who guessed the right way and got a strong hand to the ball.

Preston was next up and he coolly slotted the ball home, 1-0 Ayr.

Longworth then stepped up and his poor penalty was saved by Fleming who again guessed the right way.

Trouten was next up for Ayr and he made no mistake from the spot slotting the ball into the net with ease, 2-0 Ayr.

Fleming then made it an incredible hat-trick of saves as he got a foot onto Barron’s penalty down the middle.

Docherty then stepped up to try and seal promotion for United however his penalty bounced back off the left hand post.

Gibson was left with the task of keeping Stranraer in the shoot-out and he made no mistake, firing into the bottom corner giving Fleming, although he again guessed the right way, no chance. 2-1 Ayr and one more successful penalty and they were promoted.

Next up was Graham who knew if he could convert he would send The Honest Men into the Championship next season.  And that was an opportunity he wasn’t going to squander as he stroked the ball into the net. 3-1 Ayr and Somerset was sent into raptures.

After what has been a roller-coaster season for United, they now have got much to look forward to as they prepare for life in the Championship.

 

Ayr United

Fleming, Devlin, Adams, Murphy, Boyle, Gilmour, Docherty, Crawford, Donald, Stevenson, Preston. Substitutes Newman (GK), Trouten, McCrorie, Forrest, McLauchlan, Graham, Wardrope.

 

Stranraer

Belford, Pettigrew, Bell, Robertson, Dick, Gibson, Cairney, Thomson, Stirling, Malcolm, McGuigan. Substitutes Kemp (GK), Barron, McCloskey, Currie, Longworth, Turner, Rumsby.

 

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 4581

Match Report: AUmedia

Play Off Final match preview

Match Preview

Stranraer vs. Ayr United

Championship Play-Off Final, second leg

Sunday 15th May 2016. Kick-off 2.45pm

 

Somerset Park is set to host one of the biggest games in its 128 year history on Sunday when Ayr United meet Stranraer for a place in next season’s Championship. You have to go back to 1956 for the last time the Honest Men won promotion on home turf, with subsequent successes in 1966, 1969, 1988, 1997, 2009 and 2011 all clinched away from home.

The sides go into the second-leg level after Ross Docherty’s 94th minute equaliser at Stair Park. The goal denied the Blues a seventh consecutive home win – they haven’t managed the same form on the road, where they have just one win in nine.

Ayr United are looking for a return to the second tier of Scottish football after a four year absence while Stranraer last competed at that level 10 years ago.

Team News: Craig Moore is suspended. Everyone else is fit and available.

 

Ian says: “We were delighted with the late goal on Wednesday as it gives us real confidence going into Sunday after coming out with a draw and not having played well. Overall Stranraer deserved to win so to get a draw is a bonus. It’s been a long season however we feel fresh now and have no real injury worries. We have pace and quality, there’s a good team spirit and we are really looking forward to the game. We know the prize and everyone is up for it. Our supporters have a huge part to play. I think there could be double in the ground from the Peterhead game and if that’s the case then the atmosphere will be electric. The supporters really helped us during the Peterhead game and for a game of this size I hope they are even noisier.”

 

Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park):

Ayr United wins – 29

Draws – 7

Stranraer wins – 8

 

Ayr United won both league games between the side at Somerset Park this season, 2-1 in March and 3-1 in October – but lost both 2-0 last season.

 

Play-off Record: Ayr have twice before reached the Championship (previously Division 1) play-off final, winning promotion on both occasions after drawing the first leg. In 2009, United were 2-0 down at home to Airdrieonians but two second-half goals from Mark Roberts levelled the tie ahead of the second-leg were Ryan Stevenson netted the promotion-winning goal. Two years later, The Honest Men were 2-1 down with 15 minutes remaining on the clock in the second-leg against Brechin City at Glebe Park but Mark Roberts’s equaliser and Michael Moffat’s famous goal earned a second promotion in three season – both times under the management of Brian Reid.

 

Match Officials:

Referee – Andrew Dallas

Assistant Referee 1 – Graham Chambers

Assistant Referee 2 – Sean Carr

Fourth Official – Nick Walsh

 

Admission:

 

Adults – £10

Concessions – £5

Public Announcement – Play off Final

LADBROKES CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY OFF FINAL

 SUNDAY 2.45PM KICK OFF

AYR UNITED V STRANRAER

GENERAL INFORMATION

Supporters are reminded that it is an early kick off on Sunday of 2:45pm.  We are expecting a larger than usual crowd and therefore would appeal to supporters to arrive early to allow plenty of time in getting through the turnstiles.  Prices are again, reduced to £10 Adult and £5 for concessions.  It would be helpful to all concerned if you had the right money to speed up the queues at the turnstiles

There will be a minutes silence prior to kick off for Chris Mitchell.

Due to BBC Alba production trucks being on site there will be limited parking at the ground; priority will be given to Players, Officials, staff and Blue Badge holders.  There will be car parking available at Craigie Road.

 

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

Ayr United would like to thank the huge number of fans who took the journey to Stranraer to support the team in the first leg of the Play Off final on Wednesday night.  Your support is a tremendous boost to the team in their bid to making it to the Championship.

However, it is regrettable that we have to address some serious issues that occurred on Wednesday night at Stair Park and surrounding areas.  A minority of those attending behaved in an appalling manner.  In addition to the pitch incursions and rolls of paper tossed onto the pitch, we have received reports from various sources of attacks on people by Ayr United supporters on leaving the ground.  The details of these attacks are upsetting.  Ayr United do not condone any such behaviour and it is a breach of our Unacceptable Conduct Policy. The Police have been informed and have some initial information.  We are appealing for potential witnesses to come forward with any information that would be helpful to Police Scotland in their investigations.  Please send any information to info@ayrunitedfc.co.uk and this will be sent onto Stranraer police.  Your help would be greatly appreciated.

As a result, our police presence and stewarding has been increased for Sunday’s match at Somerset Park.  Supporters are reminded that when they enter Somerset Park they must comply with our Unacceptable Conduct Policy, copies of which are posted throughout the ground and on our Ayr United website.

Police Scotland have issued a statement with regards to pitch incursions: “Police Scotland and Ayr United Football Club would like to take this opportunity to remind fans ahead of Sunday’s Championship play off final between Ayr United and Stranraer that they must remain within the terraces at all times.

Fans climbing over safety barriers and walls are risking the safety and wellbeing of themselves, other supports, players and officials.

Should this instruction be ignored, Police Scotland and the Club will have no option other than taking action against those identified, which could result in criminal prosecutions, football banning orders being issued as well as receiving lengthy bans from the stadium. As well as personal penalties, the club may also be subject to a hefty penalty from the SPFL as this type of behaviour is not tolerated in Scottish football.

Please take care and enjoy a fantastic footballing spectacle”.

Match & Coach Information

Our supporters coaches, once unloaded, will then park in Stranraer Academy. 15 minutes prior to the game finishing London Road will be shut and all the coaches lined up for a quick departure.

Fans are also being asked to arrive early for the match to avoid congestion at the turnstiles. Turnstiles will be open from 6.40pm and where possible can you have the right money.

Prices to get in are £13 for adults, £7 concessions, £5 12-16 year olds and £3 under 12s.

 

Stranraer match preview

Match Preview

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.

 Match Officials:

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

 

Betfred new League Cup sponsor

BETFRED BACKS SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP AS SPFL SECURES LATEST COMPETITION SPONSOR

 

-Leading UK bookmaking firm signs three-year-deal to be title sponsor of ‘The Betfred Cup’, starting in season 2016/17 with exciting new format and up to 13 games shown live on BT Sport-

The SPFL has today confirmed that blue-chip UK bookmaking company Betfred has agreed a three-year deal to become the exclusive title sponsor of the Scottish League Cup; The Betfred Cup.

The agreement represents another significant investment into Scottish football with Betfred assuming its rights ahead of the start of the 2016/17 competition this July, which involves an exciting new format and up to 13 matches shown live on BT Sport.

Betfred, established in 1967 but which has since grown to a 1,400 betting shop and vast online business, has a strong pedigree of sporting sponsorships including existing agreements with the World Snooker Championship and a number of UK racecourses.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “On behalf of the SPFL I’d like to offer a very warm welcome to everyone at Betfred as new title sponsors of The Betfred Cup and the latest major brand to support Scottish football. We’re absolutely thrilled to have them on board for what is another significant vote of confidence – and investment – in the game.

“The exciting new format for next season’s Betfred Cup has truly captured the imagination of supporters, clubs and media, as well as our broadcast partner BT Sport and now Betfred. By building on our strong points and proud heritage as well as daring to be a little bit different we have shown Scottish football’s enduring popularity and growing reputation for innovation.

“We know Betfred share in our ambitious vision and we are really looking forward to working with them to bring this proud and popular competition to life for the benefit of Scottish football supporters across the country.”

Betfred chief executive John Haddock added: “We are very pleased to become sponsors of the Scottish League Cup at the inception of its new and exciting format. The SPFL have shown us great enthusiasm and we look forward to a continued and successful relationship.”

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “BT Sport is looking forward to deepening its connection with Scottish football through our exclusively live coverage of the competition from mid-July. BT Sport is going to be the place to head to for Scottish football fans seeking live football this summer.”

Ayr Utd 2 Peterhead 1

Ayr United 2 v 1 Peterhead

Ayr coasted through to the play off final where they will meet Stranraer after a 2-1 victory over Peterhead; 6-2 on aggregate.  Goals either side of an unfortunate Donald own goal from Crawford and Devlin secured Ayr the victory.

High on confidence from the 4-1 result on Tuesday, gaffer Ian McCall made only one change to the team with Jamie Adams coming into the line-up to replace Andy Graham who was suffering from a groin strain.

Although the match started at a frantic pace it took 8 mins before there was real goal scoring opportunity and that fell to Peterhead.  Noble swung in a corner to the back post and it was headed back into the danger area by McAllister before falling to the feet of Brown who could only fire over from 10 yards.

2 mins later and Ayr created their first chance of the game.  Docherty found himself free at the back post however his header was weak and collected easily by Smith.  Moore also had an effort from 20 yards which took a nick off the defender and flashed just wide of the post.  Ayr were steadily beginning to take control of the match

Although not creating many chances Peterhead were next to try their luck. On 18 mins Jordon Brown struck the ball goalward from 25 yards but Fleming, in the Ayr goals, responded and comfortably saved.

As the game went on there was a feeling that it would only be a matter of time before the Honest Men and in 25 mins they took the lead. When it came it followed some intricate first timed interplay as Ayr tore through the Peterhead defence. McCrorie collected the ball from a throw in and with quick one touch passing between Donald, Preston and Crawford, Crawford found himself in space in the penalty box. He coolly composed himself before placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Ayr were 1-0 on the day and 5-1 up on aggregate.

3 minutes later and Preston almost doubled the lead however his drive across the box just evaded squeezed past the back post.

On the half hour mark, and against the run of ply, Peterhead equalised through a slice of good fortune.  McIntosh collected the ball on the right and his driven cross took a nick off the head of Donald resulting in the ball looping over Fleming and into the back of the net.

The away side continued to apply pressure as they desperately tried to find a way back into the tie and almost pulled another goal back through Blockley.  Blockley received the ball from 30 yards out and his speculative half volley had to be well saved by Fleming who did well to tip it round the post.  Minutes later Brown fired a header over the bar from a Blockley cross when he should have done better.

Crawford had a chance to double his goal tally of the game when he broke into the box again but this time he dragged his shot just wide of the right hand post.

With 56 mins gone Ayr regained their lead through captain Nicky Devlin.  Prior to the goal Mikey Donald did exceptionally well to beat two defenders in the box but his shot was tipped wide by Smith.  From the resultant corner, Devlin dashed ahead of hesitant keeper Smith and headed in from close range to disperse any hope that the away team had of staging a comeback.

Next, almost increased their lead when Adams got on the end of a Docherty corner but his header flashed wide. Substitute Stevenson then had a powerfully driven low freekick well saved by Smith who turned the ball round the post.

By the last 10 mins of the match the Peterhead players’ heads were down as they ran out of steam and hope allowing United to cruise through the final minutes

The result now means that Ayr progress to the play off final where they will face Stranraer.  Ayr travel to Stair Park on Wednesday for the first leg of the final.

 

Ayr United

Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, Adams, Murphy, McCrorie, Crawford, Preston, Moore, Donald.  Substitutes: Newman (GK), Stevenson, McLauchlan, Wardrope, Forrest, Gilmour.

Peterhead

Smith, Blockley, Noble, Ross, Strachan, Dzierzawski, Ferry, Redman, McAllister, Brown, McIntosh.  Substitutes: Jarvie (GK), Sutherland, Riley, Rodgers, Lawrence, Stevenson.

 

Referee: Crawford Allan

Attendance: 1848

Match Report: AUmedia

Programme information

Distribution of the match programmes and teamsheets will now no longer be from the club shop.

Programmes will be available from the Lottery Office and from all the kiosks inside the ground.

Teamsheets will also be available from the Lottery Office, Kiosks and from staff outside the ground.