Airdrieonians 1 v 2 Ayr United
Following a 2-0 win away to Dunfermline last weekend, Ayr United were once again on their travels as they made the journey to the Excelsior Stadium to face Airdrie. The Honest Men had a clean bill of health ahead of the game with gaffer, Ian McCall going with the same team that performed so well in victory against the Pars. This had the potential to be an exciting game as both teams have been in good form of late with Airdrie winning their previous four games whilst Ayr remain unbeaten after an opening day loss to Albion Rovers.
Airdrie made a blistering start and after just 55 seconds had their first effort of the game. David Cox gathered the ball just outside the area but he fired his effort wide of the target. Cox then popped up again releasing a shot from the edge of the box two minutes later. However, this time his strike was blocked by Paddy Boyle and deflect for a corner. The home side took full advantage of the resulting corner as Liam Watt played a quick one two with striker, Taylor Morgan before curling a sweet effort past Greg Fleming, to give his side the lead after just four minutes.
Watt was proving a real danger to Ayr and his quick feet on the edge of the box allowed him to dance through three Ayr United players before Morgan volleyed the loose ball wide.
United then started to come back into the game with Jordan Preston trying his luck after some neat control which gained him a yard of space. The young striker turned and looped a volley goal wards but it was straight into the hands of keeper Neil Parry. Jamie Adams then tried his luck as he burst into the box but he was off balance and his shot was wayward.
Airdrie could have made it two just minutes before half time as Cox’s initial effort was parried by Fleming. The ball landed back at the feet of the Airdrie man but his second attempt was crucially blocked by Gerry McLauchlan.
On the stroke of halftime, Ayr equalised out of nowhere. A long ball was won in the air by Moore before Preston returned the ball to his strike partner. The on loan Motherwell front man drove a shot from the edge of the box high into the roof of the net to pull Ayr United level going into half time.
Michael Donald replaced Jamie Adams at the break and Brian Gilmour stepped into the centre of midfield. The visitors made a better start to the second half with Gilmour having a bigger influence in the game. The first of a number of opportunities came to Gilmour early on but, although keeper Neil Parry failed to get down to the ball quickly enough, his shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.
However, Airdrie should have made it 2-0 as Marc Fitzpatrick found himself with a yard of space inside the box but he sent his volley high over the bar when he really should have done better.
The game then started to heat up as Peter Murphy and Taylor Morgan were involved in a tussle after an off the ball incident that left Ross Docherty on the ground. All three officials were on the field as they tried to keep the situation from boiling over.
As tempers threated to flare, Ayr United took the lead with 66 minutes on the clock. Gilmour picked the ball up in midfield and from 25 yards sent a low bouncing shot under the despairing hands of Parry and into the bottom corner of the net to send the Ayr United fans into raptures. Airdrie will feel goal keeper, Parry should have done better but Ayr were in the driving seat with 24 minutes left to play.
In 79 mins there was a sour moment in the match as Airdrie front man Taylor Morgan was stretched off the field off play after suffering a neck injury but was later discharged from hospital as the injury was not as bad as was at first feared.
Moore then had a good chance to kill the game off as he got on the end of a Donald ball into the box but his effort flew high over the bar.
Alan Trouten was introduce to replace the hardworking but tiring Forrest and had an immediate effect on the game. The substitute brilliant skipped past a number of Airdrie defenders before slipping the ball wide to Ross Caldwell who had come on for Preston just minutes before. As Ayr sought to kill the game off Caldwell’s cross failed to beat the first defender where perhaps the return pass to Trouten was a better option.
After eleven minutes of injury time the referee sounded the final whistle to confirm the victory for Ayr United. This was a hard fought contest from which Airdrie will feel they should have taken something but United’s grit, determination and killer instinct was enough to take all three points and saw them move to the top of the table after seven games.
Airdrieonians: Parry; Bain; O’Neill; Smith; Crighton; Lithgow; Watt; Fitzpatrick; Cox; Morgan; McAleer Substitutes: Sumsky; Hunter; Cadden; Brown; Prunty; Stewart; Ferguson (GK)
Ayr United: Fleming; Devlin; Boyle; Docherty; McLauchlan; Murphy; Gilmour; Adams; Preston; Moore; Forrest Substitutes: Trouten; Graham; Crawford; Caldwell; Muir; Donald; Newman (GK)
Referee: Steven Kirkland