Ayr United 1 v 0 Edinburgh City
Ayr secured their second win in the Betfred League Cup group stages with a 1-0 win over newly promoted League 2 side Edinburgh City. A goal from Brian Gilmour early in the first half was enough to see Ayr secure 3 points in a game which was littered with chances for the Honest Men.
Gaffer Ian McCall made 5 changes to the team as Fleming, Adams, Moore, Cairney and Donald were replaced by Hart, McGuffie, Gilmour and new signings O’Connell and Thomas.
Ayr began the game on the front-foot and after 9 minutes carved out their first chance of the game. Craig McGuffie found space on the edge of the box and his deflected shot almost found its way into the net but keeper Stobie was there to parry the ball away.
1 minute later and Ayr broke the deadlock through Brian Gilmour. Docherty picked the ball up in midfield and drove forward, exchanged a one two with O’Connell then set Gilmour through on goal. Gilmour made no mistake and delicately chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net for 1-0. Quick, precise football and Ayr were 1-0 up early on.
Almost immediately the League 2 side came close to drawing level. A freekick from the right hand side found Caddow at the back post but he could only direct his header over the bar from close range.
On 23 mins Ayr almost doubled their lead. New signing Jamie Thomas took the ball in his stride, drove forward and sent a pass through to Boyle on the left. Boyle’s drive from the edge of the box looked goal bound but somehow Mbu managed to get in a block on the line.
Edinburgh City continued to carry a threat and in the 41st min striker See had a chance at the back post but his precise and powerful volley smacked off the back of Paddy Boyle allowing the Ayr defence to step in and clear.
With time running out in the half United almost doubled their lead. A low cross by McGuffie was met by O’Connell who looked set to turn the ball in but the impressive City keeper Andrew Stobie dived at his feet and smothered the ball.
The second half began in stark contrast to the first with Ayr seeming much more subdued and it wasn’t until the 70th min before they created any real threatening attack. This time captain Nicky Devlin was handed the chance to kill-off the game. Boyle crossed the ball in from the left and it found Devlin at the back post, and although he had plenty of time to steady himself he could only fire his shot high and over the bar.
Despite all their efforts, Ayr were struggling to break down this Edinburgh City team and as the game moved into its final stages Edinburgh City appear to gain more belief that they could at least get a draw from the match and made a number of chances. In the 75th min an equaliser looked odds-on as Ross Allum was sent clean through on goal but contrived to slip and mishit his shot allowing Jordan Hart the easiest of saves.
Jamie Thomas was next to try his luck for United and through an inventive piece of skill, almost pulled off a spectacular goal. The striker picked the ball out of the air on the edge of the box, flicked it over his head before hitting a volley which fizzed just over the bar.
A one-two between Devlin and Cairney on the 83rd minute sent the captain through on goal but this time his shot from 16 yards was well saved.
With Edinburgh City’s throwing everything forward they came within inches of equalising in the 87th min. A long throw into the box was met by Allum whose flicked header looked goal-bound, only for his effort to come back off the front post.
The last chance of the game fell to Gibson for the away side however his speculative effort in the 93rd minute screamed just wide of the post, hitting the side netting on its way out.
A gutsy performance from the away side left Ayr frustrated at their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal. Ayr did, however, come away with 3 points putting them top of Group G on goal difference but could live to regret their inability to add substantially to their goal tally from this game.
Ayr now travel to Livingston for the final game of the group stages on Tuesday as they look to seal a place in the last 16 of the cup.
Hart, Devlin, Boyle, Meggatt, Murphy, Crawford, Gilmour, Docherty, McGuffie, Thomas, O’Connell. Substitutes: Fleming (GK), Donald, Cairney, Wardrope, McCracken, Johnstone.
Stobie, Caddow, Gibson, Mbu, Paterson, McKee, McFarland, Muhsin, See, Cummings, Donaldson. Substitutes: Guthrie, Carse, Allum, MacDonald, McConnell, Martyneuk, Amos (GK).
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report: AUmedia