Tomorrow’s match at Arbroath has been postponed due to the weather. We will update as soon as we know the rescheduled date.
Ayr United 3 v 0 Airdrieonians
Ayr United took their goal tally for the season to 102 against a difficult Airdrieonians side and it was that man, Andy Geggan, who started off the scoring with the winner against Kilmarnock back in July, who claimed the landmark 100th with a strike in the 50th min. Lawrence Shankland added two more goals to the tally to secure a 3-0 win to the home side.
With Robbie Crawford and Ross Docherty returning to the squad from long-term injuries, Ayr manager Ian McCall had an almost full squad to pick from. The Gaffer shuffled the pack,
Alan Forrest and Craig Moore recalled to the starting eleven with Michael Moffat and Craig McGuffie on the bench.
Both teams found the going tough early in the first half and failed to get a grip on the game. Attempts weren’t clear-cut, possession was constantly handed over and neither side were able to convert chances into goals. Airdrie held the upper hand in possession while United appeared uncharacteristically nervous in front of goal through-out the half, the monkey on their back hanging heavy as they tried to bag their century goal.
On 29 mins Airdrie gave Ayr a real scare. A long looping freekick from the left evaded the United defence, McGregor sneaked in between the centre-backs and from 5 yards out flicked the ball over the bar as he stretched.
Ayr saw their best chance of the half with 32 mins on the clock. Breaking from an Airdrie attack, Craig Moore made a great run down the left and crossed to Shankland inside the box. His shot was well saved by Diamonds’ keeper Ferguson, denying the home side the lead.
36 mins into the game and Ayr again failed to deal with a long freekick into the box and the ball fell to Tom Fry who attempted to lob keeper Ruddy but watched as the ball dropped onto the top of the netting.
A last-gasp attempt by Ayr to take the lead before the half time whistle saw Moore getting through the defence and going one-on-one with the keeper. As he went forwards he failed to get full control with the ball bobbling off the turf, and this allowed Ferguson to dive at the striker’s feet and save.
The teams went into half time 0-0 and whatever Manager McCall said it worked as Ayr came out a different entity and turned the first-half possession, heavily balanced towards Airdrie, on its head.
Ayr started the second half strongly and after just 5 mins, scored the opening goal of the game and the landmark 100th goal of the season for the Honest Men.
A McDaid corner was only half-cleared by Airdrie allowing Mark Kerr to slide the ball back to McDaid now some 18 yards out on the left. The winger then whipped in a cross to the front post which bounced off Dean Cairns’ back as he turned when Moore dived in to head. The ball arrived at Andy Geggans’ feet just 5 yards out and the midfielder smashed the ball home. Cue celebration and a collective sigh of relief from players and fans alike.
Both teams started to find their way into the game and showed a massively improved performance compared to the first half. With almost equal possession and both teams pressing forward, either side looked capable of grabbing the next goal.
United may have been in the lead but Airdrie were certainly not out of this game and immediately went on the attack. Diamonds’ captain Scott Stewart, played an inch perfect pass to Fry in space some 25 yards out and his swerving drive was saved at the second attempt by Ruddy.
Ayr responded with Moore clipping the ball just past the post from the edge of the box. This game had really come to life.
On 56 mins, Stewart created another chance for the Diamonds, barrelling down the wing, evading Paddy Boyle and cutting into the box before hitting the ball at pace towards the front post where he found Darryl Duffy who just failed to turn home.
In the 58th min, Ayr came close to doubling their lead. A poor clearance found Alan Forrest at the edge of the box, who sent a left-footed screamer towards goal but a superb acrobatic save by Ferguson turned the ball past the post.
Two minutes later, and it was United keeper’s turn to show off his skills. As Ayr failed to clear, the ball reached Fry in the box. The Airdrie man stepped inside and drove the ball between Steven Bell’s legs and somehow the unsighted Ruddy managed to get down and block with one hand. The danger wasn’t over and only quick reactions from Michael Rose allowed him to flick the ball away as Dale Carrick looked odds-on to score.
Airdrie increased the pressure when they sent in a freekick into the box in the 75th minute and forced Steven Bell to a great header to put the ball over the bar for a corner.
Then came an additional boost to United’s run-in chances, when on 72 mins United fans welcomed back Robbie Crawford for his first appearance since being injured at Alloa in November. He was later joined by club captain Ross Docherty to similar applause.
On 77 mins Ayr had two loud shouts for penalties. First, Andy Geggan appeared to have his jersey pulled and then was tripped as he moved towards the front post to meet a McDaid corner. With referee Alan Newlands waving away appeals, Ayr again put the ball into the box eventually reaching substitute Michael Moffat who swivelled at shot only to see Kieran MacDonald’s raised hand whipping ball away. No penalty said the whistler.
2 mins later and Ayr were awarded a spot kick, Jordan McGregor handling as he tried to stop Shankland going around him. The striker stepped up and made no mistake, slamming the ball straight down the middle to double the United’s side’s lead.
Only 180 seconds passed and it was 3 -0 to the Honest Men and number 2 for Shankland. Keeper Ferguson dashed to the edge of the box and only just got to the ball before Moffat. Ferguson couldn’t clutch the ball which bounced out to Shankland, who controlled, turned across the edge of the penalty area, leaving three in his wake and the keeper in no man’s land, before powering the home with a left foot strike.
And so finished an eventful day, 3 – 0 victors, that 100th goal achieved, and Raith’s lead in the league reduced to 4 points and United having a game in hand.
Ayr travel to Arbroath on Saturday hoping to close the gap further but the Red Lichties will provide a stern test to the Ayrshire men.
Ruddy, Boyle, Rose, Geggan, Moore, Forrest, McDaid, Adams, Shankland, Kerr, Bell Substitutes: Hart (GK), Moffat, Crawford, McGuffie, Ferguson, Docherty, Reid
Ferguson, O’Neil, MacDonald, McGregor, Brownlie, Cairns, Stewart, Brown, Duffy, Carrick, Fry Substitutes: Muir (GK), Higgins, Edwards, Brown, Hastie, McIntosh, Russell
Referee: Alan Newlands
Ayr United vs Airdrieonians
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 24th February 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, we play the fourth of four consecutive home games at Somerset Park as we take on Airdrieonians. Ian McCall’s side are just one strike away from a landmark century of goals in all competitions this season but are up against the only side to keep a clean against the free-scoring Honest Men – and the only side they have failed to beat so far. United will be looking to address that with all three points which will see them keep pace, at worst, with league leaders Raith Rovers.
Title rivals Rovers face a testing encounter at home to in-form Arbroath; Dick Campbell’s side are unbeaten in their last 8 league matches, albeit it was the Kirkcaldy side who inflicted that last defeat at Gayfield in December.
Visitors Airdrie were 2-1 winners over Queen’s Park last time out and occupy sixth place in the table, seven points adrift of the final promotion play-off spot. If the Diamonds have any aspirations of going up they will need to improve their away form – they possess the division’s worst record on the road this season with just nine points from a possible 39.
Manager Stephen Findlay, who along with assistant Marc Fitzpatrick signed new 18 month deals at the Excelsior Stadium this month, has strengthened his attacking options recently, adding Dale Carrick and the experience Darryl Duffy. Former Hearts and Livingston striker Carrick has already been among the goals with 3 in 5 games.
Team News: Chris Higgins is out for the season. Everyone else is available for the squad.
Ian says: “It just has the feeling of a pivotal time in a Championship race. Last week was obviously very good for us and again the key is not to worry about anyone else and just focus on what we need to do. There will be plenty of talk about the 100th goal however for us it is business as usual, we are going for back to back home wins. It is a massive confidence boost to have had some key players back in training and an even bigger boost to be able to include them in the squad for tomorrow.”
Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 12
Draws – 9
Airdrieonians wins – 11
There has been very little between the two teams in the 32 previous matches since the current incarnation of Airdrieonians – then Airdrie United – were formed in 2002. The Diamonds have had the upper hand in fixtures at Somerset Park, winning six games to Ayr’s five, with five draws.
Last Meeting: Ayr put in a hugely disappointing performance when the sides last met, at the Excelsior Stadium in December. Early goals from Cammy Russell and David Brownlie gave the Diamonds all three points as United uncharacteristically couldn’t find the back of the net.
Earlier in the season at Somerset Park, an Andy Geggan double in the second-half put United ahead after Jordan McGregor opened the scoring but Willis Furtado – now at Raith – grabbed an equaliser.
Ayr United stand on 99 goals in all completions so far with:
– 58% of those goals scored away from home
– 44 goals scored in the first-half, 55 in the second-half
– 9 goals have been scored after the 85th minute
– United have scored the first goal of the game in 28 of their 35 fixtures
Referee – Alan Newlands
Assistant Referee 1 – Ivan Stankovic
Assistant Referee 2 – Finlay Currie
Adult – £16
Concession (OAPs, Students, 18-21) – £10
Child (Under 18) – £5
The Player of the Year awards 2018 will be held on Saturday 14th April. The event will begin at 7.30pm and will be held at the Carlton Hotel.
Tickets will cost £30 each and will include a delicious buffet. On the night we are going do the first release of our new strips for the 2018/19 season which should be a fantastic addition to the event.
Live professional function band Audioclass will be performing on the evening and are sure to keep everyone entertained until closing time.
Commercial manager Graeme Miller said :”We have had no option but to change venue for our player of the year awards as we can only get around 70 fans in when we hold it in our own hospitality suite.
The Carlton Hotel have been great with us from the start and there will be numerous drinks promotions on the night and for any fans that would like to stay in the hotel then discounted rates are available at £100 for a triple room, £80 for a double and £65 for a single. All these rates include breakfast and if you would like to book please contact the Carlton and let them know you are attending the event.
This event should be the pinnacle of every season and we are now able to have 250 of our players, staff and supporters in the one place. It should be a special night and one I am hugely looking forward to.”
Tickets will be on sale in the club shop from Wednesday 21st February.
Voting information will be available in due course and keep an eye out for Ayr United Medias goal of the season competition!
Ayr United 3 v 0 East Fife
Ayr closed the gap on Raith at the top of the table to six points with a game in hand after comfortably beating East Fife at Somerset Park. Declan McDaid fired the Honest Men into the lead on 32 minutes with Lawrence Shankland and an Alan Forrest penalty adding to the score line in the second half.
East Fife had arrived without their troubles to seek. A growing injury list, to rival that of United’s over recent weeks, allowed them to name only 3 outfield players on their bench, but they still set up to stifle Ayr with a high work rate and catch the home side out with quick attacking breaks.
The opening 10 mins of the match was disappointing with both teams failing to get a grip on the game or come to terms with the soft and bobbly surface. There was a lack of control, with passes going astray from both sides, possession being handed over, and moves breaking down with regularity.
Ayr then gained momentum, creating multiple chances but it took 32 mins before they finally got the ball in the net. East Fife failed to fully clear a corner and Mark Kerr slipped the ball to his right to Declan McDaid who cut inside the box and released a stinging drive which swerved into the net with the slightest of deflections off defender Dunsmore’s hip. Cue a novel celebration with the winger placing his hand over his eye and smiling toward the eye-patched Ian McCall sitting in the directors’ box as he recovers from surgery to repair a detached retina.
Ayr intensified their efforts in the second half and Lawrence Shankland grabbed the 2nd in 53 mins. A sublime solo effort saw the striker turn goalwards 25 yards out, go past three and into the box, before rounding keeper Goodfellow and thumping the ball home.
6 mins later, McDaid, sprinting into the box to receive a return pass from Shankland, was blocked and flattened by central defender Jonathan Page, penalty Ayr. Just minutes after coming onto the park, substitute Alan Forrest stepped up to the spot and casually sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0 and take United’s goal tally for the season to 99.
East Fife threw players forward, but it was testimony to the hard work of the United defence that it took ‘The Fifers’ 69 mins to get their first attempt on target; striker Chris Duggan’s downward header from a Kevin Smith cross, saved at full stretch by Ayr keeper, Jack Ruddy.
In the last 10 mins Ayr went all out to try and reach that 100-goal tally with Forrest, McDaid, Shankland, Adams and Moore all going close, but that century strike just didn’t materialise.
Ayr are visited by Airdrieonians this Saturday with the Honest Men looking to get revenge for their 2 – 0 away defeat in December and to rack up that 100th goal.
Ruddy, Geggan, Bell, Rose, Boyle, McDaid, Kerr, Adams, McGuffie, Moffat, Shankland
Substitutes: Hart (GK), Moore, Forrest, Ferguson, Faulds, McCowan, Reid
Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Watson, Kane, Page, Slattery, Allardice, McManus, Millar, Jones, Duggan Substitutes: MacKenzie (GK), Smith, Linton, Knox
Referee: David Lowe
Ayr United vs East Fife
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 17th February 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, we welcome East Fife to Somerset Park as United get back to League 1 business. Title rivals Raith Rovers have played twice in the league since the Honest Men slipped up at home to Alloa Athletic and as a result have extended their advantage at the top of the table to eight points, having played one more game.
Sixth-placed East Fife won their away match, 2-1 at Stranraer, but have just two victories since the start of December. They were defeated 2-0 by Queen’s Park last weekend and earlier last month suffered a shock home loss in the Scottish Cup at the hands of Brora Rangers.
Team News: Ross Docherty and Robbie Crawford are back in training however won’t be ready in time for this match. Chris Higgins is out for the season. Steven Bell is back in the squad after missing Sundays match due to being cup tied.
Ian says: “It is a huge game, we are taking one game at a time and each one has huge importance for us. We know how we want to finish the season, we have let far too many opportunities slip away. Our preparation has been excellent and it is making a big difference in confidence seeing important players getting so much closer to fitness. We have to be stronger and make teams work harder for their chances.”
Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 21
Draws – 10
East Fife wins – 4
East Fife have historically found Somerset Park an unhappy hunting ground, with just three wins from 33 league fixtures, in 1995, 2011 and 2012.
That victory in 2012 represents the Fifers’ last victory over Ayr, the Honest Men have won the last seven meetings between the sides, scoring 24 goals.
Last Meeting: Chris Duggan opened the scoring at New Bayview when the sides met in the middle of December. The home side held the advantage at half-time but Ayr roared back in the second-half. Michael Rose scored a double to put United ahead before Moore and Shankland completed the scoring.
On this day: Just like our last match against East Fife, United defeated Fife opponents 4-1 away from home on this day in 2001. Again, Ayr trailed at half-time but a second-half hat-trick from Pat McGinlay against Raith Rovers plus a Eddie Annand goal gave the Honest Men all three points at Starks Park.
Referee – David Lowe
Assistant Referee 1 – Andrew McWilliam
Assistant Referee 2 – Willie Ferguson
Adult – £16
Concession (OAPs, Students, 18-21) – £10
Child (Under 18) – £5
FIVE STAR WEEKLY WINNERS
WEEK NUMBER 33 13/02/18
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Ayr United 1 v 6 Rangers
After taking an early lead through Alan Forrest, Ayr United saw their Scottish Cup campaign end with a determined Rangers side netting six (five in the second half) at a snowy Somerset Park to march into the cup quarter finals.
Ayr were down to the bare bones of a squad with Steven Bell cup tied and Robbie Crawford, Ross Docherty, Mark Kerr and Chris Higgins all out injured. Added to this, Paddy Boyle and Andy Geggan only just made selection with both having only limited training after injury. The omens didn’t look good for the Honest Men but their performance, especially in the first half, matched their Premiership opponents and only dipped as the game entered the final 15 or so mins.
As the game got underway, Rangers slowly worked the ball around trying to impose themselves on the United team and maintain possession. Ayr had other ideas, working hard to disrupt their opponent’s fluidity and causing some nervousness in Premierships clubs back line. This nervousness in turn played its part in the opening goal, and against all the odds it was Ayr who went in front.
With 10 mins on the clock, Rangers defender David Bates knocked the ball to Wes Foderingham and the keeper mis-controlled close to his own goal line. Alan Forrest, spotted his chance, slid in and turned the ball into the net as the keeper tried desperately to dive onto the ball.
Rangers were shocked, and their fans reduced to a low background noise as United worked hard to maintain their lead. Ayr allowed the Ibrox side much of the ball but created a strong wall in the final third making their visitors work hard for any chances.
On 22 mins, Ayr created another chance with Paddy Boyle crossing from the left and reaching Declan McDaid at the edge of the box, but the winger’s shot went over the bar.
Rangers started to increase the pressure and in the 25th min a cross into the box from James Tavernier was met by Josh Windass but his header smashed off the crossbar. The next chance followed swiftly with Alfredo Morelos inexplicably missing from less than a yard after the ball had been driven across the face of the goal.
However, 5 mins later, Morelos made amends for his miss and drew Rangers even. A cross from the impressive Tavernier found Sean Goss whose shot smashed off the bar and fell to Morelos who thundered the ball into the net
Rangers kept up the pressure on the Ayr defence with both Tavernier and Windass going close and Craig Reid having to clear off the line right on the halftime whistle.
From the start of the second half Rangers had the hammer down creating multiple chances but it was Ayr who almost stole the advantage as Declan McDaid found himself in the box with only keeper Foderingham to beat but the Rangers stopper pulled off a great save as the winger attempted to blast home.
Ayr held out until the 65th min when the Govan side’s efforts finally paid off. Jamie Murphy swung the ball into the box and Jason Cummings connected at close range, putting the ball in at the right-hand post.
Ayr lost their momentum and Rangers went on to score twice in the next five minutes. Josh Windass grabbed Rangers’ third in the 69th minute, collecting and controlling the rebound from a Declan John attempt then sending the ball in at the bottom right hand corner.
3 mins later and Morelos picked up his second and Rangers’ fourth following a cute one-two with Murphy in the box.
Ayr looked out on their feet and it was no surprise when Rangers struck again in the 81st min, Windass jumping high to head the ball into the bottom corner.
Ayr then conjured up one final attempt, with McDaid finding substitute Craig McGuffie with a Crossfield. The youngster did well to cut into the box, but his shot was blocked.
To add insult to injury, Murphy wrapped up the scoring in the 88th min with his side’s sixth. The winger cut through midfield into the box and his right-footed shot went past Ruddy to round up the 6-1 win for Rangers.
With the Honest Man out of the Scottish Cup, all focus is now back on the league and next Saturday’s game against East Fife at Somerset Park.
Ruddy, Geggan, Rose, Reid, Boyle, McDaid, Moffat, Adams, Forrest, Moore, Shankland Substitutes: Hart (GK), McGuffie, Ferguson, Faulds, Murphy, McCowan
Foderingham, Tavernier, Martin, Bates, John, Murphy, Docherty, Goss, Windass, Cummings, Morelos Substitutes: Kelly (GK), Cardoso, Miller, Herrera, Halliday, Candeias, Holt
Referee: Nick Walsh
Unfortunately manager Ian McCall will not be present at todays cup tie with Rangers. The manager had been having pain in his eye for some time and went to the doctor on Monday who referred him to the hospital and he received an emergency operation on a detached retina on Tuesday evening.
He went to training on Saturday morning and spoke to the players however was unable to take part in training and is in no fit state to be at the game today. The advice given from the doctors was to take two weeks off however the managers plan is to take some involvement in training on Tuesday and being able to be at Somerset Park for the visit of East Fife on Saturday.
Everyone at the club wishes Ian a speedy recovery.
AYR UNITED V RANGERS
WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP
SUNDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2018, KICK OFF 2:30PM
This is an all-ticket game. Season tickets are not valid. Ticket Sales and the uplift of pre-paid tickets will close at 1pm on Sunday in the Club Shop. Shop opening hours are as follows
Saturday 10th – 10am to 4pm
Sunday 11th – 10am to 2.30pm (Ticket sales and pickups stop at 1pm)
Car Park/Traffic Management
The Stadium Car Park will be closed on Match Day due to the housing of Sky broadcasting trucks. We will therefore only be able to accommodate Blue Badge Holders, Officials and Staff. Alternative parking will be available at Ayr College, Dam Park for supporters’ cars. Away Supporters’ Buses will be parked at Craigie Park and along Whitletts Road. There will be a full Traffic Management Plan in place for the immediate and surrounding areas, these will be signposted accordingly. Somerset Road will be closed from 1pm. Please allow added time for your journey.
Turnstiles will open at 1pm. Please arrive early as we will have a full capacity on the day. Bag searches will be in place and this will also add time. We appreciate your cooperation and patience whilst our stewards carry out this essential task.
Please ensure you have your ticket ready for inspection and know the turnstile your ticket is for.
- Away tickets:
o Railway End – Turnstiles 1-7
o West Enclosure – Turnstile 8
o West Stand – Turnstile 9
o North Terrace – Turnstile 25-28
- Home tickets:
o East Stand – Turnstile 10
o Centre Stand – Turnstile 11
o East Enclosure – Turnstile 12
o Family Stand – Turnstile 13
o Somerset Road – Turnstiles 17-22
Security and Safety
We would remind you that this is a live televised game. All fans are respectfully requested to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring either Club and its supporters into disrepute and adhere to the Ground Regulations, (posted outside turnstiles). Please visit ayrunitedfc.co.uk for information on our Unacceptable Conduct Policy, copies are also posted around the ground.
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. Any person committing such an offence will face immediate ejection, possible arrest and a life time ban from the Club. Surfing flags are not permitted.
Supporters are advised to remain within the terraces and stands and to refrain from entering trackside or the field of play.
For safety reasons there may be a requirement to stagger the exiting of fans from the stadium.
Ayr United would like to thank both sets of supporters for their co-operation and backing of the teams.
Tel: +44 (0) 1292 263435
Fax:+44 (0) 1292 281314
Ayr United Football Club, Somerset Park Tryfield Place, Ayr, KA8 9NB