Ayr United 1 v 1 Montrose
AET Montrose win 6 – 5 on penalties
After a frustrating 120 mins ended in a 1-1 draw, the Honest Men crashed out of the Irn Bru cup on penalties to Montrose. Iain Campbell had given the visitors an early lead before Moore levelled things up for United but despite creating numerous chances Ayr succumbed to the Gable Endies in the Russian roulette that is a penalty shootout.
Montrose opened the scoring with the first chance if the game after they won a freekick on the edge of the area on 3 mins. Iain Campbell stepped up and blasted a thunderous drive beyond Hart to give the visitors a shock lead, 0-1.
Ayr were looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at home to Arbroath on Saturday but the early loss of a goal allowed well organised and hardworking Montrose to sit behind the ball and give United a mountain to climb.
United tried to get themselves on level terms and on 17 mins McGuffie was first to try his luck. Unfortunately, the youngster ballooned the ball over the bar from 20 yards out. Montrose then fired an effort over from a similar position moments later, Johnston with the strike that caused Hart no problems.
On 19 mins McDaid whipped a ball in from the right to the back post where Moffat was lurking. The ball arrived at an awkward height and as a result Moffat couldn’t get a clean strike on the ball, allowing keeper Millar to scramble across and save.
McDaid was next to have an effort on goal on 22 mins and what an effort it was. Moore chested a high ball down into the path of McDaid whose volley flew just wide of the top left-hand corner. The pressure was to pay off for Ayr as they got themselves back level on 28 mins. Moffat picked the ball up midway inside the Montrose half and drove forward before slipping it through to Moore who controlled inside the box and coolly slotted the ball away high into the net for 1-1.
Moore wasn’t going to stop there as he looked eager for more and 8 mins later curled a strike just beyond the right-hand post from the edge of the box. On 39 mins, another glorious chance went a begging for Moffat after McGuffie curled a beautiful ball in for the striker whose header from point blank range was saved superbly by Millar in the Montrose nets.
McGuffie had the final chance of the half with a strike that flashed wide of the post on 41 mins with Ayr heading in at the break frustrated not to be ahead. The home side picked up where they left off in the second half and continued to carve out chances.
On 50 mins, Boyle raced down the left and delivered the ball into the box for Moore who met it with a header however it went over the bar. 4 mins later and Montrose failed to clear their lines resulting in Moffat attempting an ambitious overhead kick on the edge of the box that scraped narrowly wide of the right-hand post with Millar stranded in no man’s land.
The visitors were standing firm to the pressure but had good fortune to thank in the latter stages of the match when Crawford found himself hitting the woodwork twice in the space of 2 mins. The first chance came on 78 mins when the midfielder met the ball in the box and curled a shot that came off the left-hand post before seeing a header at the back post come back off the bar moments later.
As the game went into extra time, neither team really applied any meaningful pressure with Montrose having the only real chance of note when McLaren found himself in a one-on-one position with Hart on 113 mins but could only fire straight at the keeper.
The game was to be decided on penalties and 2 missed penalties from United by Gilmour and Higgins to Montrose’s 1 by Allan meant Montrose triumphed 6-5. Campbell, Steeves, Callaghan, Ferguson, Millar and Thomson all converted for Montrose while Rose, McGuffie, Moore, Forrest and Geggan netted for United.
Ayr have a break on Saturday as they prepare for Raith Rovers the following week at Starks Park for a top of the league encounter.
Ayr United Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Crawford, McDaid, Moore, Ferguson, Docherty. Substitutes Avci (GK), Gilmour, Forrest, McGuffie, Faulds, McCowan, Reid. Montrose Miller, Ballantyne, Allan, I Campbell, Steeves, Webster, Redman, Callaghan, Johnston, Hay, R Campbell. Substitutes Dillion, Ferguson, Templeman, Thomson, McLaren, Fleming (GK), Referee: Grant Irvine Attendance: 907