Ayr United 0 v 2 Brechin City
Ayr looked to build on their confidence boosting away win over Morton last week in Saturday’s league fixture at home to Brechin City, who were attempting to halt a run of poor form that has seen them drop to seventh in the league. As Ayr strode on to the Somerset turf this feeling was further enhanced by the availability of their regular defensive line up.
However this confidence was shattered after only 8mins when a neat turn in the penalty box saw Brechin’s Robert Thomson elude the Ayr defence to find himself clean through on goal. As Ayr keeper David Hutton attempted to narrow the angle Thomson showed great composure to coolly lob an angled shot past the stranded keeper to put Brechin one up.
Ayr attempted to recompose themselves after the shock of losing an early goal but the blustery conditions and slick playing surface seemed to hinder their attempts as they found it difficult to gain a foothold in the game.
Ayr continued to press but for all their possession they struggled to create any clear cut chances as Brechin appeared happy to hold on to the single goal lead and counter attack when the opportunity arose, mainly due at this stage to some slack Ayr play, and committing bodies forward when these opportunities presented themselves.
In the 26th minute one such opportunity was quickly seized upon by Brechin’s Andy Jackson. He picked up a loose pass just inside the Ayr half and drove towards the heart of the Ayr defence. The Ayr rearguard backed off allowing Jackson to gain ground and as he bore down on the Ayr penalty box he waited until the overstretched United defence attempted to engage him before slipping a neat pass to his left into the path of Kyle McAusland. The former Ayr player settled himself before sending a curling right foot shot high towards the Ayr goal from about 15 yards. Ayr keeper Hutton flung himself to his left and although he managed to get a hand to the ball it wasn’t enough to prevent McAusland’s delightfully executed shot from nestling in the back of the Ayr net to make it 2-0 to Brechin.
A couple of minutes later Brechin’s Thomson, who was a constant thorn in Ayr’s side, was booked for throwing the ball away as Brechin continued to frustrate Ayr.
By the half hour mark Brechin had grown in confidence and were a constant threat to Ayr on the break. In 33mins Kyle McAusland should have done better after a great run from him ended with a cut back that was stopped by Ayr keeper Hutton with Andy Jackson unmarked at the back post and waiting to receive a pass from McAusland which would have left him with an easy tap in.
As Ayr’s frustration continued referee Stephen Finnie decided that challenges from Martin Campbell in 35 min and then Peter Murphy in 37mins were both worthy of yellow cards and booked the Ayr central defensive partners in quick succession.
At the start of the second half in the 49th minute Mark Roberts decided to withdraw Ryan Donnelly and replace him with Dale Shirkie in an attempt to get back in to the game.
A minute later a mistake by Kevin McKinlay almost allowed Brechin in to score their third goal but fortunately, after some last gasp defending, Ayr managed to scramble the ball away to safety.
In the 53rd minute there were concerns for Ayr’s Mikey Donald who had to be stretchered off after landing awkwardly with an apparent injury to his arm, and was replaced by Brian Gilmour, who almost made an immediate impact shooting just wide after a goal mouth scramble.
Ayr again went close in the 65th min when Allan Forrest got free in the box but his header was straight at Brechin keeper Smith who easily saved but it wouldn’t have counted as the stand side assistant referee had already flagged for offside.
Brian Gilmour was booked for a foul on Brechin’s Bobby Barr in 71mins as City continued to threaten on the counter attack.
Ayr then had to adjust the defence with Nicky Devlin moving to left back, as Kevin McKinlay was replaced through injury by youngster Andrew Muir, who slotted in to the right back position vacated by Devlin with a quarter of an hour left to play.
Ayr almost got themselves back in the game after good build up play involving McGovern and Shirkie ended with a Scott McLaughlin volley superbly saved by Brechin keeper Graeme Smith as he dived to his right to stop the goal bound effort.
Brechin should have put the game beyond doubt a few minutes later as Jamie Masson contrived to miss an open goal from just 6 yards out after good work by Barr but he somehow managed to crash his shot off the bar when it looked easier to score.
In the end it didn’t matter as Brechin City ended their recent poor run of form with a 2-0 victory and left United without a home win in their last 4 league games at Somerset.
Attendance – 1,060
Hutton; Devlin; McKinlay; Murphy; Campbell; Beattie; Forrest; McLaughlin; Donnelly; McGovern; Donald
Newman; Crawford: Shirkie; Muir; McKenzie; Gilmour; McGill
Smith; McNeil; Hamilton; McCormack; McLauchlan; Fusco; Barr; McAusland; Jackson; Masson; Thomson
Tough; Ferguson; Trialist; McCormack; Cameron; O’Neil