Ayr Utd 0 Falkirk 1

Ayr United 0 v 1 Falkirk

by AUmedia

Ayr slipped to defeat against bottom of the league Falkirk at Somerset Park on Saturday. By losing, Ayr failed to gain points on league leaders Ross County who had lost to Morton the night before.  A win would have put United top on goal difference, but it was Falkirk who claimed the three points and saw themselves moved off bottom spot.

Ayr were without marksman Lawrence Shankland who had suffered a training ground leg injury, and although the final tally of stats showed United with around 60% percent of the possession, they struggled to turn their dominance into goals. At the final whistle is was Zak Rudden’s 56 min goal from a United mistake that took all the points back to Falkirk.

Falkirk, with five January signings in their team, were well marshalled and stuck to their task of frustrating United, working hard to close down players and holding a mostly defensive posture.

At the outset, Ayr found difficulty in coming to terms with an uneven surface and Falkirk’s quick pressing approach stifled United’s usually composed passing game. It took Ayr 10 mins to create a chance with McDaid attempting a shot from the edge of the box, but his effort was, through a wall of Falkirk defenders, eventually blocked.

Rudden and McLean were causing problems for the Ayr defence with their determination and movement and on 14 mins it was McLean who had Falkirk’s first real chance. A long ball to the edge of the box was knocked back by Waddington to the unmarked McLean who attempted a volley, but it lacked power and was easily held by Doohan.

By the 20th min Ayr were starting to show signs that they were capable of breaching the Falkirk defensive wall. Moore beautifully cushioned a header to Moffat who lifted the ball over the head of McKenna and back to Moore who raced into the box. Forced wide, the striker smashed the ball goalward, but keeper Mitchell did well to block.

With 29 minutes on the clock Ayr almost contrived to gift Falkirk a goal. A loose pass from Kerr was intercepted, Murdoch miss-kicked, and eventually the ball was played through Rudden who ballooned over as a Bell slide tackle put him off his stride.

On 33 minutes Ayr thought they had taken the lead when a Michael Moffat shot beat keeper Mitchell to his left before hitting the post and rebounding to Moore. Moore turned the ball into the net only to see assistant referee Andy Taylor’s flag raised on the far side to correctly rule out the strike with the Ayr man being in an off-side position as Moffat hit his shot.

At halftime United had gained the upper hand in terms of possession but had failed to find a key to unlock the Falkirk back door.

The second half began as the first had ended with Ayr patiently maintaining the ball, attempting to probe the full width of the Falkirk defence, but finding little leeway. Andy Murdoch saw a shot go inches wide but hands up to the tenacious Falkirk defence, they were doing their job well. With Falkirk set so deep and Ayr comfortably in control, it surely could only be the action of some capricious god that would find the visitors a goal.  With only 6 mins of the second 45 gone, up stepped that capricious god gifting Falkirk the opening goal from the least expected circumstances.

After some good play around the Ayr box, McLean drove in a shot from around 25 yards out, but it headed towards the usually assured Doohan. The keeper spilled the ball and there was Rudden to prod home. Jubilation from the traveling support and disbelief from the home fans.

A boost in confidence and energy for the Falkirk team and lots to do for United. Ayr continued to try and find a way through, but Falkirk stuck to their task even when, as time ran out, United moved Bell up front and pounded the Falkirk defence. 

It just wasn’t going to be United’s day with the solid yellow wall of Falkirk players refusing to be undone, with attack after attack from United repelled.

The day was summed up when, deep into injury time, a Moffat shot from the edge of the box could only be parried by Mitchell and with the goal gaping Bell failed to turn the ball home from 3 yards. In the resultant rescue attempts, Docherty failed to make contact and the ball bounced off Moore’s knee with both players within the 6-yard box. All three had looked certain to score.

Next up, on Saturday United travel to Inverness.

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, McDaid, Murdoch, Kerr, Crawford, Moffat, Moore Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Higgins, McGuffie, Ferguson, Ecrepont, Docherty, McCowan

Falkirk

Mitchell, Kidd, McGhee, McLean, Robson, McShane, Rudden, McKee, Dixon, Waddinton, McKenna Substitutes: Fasan (GK), Muirhead, Harrison, Brough, O’Hara, Lavery, Irving

Referee: John Beaton

Attendance: 2,729 ffff

Falkirk match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Falkirk
Ladbrokes Championship
Saturday 5th January 2019. Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, Ayr United open up 2019 with a visit from bottom side Falkirk to Somerset Park. United are looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 11 games and get back to winning ways after three consecutive draws.

No side the in SPFL lost fewer games in all competitions than the Honest Men in 2018, but a sequence of draws in recent weeks has seen Ross County take advantage at the top of the Championship table. The Staggies currently hold a three point advantage while Dundee United are four points behind Ayr, with both clubs having played a game more.

Opponents:Ray McKinnon’s re-building job at Falkirk began in earnest with the opening of the January transfer window, with as many as five players in line to make their debut on Saturday. Among the new signings are former Scotland international full back Paul Dixon, midfielder Ian McShane who has moved from St. Mirren and Abdul Osman, who returns to Scottish football after a spell in Greece.

Last Saturday saw the Bairns go down to a 4-2 defeat at home to local rivals Dunfermline Athletic, despite going ahead through Joe McKee’s 2nd minute opener. Three of the starting line-up against the Pars plus two of the substitutes have left the club this week.

The Bairns remain bottom of the table, a point behind ninth place Partick Thistle and now six adrift of Alloa Athletic in eighth. All of Falkirk’s three league wins this season have come away from home.

Form:

Ayr United – DWDDD

Falkirk – WDDLL


Team News: Lawrence Shankland, Alan Forrest, Andy Geggan and Jamie Adams are all out. Mark Kerr comes back into the squad.

Ian says: “We were terrific last week in Dumfries, I thoroughly enjoyed watching us play and the only thing missing was the three points. I would love us to repeat that kind of performance tomorrow but of course with a different result. We know the goals will come, look at how many we have scored in the last 18 months. It is important to stay patient and get behind the boys as teams will now tend to sit in against us. Lawrence misses out with a slight knock so it is a huge chance for Craig Moore who has a great goalscoring record “

Head to head (League):
Ayr United wins – 45
Draws – 28
Falkirk wins – 52

1981/82 is the last time Ayr United have beaten Falkirk more than twice in a single season.


Last Meeting:
Craig Moore netted the only goal for the game when the two sides met at the Falkirk Stadium at the start of November.

Earlier in the season, the Honest Men fought back from a two goal deficit at half-time to win 3-2 with second-half goals from Lawrence Shankland, Andy Geggan and an own goal from Bairns keeper Leonardo Fasan.       

On this day: in 2002, Ayr defeated Deveronvale 6-0 in the Scottish Cup. Eddie Annand (2), Paul Sheerin, Pat McGinlay, Scott Crabbe and James Grady were all on the scoresheet at Princess Royal Park in Banff at the start of a cup run that would go all the way to the semi-finals.


Match Officials:
Referee – John Beaton
Assistant Referee 1 – Kylie Cockburn
Assistant Referee 2 – Andy Taylor

Admission:

Adults – £17
Concessions – £11
Under 16s – £6

The Somerset Road End turnstiles 15, 16, 17 and 18 will all be open tomorrow.

Queen of the South 1 Ayr Utd 1

Queen of the South 1 v 1 Ayr United

by AUmedia

Ayr had a bit of a point to prove following their drubbing at the hands of Queen’s at Palmerston Park in September. United certainly made their point, but their dominant display deserved more than the one with which they returned home.

Ayr were in the mood from the off, pressing forward at speed with McDaid proving a thorn in the side of the home defence with left-back Marshall having to work hard to restrict the tricky footed winger.  Ayr’s passing and close intricate interplay were a delight to watch as they probed and prodded for ways through a deeply set midfield and defence.

On 7 mins Ayr crafted out the first real chance of the game. After a patient build-up, Docherty found Shankland at the edge of the box and the striker, nodded the ball around defender Semple before shooting from the edge of the box but keeper Martin was well-positioned and saved.

It took another three minutes before Queens showed any real forward intent, stealing the ball at the halfway line and breaking at speed.  Dobby tried to go through the of defence and was comfortably blocked but the ball broke to Jacobs who curled a hopeful ball wide from just outside the penalty area.

United were well on top with attempts from Shankland, McDaid and Murdoch only stopped by some determined defending and saves by Martin in the Queens’ goals.

With 22 mins on the clock, Ayr went close again. Moffat nutmegged Semple and made his way into the box but an unfortunate bobble off the artificial turf took him wider than he would have hoped and his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Martin.

Moffat was playing a blinder, controlling well, holding off defenders, spraying accurate passes, and creating chances for his United teammates.

Queens may have been limited in their forays into the final third but showed some flashes of goalscoring intent. On 22 mins, after a long free kick was flipped forward by Todd, Dobbie got in behind Bell before slipping the ball into the penalty area where Dykes turned a clear opportunity into an easy save for Doohan with a half-hearted side-foot attempt.

Football is a fickle game. Having dominated from the start, on 29 mins United suddenly found themselves a goal down. A long, angled cross-field ball from Marshall at the halfway line got behind the United defence to the on-rushing Stirling who made his way into the box. He then cut back from the line to Todd who smashed the ball home.

The goal gave Queens a short-term lift but soon United got back into their stride, taking the game to the home side and on 41 mins earned the equalizer that their play deserved. Michael Rose’s drive from the edge of the box was acrobatically saved by Martin, turning the ball wide. As McDaid’s in-swinging corner reached the 6-yard box, the Queens’ defence switched off and remained static, allowing Bell to reach the ball first and deflect it towards the near post where Moffat headed into the back of the net.

With 2 mins remaining in the half United went close again. Moffat chased the ball over the halfway line on the right the curled an inch-perfect left-footed pass into the path of Murdoch at the edge of the box on the opposite side. A last-second tackle by Fordyce prevented Murdoch from taking a shot but instead played the ball to Crawford whose swerving shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

The second half saw much of the same with United pressing to try and find ways through a deep-set Queens defence. Just 1 min in and Docherty tried his luck with a shot from 25 yards, after fine work by Shankland on the left which included disentanglement from the grasping Mercer, but the ball went wide. Just 3 mins later and a stinging drive from Harvie went just over the bar and he was followed by two attempts from Shankland which also went over.

The biggest threat to United’s goal came on 53 mins. Ayr struggled to clear their lines, the ball got stuck between Rose’s feet, Todd poked it forward and Dobbie nipped clear into the box but Doohan was equal to his efforts getting down well to save.

Next up, Moffat found space to shoot from the edge of the box but it too went over the bar. On 69 mins Queens players threw themselves to block a Shankland drive and on 70 mins McDaid lifted the ball towards the back post where Shankland deftly nodded back into the path of the in-rushing Moffat but Semple reacted quickly to knock the ball wide.

With 12 mins to go Crawford collected the ball wide on the left before turning inside Mercer and darting into the box, slipping to the right of Doyle and Jacobs before pulling his shot just inches wide of the near post.

With the 90 mins up there was one heart and the mouth moment left for United fans. Ayr were encamped in an extended siege of the Queens’ penalty area when substitute Frizzell booted the ball long into the United half with Todd racing forward towards the edge of the box where Rose appeared to pull him back. 

Connor Murray placed the ball just 2 yards outside the area for what would be a ‘no way back’ attempt. Ayr placed a five-man wall in front of him and the United faithful held their breaths. Murray clipped and curled the ball over the wall but, with Doohan rooted to the spot, it scraped narrowly wide.

It would have been a travesty of justice if the home side had snatched a winner but for Ayr it was a display that deserved more than just one point.

Next up on Saturday Ayr face Falkirk at Somerset Park.

Queen of the South

Martin, Mercer, Marshall, Fordyce, Doyle, Stirling, Jacobs, Todd, Dobbie, Semple, Dykes Substitutes: Leighfield (GK), Murray, Bell, Frizzell, Irving

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, McDaid, Docherty, Murdoch, Crawford, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Higgins, Moore, McGuffie, Ferguson, McCowan, Ecrepont

Referee: Alan Newlands

Attendance: 2,349

Auchinleck ticket information

Tickets for our William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round match at Auchinleck Talbot go on sale tomorrow (28th December). Entry for our support is by ticket only.

Tickets are £15 for adults and £10 for concessions (16 and under & 65 and over)

We have 1400 tickets in total and around 150 of our allocation will be for the main stand. Tickets will go on sale initially to season ticket holders and shareholders on production of voucher 3 from the season ticket and can purchase two per person.

For season ticket holders and shareholders tickets will be available from the club shop on the following days :- Friday 28th December 10am-4pm, Monday 31st December 10am-2pm and Thursday 3rd January 2pm-5pm

General sale begins on Friday 4th January when the shop is open 10am-4pm

Dunfermline 0 Ayr Utd 0

Dunfermline Athletic 0 v 0 Ayr United

by AUmedia

Ayr slipped to 2nd place in the Championship after the disappointing draw at East End Park. In a game where neither side created many chances, United carved out the two best opportunities, with Moffat being prevented from putting Ayr ahead by a save from keeper Bell, and, with less than 1 min to go, Lawrence Shankland failed to turn the ball home from a few yards out with the goal beckoning.

The opening 20 mins saw great hustle and bustle from both teams but with little created. A snapshot from the edge of the box from Dunfermline’s Higginbotham which rose comfortably over the bar and a strike from Ayr’s Murdoch, from a similar position, that was deflected wide, the best that either side could manage.

On 19 mins Dunfermline fans were screaming for a penalty. As Dunfermline broke forwards at pace after a period of sustained pressure from Ayr, Michael Rose brought down Keena giving freekick specialist Higginbotham the chance to deliver into the box from some 30 yards out. The looping and curling ball into the box evaded the United defence but Danny Devine seemed to overrun the flight of the ball and over-stretch, then head the ball away, before falling to the ground. He immediately claimed that he had been fouled as he went for the ball, but referee Steven McLean waved play on.

On 29 mins, United could and should have gone ahead, Shankland putting Moffat clear into the box with only keeper Robinson to beat, but the stopper pulled out a great save, the ball rebounding off Moffat towards goal, but in stepped defender Ashcroft to clear off the line.

Throughout the first half, Dunfermline struggled in the final third with a few efforts blocked or easily saved. Higginbotham’s curling free kicks and crosses into the box created the most consternation for United’s backline but no Dunfermline player could time his run, head, or in Aidan Keena’s case, take the simple option to tap in rather than trying a fancy flick.  For Ayr, McDaid’s runs on the left were continually causing right-back Craigen difficultly but with close and determined defending by the Dunfermline back line, United were restricted in their efforts.

Early in the second half, Dunfermline came at Ayr with determination but try as they might they lacked the quality to unlock Ayr’s rear-guard, and a series of poor choices saw their efforts fizzle out. 

Ayr weren’t letting Dunfermline push them aside and on 50 mins went close. Dunfermline struggled to clear a Harvie long throw into the box and Murdoch nodded on to Moffat, but the striker’s header was well saved by keeper Robinson.

Dunfermline’s closest efforts came from only two attempts, a powerful drive by Thomson from just outside the box which was saved with nonchalant ease by Doohan, and a block by the United keeper at his near post as Keena tried to hit home.

On 81 mins Dunfermline fans were baying for a red card after a crunching tackle where Craigen and Ayr substitute Moore gave no quarter, both lunging in as the ball broke loose off Moore’s shin. With Craigen still lying on the deck, referee McLean decided Moore’s challenge was worthy of a yellow card.

Although not at their best, United were always a threat going forward and there was a feeling that they might just grab the winner. And grab the winner they should have. If Moffat’s first-half chance should have been a certainty, on 89 mins Ayr contrived to miss a ‘bet your house on it’ opportunity.

Craig McGuffie forced his way into the box from the right, his cut-back was dummied by Moore to Shankland who seemed to snatch at the ball and dragged it wide of the post with an empty goal beckoning. Classic heads on hands moment, and with that, the game was over.

So close to three points, but United had to be satisfied with one. Next up for Ayr, a tricky encounter with Queen of the South in Dumfries on Saturday.

Dunfermline Athletic

Robinson, Beadling, Longridge, Ashcroft, Devine, Craigen, Vincent, Higginbotham, El Bakhtaoui, Kenna, Thomson Substitutes: Gill (GK), L. Martin, McCann, Durnan, Hippolyte, M. Martin, Muirhead

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, Geggan, Murdoch, Crawford, McDaid, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Higgins, Moore, McGuffie, Ferguson, Docherty, McCowan

Referee: Steven McLean

Attendance: 4,916

Tickets for Queen of the South

Queen of the South have asked us to sell tickets for the game in Dumfries on Saturday 29th December. Tickets will be available on the day however with our expected travelling support they want to ensure everyone is in the ground in time. 

Tickets go on sale in the club shop from tomorrow (Friday 21st December) and are priced

£18 Adults, £10 concessions and £5 under 16s. 

Concessions are over 65s, 16-21 year olds and full time students)

Shop opening hours prior to the match

Friday 21st   10am-4pm

Sunday 23rd   12-4pm

Monday 24th   9am-3pm

Friday 28th   10am-4pm

Ayr Utd 3 Ross County 3

Ayr United 3 v 3 Ross County

by AUmedia

Sometimes ‘top of the league’ clashes are disappointing, often dull, with teams letting the fears associated with ‘leads being clawed back’ or ‘distance being put between teams‘ to dominate their thinking. What tends to be the result of this is a defence minded, stagnant, match lacking any excitement or true entertainment. Not this one, where both teams set out to win while the weather joined in to add to the uncertainty of any result up till the final whistle.

The first half started at pace with Ross County intent on making their mark early on while United appeared at times apprehensive and uncharacteristically lacking composure at the back, but soon this developed into an end to end attacking feast of cup tie proportions.

On 12 mins Ross County took the lead. Ayr seemed to have stopped the threat when Smith and Murdoch teamed up to block Demetriou’s shot at the edge of the box, but County’s Lindsay collected the ball on the left, slid it forward down the line to where Cowie flicked to Demetriou who had stayed in an advanced position. The wing-back made it to the line then played a curling, lofted ball back towards Mullin who volleyed home.

This seemed harsh on a United team that had just got onto the front foot, but they didn’t waste any time feeling sorry for themselves. 3 mins later, Shankland picked up a through ball from Crawford, made his way into the box, turned inside Watson, before seeing his shot well saved by keeper Fox.

With 21 mins on the clock, United were awarded a corner on the right. As McDaid’s high curving ball came into the box, Rose got away from his marker Draper who elected to barge him from the back to prevent him heading towards goal. Rose hit the deck and referee Bobby Madden pointed to the spot. Up stepped Shankland who slammed the ball to the keeper’s right and into the net.

Ayr stepped up the pressure and it only took a few minutes to put themselves in front, and for Shankland to claim his second. Demetriou’s reckless late challenge on Geggan resulted in a freekick for United some 20 yards out on the right. McDaid lifted the ball into the box and, with County defenders slow to react, Shankland nipped in and directed the ball home. 25 mins on the clock and it was 2 – 1 to United.

United were on top although County were still dangerous on the break. Ayr dominated the possession and created numerous chances with Shankland and Moffat repeatedly denied by Fox. It took until 43 mins for the Honest Men to get their much-deserved third.

Shankland laid the ball off to his right from where Smith fizzed in a powerful drive only to see defender Draper bravely dive in, blocking with his face before dropping poleaxed to the ground. The ball flew into the air, Moffat knocked to the edge of the box, McDaid flipped it forwards, and in the great tradition of stramashes, Geggan headed over the keeper, Shankland’s attempt was blocked on the line, before Geggan smashed the ball into the top of the net. 3 -1 and nothing less than what was United’s due.

Cue halftime and enter the giggling gods of weather conditions. The sky turned black, the wind from the East rose to ‘wild’, and the clouds unleashed a deluge of icy rain and sleet. For the second half, United would have to face into the teeth of this icy gale, and a Ross County determined to get back into the game.

County’s tactics changed to take advantage of the conditions with the long ball deployed to add additional pressure onto the United back line and within 3 mins of the restart, they’d pulled one back.

Staggies’ captain, Fraser first appeared to control the ball with his arm deep in his own defence and then under pressure booted the ball clear. With the wind at it’s back the ball flew over the Ayr backline to the on-rushing McKay who went in one-on-one with keeper Doohan. McKay appeared to have lost control of the ball and shot wide, but referee Madden decided that the chasing Bell had made slight contact and awarded his second penalty of the match. Up stepped McKay who slotted home and it was Game on at 3 – 2.

Ross County tried to press on and were creating chances through their long ball approach, Stewart using his height and bustling style well to disrupt the United defence with McKay showing threat and skill supporting the big forward.

United were still an attacking force and were only denied a 4th by Fox who dived at the feet of Shankland just yards out. In a game of ‘anything you can do’ McKay was denied an equaliser by a diving one-on-one save by Doohan at the other end.

On 52 min it was all tied up at 3 – 3 when another long ball following an Ayr attack went over Ayr’s defence and into the box. Mullin got to the line before bringing out a good block from Doohan, but Cowie was first to react and thumped the ball into the back of the net.

Ayr changed formation to try and deal with County’s tactics, Higgins entering the field for McDaid, to attempt to shore up the back.  This change seemed to nullify most of the threat, but Ayr had to continually be aware of the threat posed by the incessant wind and worked hard throughout the remainder of the half.

That neither side didn’t add to their total was a miracle with Ayr’s Smith (blocked by Fox just a yard out) and Shankland denied, and Gardyne and McKay for County also going close.

The final whistle saw one point for each side… and 3 for the second half weather. Next up for United a pre-Christmas trip to East End Park, and Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday.

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, McDaid, Geggan, Murdoch, Crawford, Shankland, Moffat Substitutes:Hare-Reid (GK), Higgins, Moore, McGuffie, Ferguson, Docherty, McCowan

Ross County

Fox, Fraser, Watson, Grivosti, Demetrious, Draper, Cowie, Lindsay, Mullin, Mckay, Stewart Substitutes: Munro (GK), Gardyne, McManus, Vigurs, Keillor-Dunn, Wallace, Kelly

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 2,030 0pt; mso-borde

Ross County match preview

Match Preview

Ayr United vs. Ross County

Ladbrokes Championship

Saturday 15th December 2018. Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, Somerset Park plays host to a huge top-of-the-table clash in the Championship as second place Ross County make the long journey south to face leaders Ayr United.

The Honest Men were left kicking their heels last weekend when our Friday night fixture at home to Inverness became a late casualty of strong winds in Ayrshire. That denied Ian McCall’s men an opportunity to build on a sensational 5-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice the previous week.

United go into Saturday’s match on a seven match unbeaten run since defeat in Dingwall two months ago and have conceded just one goal in that period. A win for the Honest Men will open up a four point advantage over Ross County and guarantee Ian McCall’s men hold on to top spot in the Championship at Christmas.

The Opposition: Ross County have been in action twice since Ayr won at Tannadice, defeating Alloa Athletic 1-0 at Recreation Park with a last minute Keith Watson goal before being held at home by Queen of the South last weekend. Andy Stirling’s 71st minute equaliser denied the Staggies top spot in the Championship after Josh Mullin had put them ahead.

The Staggies followed up October’s win over the Honest Men with a thumping 5-0 demolition of Morton but have subsequently dropped points in draws at Falkirk and Inverness and a defeat at home to Dundee United.  

Co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell have been boosted by the return of Michael Gardyne from injury; the winger played quarter-of-an-hour against Queen of the South after a two month lay-off. Experienced midfielder Iain Vigurs is also available.

Form Guide (League):

Ayr United – WWDDW

Ross County – DLWWD

Team News:  

Ian says:

Head to Head (League):

Ayr United wins – 5
Draws – 8

Ross County wins – 16

United are without a win in the last 11 meetings between the sides, stretching back to March 2008. You have to go back even further for The Honest Men’s last win over Ross County at Somerset Park – a 2-1 victory in August 2002. A Mark Perry own goal and James Grady strike put us ahead in the first 20 minutes of the game and Ayr held out despite a late Connor Gethins goal.

Last Match: Ross County edged out 2-1 winners at the Globlal Energy Stadium in October. Strikes from Billy McKay and Josh Mullins put County ahead at the break but United came roaring back in the second-half. Lawrence Shankland pulled a goal back on the hour mark but the Honest Men were unable to find an equaliser that would have earned a deserved point.

Match Officials:

Referee – Bobby Madden

Assistant Referee 1 – Ralph Gordon

Assistant Referee 2 – Craig Ferguson

Admission:

Adults – £17

Concessions – £11 (65+, 18-21, Student)

Under 18s -£6

Due to damage to the Somerset Road end turnstiles, home fans will enter through turnstiles 2, 3 and 5 at the Railway End.  From here you will be able to transfer from one end to the other for the match.  Entry to the North Terrace and Main Stand remain unchanged.  Please arrive in plenty of time as this area may become congested.

All fans are respectfully requested to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring the Club and its supporters into disrepute and adhere to the Ground Regulations. Please visit ayrunitedfc.co.uk for information on Unacceptable Conduct. Supporters are advised to remain within the stand and to refrain from entering trackside or the field of play. Searches will be carried out at the turnstiles for any controlled containers and pyrotechnics. Under the Sporting Events Act 1985, being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence (see below). Any person committing such an offence will face immediate ejection, arrest and a life time ban from the Club. Surfing flags are not permitted. Ayr United would like to thank all supporters for their co-operation and continued backing of the team.

Notice from Police Scotland:

Supporter safety is a key priority for all Clubs, we at Ayr United are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the match day experience is safe and enjoyable.  One of the most dangerous things we have to deal with is pyrotechnic articles such as smoke bombs and flares in the stadium and we’d ask that you assist us to look after you by not bringing such articles with you to matches.  These articles can cause severe burns, damage to hearing or breathing difficulties and their use is especially distressing for groups such as small children and those who can’t easily move away when pyrotechnics are activated.  Experience shows that when a pyrotechnic is activated in a crowd there is often a movement away from the immediate area which can cause panic and disorientation, and which creates a risk of slips and trips or crushing for those nearby.  Please be in no doubt that these articles are unpleasant and potentially life-threatening to be around – they are also illegal at football matches – and being caught with them will result in exclusion from Ayr United] as well as a possible criminal conviction. 

Inverness preview & information

Match Preview

Ayr United vs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Ladbrokes Championship

Friday 7th December 2018. Kick-off 7.45pm

 

Tonight/Tomorrow night (Friday), top of the table Ayr United welcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle and the BT Sport cameras to Somerset Park as we look to build on last Friday’s stunning 5-0 win over Dundee United.

Lawrence Shankland’s four goal haul at Tannadice – taking his tally to 26 in 23 games this season – headed up a superb team performance which saw United keep a 15th clean sheet of the season and extend our unbeaten run to seven matches.

Again, only a win will guarantee Ian McCall’s men hold on to top spot in the Championship this weekend, with Ross County – two points behind the Honest Men – at home to Queen of the South on Saturday.

The Opposition: Inverness bounced back from their first league defeat since March with a convincing 6-1 win over Edinburgh City on Tuesday night in a Scottish Cup third round replay. Jordan White helped himself to a hat-trick against the League 2 leaders, after Blair Henderson cancelled out Tom Walsh’s opener. Walsh with a second goal and Aaron Cogan Doran completed a comfortable night for the Caley Jags.

 

Falkirk lifted themselves off the foot of the table last weekend with a dramatic last minute winner at the Caledonian Stadium, a victory that ended Inverness’s long unbeaten run.  Tom Walsh struck in the 6th minute for the home side only for a Zak Rudden double to give the Bairns the lead at half-time. George Oakley equalised on the hour mark but Scott Harrison scored in the 90th minute give Falkirk all three points.

 

Inverness have been the Championship’s draw specialists this season, with no fewer than 10 of their 15 games this season finishing all square. Amongst all those draws, John Robertson’s men have just two league wins since the start of September, both coming against bottoms side Partick Thistle. Caley lie in fourth position in the league table, just a point ahead of fifth place Queen of the South.

 

Form Guide (League):

Ayr United – WWDDW

Inverness – DDWDL

 

Team News:  Alan Forrest, Mark Kerr and Jamie Adams are unavailable through injury.

 

Ian says: “Last week was fantastic but that is over now and we have had a greats week training in preparation for tomorrow night. Every game feels like a big game just now and of course every game is tough so we need to keep picking up points. Our record at Somerset is good this season and teams are starting to play differently against us so we need to be prepared for that and it is really important that our fans stay patient. Our fans can go behind both ends tomorrow so hopefully that means a big atmosphere all game!

 

Head to Head:

Ayr United wins – 7
Draws – 11

Inverness wins – 12

 

United are without a win in the last 9 league meetings between the sides, stretching back to April 2013.

 

Last Match: Ayr United left the Highland capital in August frustrated not to take all three points despite having full back Daniel Harvie sent-off for two bookable offences and playing for over an hour with 10 men. The game ended goalless.

 

On this date: in 2002, Ayr and Inverness were involved in a six-goal thriller at Somerset Park. The Honest Men were 3-0 up thanks to goals from Scott Chaplain, Eddie Annand and Paul Lovering but the visitors fought back with goals from Bobby Mann, Paul Ritchie and Dennis Wyness. James Grady and Russell Duncan were then sent-off as both sides played out the final 15 minutes with 10 men.

 

Match Officials:

Referee – Craig Thomson

Assistant Referee 1 – Paul O’Neill

Assistant Referee 2 – Kevin McElhinney

Fourth Official – David Dickenson

 

Admission:

Adults – £17

Concessions – £11 (65+, 18-21, Student)

Under 18s – £6

 

Due to the match being televised on Friday night, most of the car park’s capacity will be taken up with BT Sports production trucks.  This, therefore, will have an impact on how many spaces will be available.  Priority will be given to Blue Badge holders, Staff and Officials.  Unfortunately, on this occasion we will be unable to accommodate Car Park Passes.

 

Due to damage to the Somerset Road end turnstiles, home fans will enter through turnstiles 2, 3 and 5 at the Railway End.  From here you will be able to transfer from one end to the other for the match.  Entry to the North Terrace and Main Stand remain unchanged.  Please arrive in plenty of time as this area may become congested.

 

 

All fans are respectfully requested to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring the Club and its supporters into disrepute and adhere to the Ground Regulations. Please visit ayrunitedfc.co.uk for information on Unacceptable Conduct. Supporters are advised to remain within the stand and to refrain from entering trackside or the field of play. Searches will be carried out at the turnstiles for any controlled containers and pyrotechnics. Under the Sporting Events Act 1985, being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence (see below). Any person committing such an offence will face immediate ejection, arrest and a life time ban from the Club. Surfing flags are not permitted. Ayr United would like to thank all supporters for their co-operation and continued backing of the team.

 

Notice from Police Scotland:

Supporter safety is a key priority for all Clubs, we at Ayr United are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the match day experience is safe and enjoyable.  One of the most dangerous things we have to deal with is pyrotechnic articles such as smoke bombs and flares in the stadium and we’d ask that you assist us to look after you by not bringing such articles with you to matches.  These articles can cause severe burns, damage to hearing or breathing difficulties and their use is especially distressing for groups such as small children and those who can’t easily move away when pyrotechnics are activated.  Experience shows that when a pyrotechnic is activated in a crowd there is often a movement away from the immediate area which can cause panic and disorientation, and which creates a risk of slips and trips or crushing for those nearby.  Please be in no doubt that these articles are unpleasant and potentially life-threatening to be around – they are also illegal at football matches – and being caught with them will result in exclusion from Ayr United] as well as a possible criminal conviction. 

Dundee Utd 0 Ayr Utd 5

Dundee United 0 v 5 Ayr United

by AUmedia

Ayr could not have got off to a better start. With only 2 mins on the clock, Harvie played the ball into the box and Shankland sneaked between defenders to header home. 0 v 1 to the Honest Men but more was to come.

Surely Dundee United would attempt to force themselves back into the game, but they seemed well off the pace and it was Ayr who went close again just 2 mins later. Shankland was put through into the box and made his way towards goal but his clipped shot from a tight angle, although beating the keeper, could only roll across the 6-yard box with no takers to tap into the empty net.

Keeper Siegrist appeared to overstretch in his attempt to block Shankland and had to receive treatment on the park, an injury that would force his substitution just eight minutes later, making way for Rakovan.

It took Dundee United 15 mins to register a real attempt on Ross Doohan’s goal. A corner was floated into the box from the left and found Fraser Fyvie in space and with time, but the midfielder lacked composure and lashed out at the ball which rose well over the bar.

Ayr continued to dominate with a dazzling display of attacking football with McDaid a constant pain for the opposing backline. On 21 mins he surged forward down the left, his tricky footwork bamboozling right back Watson and allowing the winger to get to the edge of the box but his shot went over the bar.

2 mins later McDaid again tortured Watson and he drove into the box creating space for himself but replacement keeper Rakovan did well to block his shot. The ball landed at the feet of Michael Moffat in the 6-yard box but, on the stretch, he lifted his shot over the bar when it looked a certain second goal.

Ayr were flying forward with attack after attack and the Dundee United defence looked shell-shocked scrambling to try and prevent the Honest Men from grabbing another.

On 25 mins it was Shankland’s turn, dashing into the box, Rakovan coming to his team’s rescue with a block, but Shankland didn’t want to give up. As the ball bobbled into the air from an attempted clearance, he tried to head home but Rakovan was there to deny the striker once more.

Minutes later Shankland tried his luck again, charging down the middle, twisting into the box, but his left-footed shot was blocked by Rakovan.

It looked like there was only one team on the park and it seemed impossible that Ayr would not manage to get a second or third counter.

With 33 mins on the clock, Dundee United found themselves fortunate to get a header on target. Aird clipped the ball into the box from left to right and a slip by Bell (or possibly a clip of his heels) allowed McMullan a free header but it went straight to Doohan who comfortably clutched the ball to his chest.

Ayr kept pushing forward, Shankland inches short of a delicious ball to the back post from Harvie on 30 mins, but that second goal was coming.

40 mins gone, and the dangerous McDaid beat Watson to the line before sliding the ball into the middle to Shankland, in space just 6 yards out, and this time the back of the net bulged. 0 – 2 and it was the least that Ayr deserved for their dominant attacking play.

With an opportunity to shuffle the pack at halftime, Dundee United replaced King with Curran and set out to attempt to put pressure on the Ayr rear-guard. It really didn’t work out well for the Taysiders, as Ayr stood strong and looked comfortable for the short period they were under pressure, and the only attempt was a hopeful shot blasted over the bar by Aird.

Ayr stepped-up again and should have gone 3 in front on 51 mins had it not been for a superb sliding tackle by Watson on the Shankland when the striker had been put clear in the box by a threaded pass from Crawford.

Ayr were comfortable and could have got on the scoresheet again several times, Moffat being denied Rakovan when through clear on goal, and a Shankland free kick from 25 yards out being deflected out off a hand in the Dundee United wall.

Suddenly it was 0 – 3 and Michael Moffat got himself on the scoresheet, and this was no less than the hard-working forward deserved. Andy Geggan lifted the ball into the penalty area and Moffat raced onto the ball, one-on-one with keeper Rakovan. Moffat composed himself before side-footing the ball past the keeper and into the net. 77 mins and this signalled a mass exit by the Dundee United fans.

A more realistic distance had been put between the two teams, but Ayr were not finished yet. A hesitant Edjenguele let Moffat nip in between the defender and his keeper to challenge for a high ball just 6-yards out. Trying to nullify the threat Edjenguele chose to barge Moffat into Rakovan and, with no hesitation, referee Don Robertson pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Shankland who thrashed the spot kick at goal and watched as Rakovan got his hands to the ball, but there was so much power that it still reached the back of the net. 0 – 4 to Ayr and a Shankland hattrick.

If Ayr fans were in a Tayside wonderland, they were to reach a higher enlightened level with just 2 mins to go. Smith played a long ball into the penalty area where Shankland made space for himself, controlled on his thigh, before thumping home under pressure from Watson, Bouhenna and the advancing Rakovan.

0 – 5 it finished. Dundee United had been taken to pieces by this exciting attacking force that is Ayr United at present. Big matches come hard and fast in this league and next up are Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Somerset Park on Friday, in another televised game.

Dundee United

Siegrist, Watson, Bouhenna, Edjenguele, Booth, Aird, Fyvie, Stanton, McMullan, King, Safranko Substitutes: Rakovan (GK), Murdoch, Frans, Curran, Smith, Robson, Rabitsch.

Ayr United

Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, Geggan, Murdoch, Crawford, McDaid, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Higgins, McGuffie, Ferguson, Ecrepont, Docherty, McCowan.

Referee: Don Robertson

Attendance: 6,097