Ayr United vs. Alloa Athletic
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 3rd February 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United will look to hold on to top spot in League 1 when Alloa Athletic are the callers to Somerset Park. The Honest Men have won their last two matches 4-1 as they chase down 100 goals for the season but have lost their last two league matches at Somerset Park and will need prevent a repeat if they are to retain their narrow one point advantage over Raith Rovers, in the meantime at least. Rovers travel to Hampden Park to face Queen’s Park and play their game in hand on Tuesday night at home to Albion Rovers.
Alloa Athletic held Raith to a goalless draw last weekend, a result that assisted United’s return to the top of the table. It increasingly looks like the Wasps are involved in a three-way battle with Arbroath and Stranraer for the final two promotion play-off spots. It is Alloa who currently sit the wrong side of the line in fifth place, two points behind Arbroath and a further point adrift of Stranraer, albeit with two fewer matches played than the Blues.
Jim Goodwin has been able to strengthen his squad over January, with loan deals for young Celtic defender Jamie McCart, Jordan Kirkpatrick from St. Mirren and Dunfermline striker Callum Smith. Outgoing is former United striker Craig Malcolm, who has signed for hometown club East Kilbride.
Team News: Ross Docherty, Andy Geggan, Robbie Crawford and Chris Higgins miss out through injury. Steven Bell is back in the squad after suspension.
Ian says: “There is plenty of talk about the Rangers game but there is only one focus for us and that is winning tomorrow. Last week wasn’t good enough in terms of the performance so we will certainly be looking to improve. Steven Bell comes back in to the squad and we definitely missed him over the last two games. Alloa are a good side and have made good signings so it will be a really tough game.”
Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 33
Draws – 10
Alloa Athletic wins – 12
Last Meeting: United were 2-1 winners at the Indodrill Stadium in the last match between the sides, played on a freezing cold day in Clackmannanshire at the end of November. Michael Moffat put the Honest Men ahead in just the fourth minute of the match with a rare header but the Wasps equalised in the second-half though Scott Taggart. Ayr weren’t to be denied, however, and Craig Moore scored in the 90th minute to ensure all three points headed back to Ayrshire.
There was also a 4th and a 90th minute goal for Ayr in the first encounter of the season back in September, however, Lawrence Shankland’s last minute intervention was only good enough to salvage a point at Somerset Park. A Craig Reid own goal and Kevin Cawley header put Alloa ahead. Jamie Adams then levelled the scores in the 80th minute before wrongly being adjudged to have handled in the box by referee Euan Anderson. Scott Taggart made no mistake from the spot but Jim Goodwin’s side were unable to hold on for the win.
Referee – Craig Napier
Assistant Referee 1 – Brian Templeton
Assistant Referee 2 – Robert Thomson
Adults – £16
OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds – £10
Under 18s – £5