Ayr United 1 v 2 Stranraer
Home fans arrived in large numbers at Somerset with hope and not a little bit of expectation but were left disappointed as 10-man United were downed 2-1 by Stranraer thanks to a late Scott Agnew penalty. An early Anderson opener for Stranraer shocked the home side before an Adams equaliser seemed to put Ayr on the front foot but the sending off of Lawrence Shankland for an alleged elbow made it an uphill struggle for United. Despite the one-man disadvantage, Ayr dominated the second half but a penalty in the closing stages was enough to earn Stranraer all 3 points.
The first chance of the game resulted in the opening goal for Stranraer. A cross from the left was met by Anderson at the back post and the towering forward looped a high header across goal leaving keeper Hart stranded as the ball nestled into the far corner. 0-1 after only 2 mins.
Ayr looked to respond to this early setback and it was only 6 mins later when Adams met a Forrest corner but could only direct his header just past the right-hand post.
Shankland was next to try his luck to pull Ayr level as he was set through one-on-one but his volley was superbly saved by Currie. From the resultant corner on 15 mins Adams’ header (almost identical to his one previously) fired into the right-hand corner and sent the railway end into raptures. 1-1 and Ayr were back in the game.
Ayr’s tails were really up now and on 20 mins Shankland saw a shot in a packed Stranraer box blocked before the dominant figure of Adams then had yet another header but this one smacked off the bar with the slightest of touches from Currie.
Stranraer’s next chance fell on 25 mins when Ayr failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Turner, but the Stranraer midfielder failed to make the most of it and hit a tame shot straight at Hart.
The real turning point in the game came on 32 mins when Shankland was sent off for an apparent elbow on Neill. The referee was quick to issue a red to Ayr’s top goal scorer as both he and the defender went in to challenge for the ball.
Stranraer failed to break down Ayr in the second half or create any real openings until 73 mins when Hamill took a strike from distance that was easily held by Hart in goal. The game was still in the balance despite the numbers advantage to the away side.
Just as Ayr thought they were going to battle for a valuable point Stranraer were awarded a penalty on 84 mins. Turner raced into the box and was tripped by Adams, resulting in the referee pointing straight to the spot. Agnew stepped up and fired low into the bottom right corner and despite Hart getting a hand to it, the ball nestled in the back of the net for 1-2.
The result now leaves Ayr only 2 points ahead at the top going into the final two games of the season. The Honest Men travel to Alloa next Sunday for another monumental game in the hunt for the League One title.
Hart, Rose, Crawford, Moore, Forrest, Ferguson, Adams, Shankland, Reid, Kerr, Bell. Substitutes Hare-Reid, Moffat, McGuffie, Faulds, McDaid, Murphy, McCowan.
Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, MacPherson, Agnew, Turner, Lyon, Anderson, Okoh. Barron, Hawkshaw, Scott, Elliot, Gray, Dykes.
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match Report: AUmedia