Ayr United 2 v 1 Forfar Athletic
United returned to winning ways on Saturday following a 2-1 victory at home to Forfar Athletic. Ryan Stevenson was to be the hero for Ayr as he scored either side of an Andy Ryan goal to win the game for the home side.
United were looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats against Peterhead and Dunfermline whilst Forfar were looking for their first win since 12th September. Brian Gilmour missed the game through suspension. Jamie Adams and Ross Docherty remain side-lined through injury.
The game got off to a very slow start with neither team creating a clear cut opportunity but the first chance was to fall to Forfar. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Gareth Rodger controlled with his chest before firing a volley well wide of Greg Fleming’s goal.
Ryan should then have given Forfar the lead. Peter Murphy misjudged the flight of the ball allowing Ryan to drive into the penalty box. The striker beat Andy Graham before hitting his effort over the bar from six yards. A big let off for Ayr.
Ian McCall’s men then grew into the game with Alan Forrest hitting the post with low drive from outside the area.
The Honest Men then had two glorious chances to take the lead. Craig Moore picked up the ball before driving at the opposition rear-guard. As he advanced into the box, he slipped the ball wide to the onrushing Michael Donald but Darren Hill did well to block Donald’s shot. From the resulting corner, Donald had a drive blocked on the line before Graham fired the rebound wide of the target.
Ayr eventually made their dominance count taking the lead on 38 minutes. Michael Wardrope had caused the Forfar defence problems with his excellent set piece deliveries and that was to be the route to goal for Ayr. The youngster sent an in swinging corner towards the front post where Stevenson was on hand to nod the ball past the diving Hill to give Ayr the lead going into half time.
Just four minutes into the second half, Forfar’s Andy Ryan had a wonderful chance to equalise. Gavin Swankie delivered an inviting ball towards the back post where Ryan rose highest but his downward header was somehow saved at point-blank range.
With 67 minutes gone and against the run of play, Forfar got their equaliser with danger man Andy Ryan finally getting his name on the scoresheet. Thomas O’Brien robbed Devlin of the ball inside the Forfar half before driving forward. The midfielder played an inch perfect pass into the channel for Ryan to run onto, rounding Fleming before slotting home. An excellent counter attack from the away side to get themselves back into the game.
Parity only lasted for eight minutes as Ayr re-took the lead in spectacular fashion. From a corner on the left the ball looped up into the air on the edge of the Forfar area and Donald jumped to flick the ball on. The ball dropped kindly for Stevenson who beat the keeper in stunning style with an overhead kick to give Ayr the advantage once more. A terrific finish from Stevenson and a goal worthy of winning any game.
The last 15 minutes were comfortable for Ayr and they were the team looking the more likely. Moore, Donald and Trouten all had excellent chances to put the game beyond doubt but a mixture of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the score at 2-1.
A return to winning ways for Ayr as they look to keep the pressure on the team above them. For Forfar, their search for their first victory under Gary Bollan goes on.
Fleming (GK), Devlin, Boyle, Graham, Murphy, Wardrope, Stevenson, Forrest, Preston, Moore, Donald Substitutes Newman (GK), McLauchlan, McCracken, Crawford, Trouten
Hill (GK), Spark, Kennedy, Dunlop, Rodger, O’Brien, Martin, Young, Craig, Swankie, Ryan Substitutes King (GK), Campbell, Hodge, Fotheringham, Hay, Denholm, Kader
Referee: Gavin Duncan