Ayr United 3 v 0 Raith Rovers
The Honest Men made it three consecutive 3-0 wins and moved within a point of top spot with a game in hand after victory over title rivals Raith Rovers. In front of a noisy Somerset Road End, Shankland and Adams sent Ayr on their way in the first half before Moffat wrapped things up shortly after the break.
The first chance of the game came after only 1 minute and fell to McDaid who did well to create space on the right after a Kerr cross but unfortunately, he could only fire his shot wide of the target from 20 yards out.
Ayr had started the brighter of the two sides and it wasn’t long before they created their second real chance of the game. On 4 mins, Boyle raced down the left and sent a cross in for Moffat who’s shot from right on the penalty spot was straight at Matthews. Moments later Adams had a header from a Boyle cross saved by Lennox.
Raith’s first opportunity came on 9 mins when Barr crossed the ball for Zanatta whose first time shot was first saved by Ruddy and then cleared by Bell.
Boyle was proving a real threat to Raith a Rovers defence and, on 31 mins, his link up play with Crawford allowed the midfielder to weave into the box however he saw his low shot blocked.
Ayr’s pressure finally paid off just 3 mins later when Shankland opened the scoring. McDaid won a free kick on the right and whipped in a delivery that was met by Shankland. The striker’s header rocketed past Lennox for 1-0, sending the Somerset Road End into raptures.
Ayr were on fire and instantly pushed forward and, with the Raith defence still stunned, Moffat raced forward and passed to Shankland but his close-range shot was blocked.
On 42 mins Ayr made it 2-0 through Adams. Bell sent the ball into the box and, under no pressure, Raith captain Kyle Benedictus’ simply nodded the ball towards Adams whose shot while on the slide slipped under the grasp of Lennox and into the net. Somerset was in dreamland.
There was no let up from Ayr and their ruthless performance was highlighted further on 52 mins with a goal from Moffat to make it 3-0. McDaid’s corner came into the box and it landed to Rose who hit it towards goal and Moffat tapped in at the back post.
Raith’s next big opportunity came on 57 mins when Furtado fired in a powerful strike on the edge of the box which scraped just wide of the right-hand post.
Vaughan was next to try and pull a goal back for the visitors when he found space in the box and had a shot ripped wide by Ruddy on 74 mins. This was to be Raith’s only shot on target in the second 45 mins.
The last chance of the game fell to Ayr on 83 mins when a corner from McDaid and was met by Geggan, following a run similar to that which gave Ayr the winner against Kilmarnock earlier in the season, but his header at the near post was superbly saved by Lennox.
Ayr now travel to Arbroath on Wednesday evening aiming to keep the pressure on Raith.
Ruddy, Geggan., Bell, Rose, Boyle, McDaid, Kerr, Adams, Crawford, Shankland, Moffat. Subs Hart, Moore, Forrest, McGuffie, Ferguson, Docherty, Reid.
Lennox, Thomson, Benedictus, Murray, McHattie, Zanatta, Matthews, Hendry, Vaughan, Barr, Furtado. Subs Watson, Spence, Buchanan, Court, Smith, McKay
Referee: Gavin Ross
Match Report: AUmedia