Ayr United 3 – 0 Airdrieonians
Ayr United dominated proceedings at Somerset Park as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Airdrie, on Saturday. First half strikes from Jordan Preston and Michael Donald gave United a cushion going into half time before Alan Trouten added a third, sixteen minutes into the second half.
Ian McCall made two changes to the side that beat Albion Rovers last weekend as Peter Murphy and Michael Donald were restored to the starting line-up, in place of Robbie Crawford and the unwell, Andy Graham. The visitors also made two changes following a 2-0 defeat at home to Dunfermline, last weekend. Jamie Bain and Marc Fitzpatrick being replaced by Scott Stewart and George Hunter.
The home side started the game brightly with wave after wave of attack and laying siege on the Airdrie goal. Jamie Adams was first to try his luck. A wonderful piece of skill from Ross Docherty allowed him to skip past two defenders before slipping the ball inside to midfield partner, Adams. He then sprayed a terrific pass wide to Nicky Devlin who had made a darting run into the box. The right back’s cutback was met by Adams but he blasted his effort over the bar.
Three minutes later Ayr had another chance to open the scoring. Alan Lithgow’s poor defensive header landed at the feet of Alan Forrest. The youngster played the ball into the feet of Donald who was well positioned in the centre of the field. The midfielder cleverly slipped the ball wide into the path of Trouten who drove the ball goal-wards but Airdrie stopper Neil Parry was equal to it – turning it behind for a corner.
Airdrie were struggling to assert themselves as Ayr kept up the pressure. Jordan Preston had an effort saved by Parry before Paddy Boyle’s long range shot skimmed the post, when it look destined to nestle in the bottom corner.
With 25 minutes on the clock Ayr made their dominance count as they took the lead. Forrest received the ball from Trouten wide on the right before delivering a lofted cross into the box. The cross fell perfectly for striker, Preston to volley home into the far corner for his sixth goal of the season. A well-deserved goal for The Honest Men.
Ayr pressed for a second before half time with Paddy Boyle having another strike saved by Neil Parry. The resulting corner was well worked by Forrest and Trouten before finding Donald in space on the edge of the area. He shifted the ball to his right before lashing a great curling strike beyond the helpless Parry to cap off a great first half display from Ayr.
The half time whistle blew, 2-0 Ayr the score line.
Airdrie created their first chance of the game after 54 minutes. Good play by substitute Taylor Morgan allowed him to slip a pinpoint through ball to strike partner, George Hunter. Just as it looked as if the striker would pull the trigger an excellent last ditch tackle from Boyle averted the danger, keeping his sides two goal advantage intact.
After 60 minutes Ayr were awarded a free kick after David Cox’s rash tackle on Donald. Donald dusted himself down before delivering the free kick into the box. Docherty tried to divert the ball goal-wards but he felt his shirt was being pulled. The referee pointed for a goal kick but to his credit, the assistant referee on the stand side had spotted the jersey pull and Stephen Finnie awarded Ayr the penalty. Alan Trouten stepped up to take the spot kick and he calmly slotted home – sending Parry the wrong way. 3-0 Ayr and Trouten’s second goal in two weeks.
Airdrie then had a chance to pull one back as Morgan drifted into space and was well found but his shot, from an acute angle, was straight at Greg Fleming. From this though, Ayr countered and Preston was set free down the left hand side. The on loan Blackburn striker had three team mates in support as he bared down on goal but he opted to take the shot, which was easily saved by Parry.
Things were to get worse for Gary Bollan and his side on 65 minutes. Right back Chris O’Neill was given a straight red card for a lunge on Robbie Crawford.
This gave Ayr the opportunity to slow things down and retain possession of the ball but they didn’t ease up on the attacking front. Docherty expertly found Devlin in behind David Van Zanten. His trademark cutback was met by Alan Trouten but he fired wide of the target as Ayr looked for a fourth goal.
There was to be one last chance in the game for Ayr. Trouten raced clear down the right then unselfishly slipped the ball inside to Forrest but sheer strength in numbers prevented him from making increasing the goal tally.
A dominant performance from start to finish from Ian McCall’s men with a 3-0 victory. Next weekend will see Dunfermline come to Somerset Park in the Scottish Cup, for their first of two visits in quick succession.
Fleming (GK), Devlin, Boyle, Docherty, McLauchlan, Murphy, Donald, Adams, Preston, Trouten, Forrest Substitutes Newman (GK), Crawford, Caldwell, Muir, McCracken, Gilmour
Parry (GK), O’Neill, Van Zanten, Stewart, Crighton, Lithgow, Watt, Smith, Hunter, Cox, Cadden Substitutes Ferguson (GK), Bain, McBride, Prunty, Morgan, Morton, McAleer
Referee Stephen Finnie