Ayr United 1 v 1 Morton
So in the end Ian McCall was unable to end Ayr’s poor home record with a win in his first game in charge at Somerset Park, against visitors Morton, as he attempted to help the club win at home for the first time since August 23rd 2014.However in only his second game in charge he has given the Ayr fans hope that a resurgence is just around the corner.
The United fans left the old ground in a much happier frame of mind as they saw Ayr grind out a 1-1 draw with second top Morton after a determined rather than classy display.
Ian McCall made two changes from last week’s line up dropping youngster Craig McCracken to the bench and replacing the injured Kevin McKinlay with Brian Gilmour. He also decided against using last week’s 4-1-4-1 formation and instead changed to 3-5-2.
Morton had the bulk of possession and chances in the first half as Ayr took time to adjust to the new 3-5-2 formation, riding their luck on a few occasions, as Peter MacDonald spurned a number of opportunities to put the visitors ahead.
His best chance came in the 21st min when he broke clean through from what looked like an offside position. Fortunately though he was unable to compose himself and his attempted lob drifted aimlessly over David Hutton’s bar landing in amongst the Ayr fans to the ironic jeers ringing in his ears, as only this week Ayr had also attempted to sign him.
Although Morton had the best of the early chances Ayr gradually came more and more into the game and in 37mins they took the lead. Ayr’s latest signing Craig Murray was a constant threat on the right flank with his pace and energy and it was through one of his lung bursting runs he managed to win Ayr a corner. Brian Gilmour delivered the corner and Morgyn Neill attacked the set piece forcing keeper Adam to punch clear. He was unable to get any great distance and when the ball was returned back in to the penalty box the young central defender lifted a shot beyond the Morton keeper to open his account and give Ayr a one nil lead going into the break.
Ayr were buoyed by their half-time lead as they started the second but all the good work was undone after just 2mins of the restart. Ayr ignored the earlier warning signs as danger man Peter MacDonald pounced on a defensive error to equalise for Morton. Morgyn Neil misjudged a long ball from deep and as it landed on the edge of the Ayr box MacDonald quickly latched on to the loose ball. He controlled the ball with his right foot before quickly shifting to his left and slotting past Hutton to make it 1-1.
Ayr went through a shaky spell after Morton equalised but eventually regained their composure and gradually began to push Morton further back in to their own half as the second half progressed.
There was little to choose between the sides as the game approached the final quarter of an hour but in 76mins Morton’s Thomas O’Ware was presented with a great opportunity from a corner but his free header from 6 yards was just too high and it cleared the bar. Ayr retaliated straight away and Allan Forrest forced Adam into a good save with a shot from 20 yards.
Late on David Hutton was forced into a double save and United almost stole it with the last kick of the ball. But all in all it wasn’t a bad day as Ayr gained a point on rivals Stirling and Stenhousemuir, who both lost, as they attempt to climb the table.
Hutton; Murray Devlin; Neill; Donald; McGovern; Crawford; McLaughlin; Gilmour; Forrest; Donnelly.
Substitutes: Slane; McCracken; McKenzie; Shirkie; McGill; Newman
Adam; Kilday; O’Ware; Lamie; Russell;McCluskey; Miller; McKee; Forbes; MacDonald; McCluskey Substitutes: Pepper; Caldwell; Crighton; Milojevic Bjekovic; Ferris; Knight; Gaston
Attendance – 1217