Stenhousemuir 0 v 2 Ayr United
The Honest Men prepared for life in the Championship with a convincing 2-0 win over Stenhousemuir at Ochilview Park. Two first half goals from Paddy Boyle and trialist Andy O’Connell earned Ayr the win as they put out a comfortable performance.
The match provided manager Ian McCall an insight into his Championship side against a Stenhousemuir team who have their own high hopes for the season ahead. With O’Connell featuring up front, it was a new look centre-half pairing with Michael Rose and Daryll Meggatt at the centre of defence and Paul Cairney featuring in midfield.
The match started off at a competitive pace and it was the home side who earned their first chance of the game through Smith. On the 9th minute McCroary swung in a cross from the left hand side and it was met by Smith who’s looping header was well gathered by Fleming.
15 minutes on the clock and Ayr created their first chance of the game thanks to a great piece of skill by Gilmour. As he picked the ball out of the sky, Gilmour controlled the ball on the halfway line and coolly nutmegged his opponent before sending in a cross for Forrest. The delivery looped in behind the defence allowing Forrest a shot at goal however he fired over from the edge of the box.
A minute later and Ayr did break the deadlock through Paddy Boyle. An intelligent long ball from Rose found Boyle on the left and he drove into the box before unleashing a powerful drive which found the back of the net, giving keeper McCabe no chance.
The hosts almost drew level through McCroary, their Trialist slipped through the winger and his fizzing drive was well parried away by Fleming. A few minutes later and it was Ayr’s O’Connell with a chance however he headed wide from close range.
It wasn’t long after until he got himself on the scoresheet and on the 42nd minute made it 2-0 to The Honest Men. Gilmour swung in a ball from the right and it was met by O’Connell who directed his header across goal and into the back of the net; 2-0 and Ayr were looking comfortable.
O’Connell almost doubled his tally 3 minutes after the restart however hesitated when one on one with the keeper allowing McCabe to smother the ball at his feet, Forrest fired the loose ball into the side netting from close range.
Stenhousemuir almost pulled a goal back on the 58th minute. As the ball was delivered from the left it was met by veteran striker McMeniman however he could only head his effort over the bar from close range.
Ayr were looking comfortable as the game progressed and almost made it 3-0 through Crawford. Wardrope faught for the ball inside the Stenny box and laid it off to Crawford who zipped his shot just over from the edge of the box. McGuffie then gave the travelling support something else to cheer about with his Cruyff style skills on the edge of the box eluding his opponents however unfortunately the move came to nothing.
76 minutes on the clock and it was Forrest’s turn to try and increase Ayr’s lead. As he collected the ball on the edge of the box, he steadied himself before curling an effort towards goal which looked destined for the back of the net only to see it smack off the far right post.
As the game fizzled out, Mccall can be happy with the challenge given to his team today who looked very competent from the start. Ayr now travel to Gretna next weekend for Raydale Cup featuring South Shields FC, Gretna FC and fellow Championship rivals Queen of the South.
McCabe, McCormack, Summers, Meechan, Kerr, Berry, Trialist, McCroary, McMeniman, Stirling, Smith. Substitutes Robertson (GK), Runciman, Hamilton, Millar, McMaster, Nash, Trialist.
Fleming, Devlin, Rose, Meggatt, Docherty, Cairney, Crawford, Trialist, Forrest, Gilmour. Substitutes Hart (GK), McCracken, Wardrope, Donald, McGuffie.
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report: AUmedia