Banks O’Dee 2 Ayr Utd 6

William Hill Scottish Cup

Banks O’ Dee 2 v 6 Ayr United

by AUmedia

Ayr United made the long trip to Aberdeen finally seeing off a stuffy Banks O’ Dee side with a brace of goals each from Shankland, Moore and McDaid in this William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round encounter.  On a less than perfect surface, in freezing conditions and up against a strong wind this potential banana skin was avoided with a thoroughly professional performance by the Honest Men.

With only 32 seconds on the clock, United took the lead.  Robbie Crawford powered through from his own half to 20 yards out where he played a one-two with Craig Moore (a delicious back-heeled nutmeg) before slipping the ball into the penalty area.  It looked a simple ball for the Dee defence to deal with, but somehow everything seemed to go wrong. Defender Alan White nervously tried to clear but hit the ball off his own wingback Neale Allan. Somehow the ball stuck between Allan’s feet and, with keeper Shearer unable to assist, United’s Lawrence Shankland stepped in and poked the ball into the net from a tight angle.

If United thought it was going to be easy, they were in for a shock.  Banks O’ Dee were awarded a penalty in 4 mins, when keeper Jordan Hart came off his line to try and reach a hanging cross but failed to make contact and ploughed through striker Jamie Watt before landing awkwardly. It took 4 minutes for the penalty to be taken as Hart received treatment to a facial injury sustained in the incident.

Watt then stepped up and slammed the ball into the net from the spot and bring the sides level.

Worse was to come for United on 25 minutes when Banks O’ Dee went ahead, again from the penalty spot, after Ross Docherty barged Michael Philipson.  Again, it was prolific goal scorer Watt who stepped up and drilled the ball home, low to Hart’s right, taking his season’s tally so far to 21 goals.

Banks O’ Dee returned to their game plan, defending in depth and numbers, attempting to stifle United’s attacking intentions.  The Honest Men showed skill, calmness and composure, working the ball around the pitch with some excellent interplay whilst probing the Banks O’ Dee defence.  Some hard challenges were going in and Paddy Boyle suffered a nasty one when he was barged in mid-air and landed heavily on his shoulder. On 36 mins Boyle was forced to come off and was replaced by Declan McDaid.

One minute later and Ayr were back on level terms.  Moore chased onto a high ball over the Dee defence and into the box where, under pressure from Liam McCall, he fired the ball along the 6-yard line to Shankland who tapped home.

As Ayr turned on the power, Banks O’ Dee struggled to cope with the tricky wing skills of Crawford and McDaid prompted by Docherty pulling the strings in midfield.

On 43 minutes Ayr claimed the lead they deserved. Shankland put pressure on defender White who could only tap the ball to McDaid on the right-hand side of the box.  McDaid controlled, shuffled onto his left foot, before smashing a drive high into the net.

Just on the stroke of half time Ayr finally put space between themselves and the stuffy Northern Super League team and what a peach it was. Crawford surged down the left and played the ball to Ferguson who neatly back healed the ball behind the defensive line where he found Crawford who had continued his run. The midfielder then cut in before finding McDaid who flicked the ball under control before rifling home from 8 yards.

It could have been more when, in the last of the half’s five additional minutes, Shankland hit the post with a fierce strike.

Ayr started the second half with the same intensity as they had finished the first and the skills gap between the two sides began to show in abundance.

On 52 minutes Geggan played a neat cutback to Shankland in the box but the striker’s drive went narrowly wide and settled in the side netting.

Whatever faint hope the Dee had of getting back into the game was finally crushed when Kane Winton was shown a second yellow for an elbow in the face of Ross Docherty.

Ayr piled on the misery for the Dee when in 63 mins they went 5-2 up. Andy Geggan played the ball in front of Moore who chased into the box before unleashing a thunderous drive into the roof of the net.

2 mins later and it was 6.  Keeper Shearer rushed out of his box in an attempt to beat Shankland to the ball, but his clearance was poor and only reached Moore who lifted the ball into the open net from 35 yards.

It was now a masterclass from Ayr, switching to 3 at the back and pushing forward in waves. Crawford, moving into the centre of midfield, looked exceptional probing the Dee defence with pinpoint passes and showing an elegant and skilful control that left opposition players trailing and bemused in his wake.

That Ayr didn’t score more is the only mystery, with a Rose header cleared off the line, a Crawford drive scraping over the bar, young substitute Luke McCowan dribbling across the edge of the box then seeing his shot going just over, Moore hitting the side netting, McDaid hitting the bar, and substitute McGuffie terrorising the Dee back line, and going close on two occasions.

A satisfying journey north for the Honest Men and they can look forward to League action next Saturday at Recreation Park, Alloa.

Banks 0’Dee

Shearer, Allan, White, McCall, Robertson, Hamilton, Henderson, Winton, Watt, Philipson, Hall Subs: Sahhalevtis (GK), Murray, Duguid, Macleod, Shrive, Taylor, Smith

 

Ayr United

Hart, Ferguson, Rose, Reid, Boyle, Geggan, Docherty, Crawford, Moffat, Shankland, Moore

Subs: Avci (GK), Forrest, McDaid, McGuffie, Faulds, Waite, McCowan

 

Referee: Craig Napier

Attendance: 469

Banks O’Dee match preview

Match Preview
Banks O’ Dee vs. Ayr United
William Hill Scottish Cup – 3rd Round
Saturday 18th November 2017. Kick-off 3pm

 

On Saturday, Ayr United make the  journey north to Spain Park, Aberdeen to face Junior side Banks O’ Dee in the third round of the Scottish Cup. It is something of a trip of the unknown for the Honest Men, who regardless will be buoyed by a dominant performance against League 1 challengers Raith Rovers on Tuesday night. A 3-0 win extended Ian McCall’s side’s advantage at the top of the table to three points and their unbeaten run to eight games.

Like United, Banks O’Dee are in red hot form and go into Saturday’s game on the back of a 10-0 win over North Superleague’s bottom side Banchory St. Ternan last weekend.

Team News: Chris Higgins and Brian Gilmour are both out with injuries. Jamie Adams won’t play due to the surface.

Ian says: “It is always good to have a break from the league and especially getting a draw in the cup that is something different for ourselves and our supporters. We take every cup seriously especially the Scottish Cup and there is no doubt we want to progress so we have prepared for this match the same way that we do for every other match. In absolutely no way will we be taking it lightly and that will be shown by our team selection. Games like this are never easy and they are in excellent form.”

Opponents: Banks O’Dee have won the Scottish Junior Football Association North Superleague in the previous two season and already look on course to win a third successive title, having won all nine league fixtures this season, scoring 36 goals and conceding just 5. Tommy Forbes & Sandy McNaughton’s side have a eight point advantage over nearest challengers Hermes plus a game in hand.

Striker Jamie Watt is the Dee’s dangerman. The 39-year old has 19 goals to his name this season in just 13 appearances, including five goals in the Scottish Cup.

Scottish Cup record: Ayr United have progressed past the third round of the Scottish Cup in seven of the last nine seasons. It is over 20 years since the Honest Men were knocked out the competition by a lower league club and the last non-league club to defeat Ayr in the Cup were Elgin City in 1967 – a season in which we won one league game all season and scored only 20 goals in 34 games.

The Honest Men have twice before faced Junior opponents in the Scottish Cup, requiring a replay to overcome East Region champs Lochee United in 2008 and defeating Aberdeen’s Sunnybank 5-0 in 2010.

Banks O’Dee are participating in Scottish Cup for the fourth time in their history. Wins over Linlithgow Rose (2-1), Huntly (4-0), and Selkirk (2-0) – all at home – has seen the Dee progress to the third round for the first time. Their only meeting against SPFL opposition in the competition was in 2009 when Montrose ran out 3-0 winners at Spain Park.

Match Officials:

Referee – Craig Napier

Assistant Referee 1 – Graeme Leslie

Assistant Referee 2 – David Watt

 

Admission:

Adult – £10

Concessions – £5

Club shop now Online

The Ayr United club shop is now online and available for orders. The site is working perfectly on laptops and desktop computers however on mobile devices, although all products are on there, it is not showing the product categories. This is being worked on currently and should be fixed within a few days.

We apologise for the length of time it has taken for us to have the online shop up and running however we had a long running problem with our payment provider who had to undertake a number of checks before giving us the go ahead to go live. We were advised it would be complete within two weeks however instead it took months.

We have a wide range of new products on the way including kids pyjamas, mugs, Xmas items, slippers, dressing gowns, Adidas trainingwear and lots more. All of these will be added to the website as soon as they arrive.

If you are looking for assistance or if there are any items you would like us to stock please contact us by email shop@ayrunitedfc.co.uk or by phone 01292 263435 ext5.

Every week the club shop will be open Monday 1-5, Thursday 3-8 and Friday 1-5. We will be opening extra days for Xmas and we will confirm this as soon as the decision has been made.

Arbroath 1 Ayr Utd 4

ARBROATH 1 v 4 AYR UNITED

by AUmedia


A devastating goal scoring spell in the second half saw The Honest Men overtake Raith Rovers and go top of the table on goal difference.  Shankland put Ayr ahead in the first half before a goal from Moore, an OG from Gold and a second from Shankland put Ayr on easy street in the second half.  Swankie netted Arbroath’s late consolation in a frustrating game for the home side
The first half was littered with few real clear-cut chances.  Crawford was United’s biggest attacking threat in the opening 10 mins with a couple of efforts on goal however his first attempt flashed well wide before his next strike was comfortably saved by Hutton in goal.

Arbroath grew into the game and on 14 mins defender O’Brien found himself with time and space on the edge of the box but could only fire the ball over the bar from 18 yards out.  5 mins later and it was the turn of defensive partner Hamilton who beat two United players and scraped a shot just wide from 20 yards out.

The best chance of the half for the home side came on 28 mins when they broke quickly from an Ayr attack, Linn then found himself one-on-one with Hart but saw his shot saved well by the keeper before he fired the rebound off the bar from close range as the home fans thought the ball was destined to hit the back of the net.

On 35 mins, Ayr made Arbroath pay for their missed chances and opened the scoring against the run of play through Shankland.  Moffat slipped the ball through to the striker who managed to squeeze it under the hand of Hutton and into the net for 0-1.

Arbroath started the better of the two sides in the second half as they looked to get themselves back into the game. Whatley had a strike that was well saved by Hart on 49 mins before Denholm just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross from Hamilton on 51 mins.

Just as it looked like United could be heading into a tricky spell they grabbed a second goal thanks to some good fortune.  With 53 mins gone, Shankland set Moore through on the right and his cross was met by Moffat whose attempt was saved by Hutton but rebounded off the hapless Gold and into the net for 0-2.

Two quickly became three for Ayr when Shankland got his double on 56 mins.  Moffat picked the ball up on the right and drove forward before sending a low cross to Shankland who coolly slotted the ball beyond Hutton for 0-3.

Arbroath were stunned and it only got worse for the home side, who were crumbling against Ayr’s devastating attacking prowess, when Moore made it four.  Crawford passed the ball to Shankland on the edge of the area and he laid off to Moore who slammed the ball into the back of the net from just inside the box to make it 0-4 on 58 mins.  The away fans hadn’t really had a chance to finish their celebration of the second goal before they found themselves 4 goals ahead.

United were ruthless in the second half and Shankland came close to his hattrick when he hit the post on 62 mins however it wasn’t to be for the striker who was subbed late on in the game for Forrest.  That is now 9 goals in 8 games for the in-form Shankland.

Arbroath fell apart in the second half but managed to claw one back through Swankie on 85 mins when Ayr failed to clear and allowed Swankie to poke home from 6 yards for 1-4.

It was a game in which Ayr were not at their best but their ruthlessness going forward in the second half was too much for Arbroath to handle and they ran out comfortable winners.  Ayr now welcome Raith Rovers to Somerset next Tuesday.

STARMEN – Lawrence Shankland 1st, Michael Rose 2nd, Jordan Hart 3rd.

ARBROATH – Hutton, Gold, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Yule, Linn, Whatley, McCord, Swankie, Denholm.  Substitutes Hester, Prunty, Henry, Martin, Kader, Douglas (GK).

AYR UNITED – Hart, Boyle, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Crawford, McDaid, Ferguson, Adams, Shankland, Docherty.  Substitutes Gilmour, Moore, Forrest, McGuffie, Reid, Avci (GK). 

 

Referee: Alan Muir

Attendance: 922

Manager & Moff win awards

Manager Ian McCall has won Ladbrokes League One manager of the month and Michael Moffat the Ladbrokes League One player of the month.

The matches which counted for the October award were a 2-2 home draw with Airdrie, a 5-0 victory at Forfar in which Moff scored a hat trick which included his 100th career goal and last weeks 2-0 home win over Stranraer, Moff scoring the crucial first goal.

Congratulations to both!

Arbroath match preview

Match Preview Arbroath vs. Ayr United Ladbrokes League 1 Saturday 4th November 2017, Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, on-form Ayr United travel to Angus to take on Arbroath in what will be the 100th meeting between the clubs. The Honest Men are just one goal off top spot in League 1 after drawing level on points with Raith Rovers last weekend; winning 2-0 against Stranraer as the Kirkcaldy club dropped points away to Forfar Athletic.

A win for United over Arbroath will open up a nine-point gap over fifth-placed Red Lichties and extend Ian McCall’s side’s unbeaten run to seven games.

Arbroath smashed seven past Airdrieonians in their last home game but were defeated 3-1 at East Fife last weekend. Bobby Linn put Dick Campbell’s side ahead at Bayview in the 16th minute but three goals in eight second-half minutes won it for the home side. The result saw the Fifers swap places with the Red Lichties in the league table.

Team News: Fully fit squad.

Ian says: “We are in good form and everyone is confident just now however every game in this league has different challenges and our first match with Arbroath showed that they are a good side. That was our worst performance of the season and I expect an entirely different display tomorrow. The defence have been keeping clean sheets and in the forward areas we look threatening every time we go forward. Hopefully the weather is kind to us as it can be horrific up there and we will be doing everything we can to send our travelling fans home happy.”

Head to head (at Gayfield):

Ayr United wins – 19

Draws – 15

Arbroath wins – 15

 

It is 13 games since a draw in this fixture.

 

Last Meeting: Arbroath are one of only two sides to defeat Ayr in the league this season and the only team to win in 90 minutes at Somerset Park. The Honest Men went ahead in the 42 minutes in the match in August when Chris Higgins pounced to steer the ball past David Hutton but goals from Omar Kader before half-time and a stunning strike from Mark Whatley earned the Red Lichties all three points.

 

Ayr’s last trip to Gayfield saw the Honest Men win 3-2 in typically blustery conditions. Michael Moffat scored a double; the 103 goal man has netted 9 times in just 5 appearances away to Arbroath.

 

On this day: in history, the Honest Men have a win percentage of 73.33%, with 11 wins in 15 games played on this date and just two defeats. Our most recent fixture on November 4th was in 2006 and saw us defeat Stranraer 3-1 at Stair Park. Chris Strain, Ryan Stevenson and Jerome Vareille all scored in the first 21 minutes. Former Ayr midfielder Dougie Ramsey was sent off late on for the Blues.

 

Match Officials:

Referee – Alan Muir

Assistant Referee 1 – Gordon Crawford

Assistant Referee 2 – Liam Butler

 

Admission:

Adults – £14 Concessions – £8 Parent & Child – £17

Ayr Utd 2 Stranraer 0

Ayr United 2 v 0 Stranraer

by AUmedia

Whether locals like this being referred to as a derby or not this game had the feeling of a derby of old with crunching tackles, no quarter given, red cards, no little skill, burst nets, goals and, most surprisingly, a tension filled excitement that brought fans to their feet singing in the main stand.

The game started at speed and with some early crunching tackles. Andy Geggan was first to hit the deck when he was caught on the shin and ankle within the first minute as Stranraer tried to impose themselves on the game. Referee Northcroft made light of the incident while Geggan’s resultant swollen ankle would suggest there should have been a greater response.

Ayr dominated the first half with Geggan hitting the post on 16 mins, an audacious overhead kick by Shankland from 10 yards just going over one minute later, and then his swerving 30-yard drive only just stopped by keeper Belford. Ayr’s chances kept adding up with Michael Moffat, Declan McDaid and Chris Higgins also going close.

Stranraer were still dangerous on the counter attack, especially when spurred on by the excellent freekicks and passes from former Ayr man, Scott Agnew. Stranraer’s best chance came on 20 mins when Ryan Wallace turned quickly at the edge of the box before sending a powerful drive inches past the post.

Ayr thought they’d taken the lead on 30 mins when a Shankland shot appeared to have palmed in by Belford but referee Northcroft adjudged that defender Steven Bell had cleared before the ball was fully over the line.

A simmering feud was taking place between Ayr’s Geggan and Jamie Hamill and, on 40 mins, it looked like this had resulted in a United penalty when the Stranraer defender grabbed Geggan by the neck and body and then bundled him down straight in front of the referee. Referee Northcroft decided to take no action.

As the halftime whistle beckoned, a Docherty freekick was met by Rose but his effort hit the post and both teams went in at the break on level terms.

Manager McCall, replaced Geggan with Jamie Adams to add height and tactically insert Craig Moore for McDaid. McCall had at last unleashed his three-striker attack (Shankland, Moffat and Moore) that fans had been relishing but if he had hoped to defuse tensions with the withdrawal of Geggan he was to be disappointed in a second half that was to explode.

The touch paper was to be lit in the 57th min. Robbie Crawford broke down the left and, with the ball well away, the Blues’ young midfielder, Kyle Turner, lunged in with two feet. Crawford was left writhing on the grass, but the referee astonishingly only brought out a yellow card.

Things started to get ‘tasty’ but Ayr kept their composure and piled on the pressure with Higgins going close and Rose inexplicably heading past from close range.

On 65 mins Ayr finally took the lead.  Keeper Hart rolled the ball to Chris Higgins who found Paddy Boyle to his left. The defender then picked out Lawrence Shankland, in an advanced position on the right. with an exquisite diagonal ball. Without a second thought, Shankland nodded the ball into the path of Michael Moffat who made his way into the box before putting it past keeper Belford and into the net. Ayr were ahead, and this was nothing less than they deserved.

And then came the first red card. Just as the whistle blew for an earlier foul and with no chance to stop, Adams tackled defender Scott Robertson and the Stranraer man grabbed him by the shirt before pushing him onto the ground. After consultation with his assistant the referee ordered Robertson from the pitch but strangely also booked Adams whose tackle, although strong, appeared to take the ball cleanly despite the reaction from the Blues’ bench.

United doubled their lead in the 79th minute with Shankland both starting and finishing the move.  The striker, on the left at the halfway line and somewhat emulating Boyle in the move for the first goal, curled the ball into the path of the on-rushing Craig Moore on the right.  Moore dribbled into the box before unleashing a drive that Belford could only palm away and the Stranraer defence struggled to clear. The ball arrived at the feet of Ross Docherty on the edge of the box and the United captain played it forward to Shankland who spun before hitting the ball home. Breathing space for Ayr at 2 – 0.

On 89 mins came the second red card as central defender Steven Bell pulled Adams down and appeared to push his hand in to the United man’s face when he was on the ground. 9-man Stranraer now had no way back.

Ayr should have made it three with seconds remaining when Shankland put substitute Forrest through, but the ball bobbled, and his shot flew over the bar.

On Saturday, another tricky away trip to Angus, this time to Arbroath.

 

Ayr United

Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Crawford, McDaid, Ferguson, Shankland, Docherty. Substitutes: Avci (GK), Gilmour, Moore, Forrest, McGuffie, Adams, Reid

 

Stranraer

Belford, Robertson, Neill, Woods, Bell, Wallace, Agnew, Anderson, Turner, Hamill, Thomson. Substitutes: Currie (GK), Barron, Lang, McGowan, Okoh, Gray, Stoney

 

Referee: Mat Northcroft

Attendance: 1,473

Stranraer match preview

Match Preview Ayr United vs. Stranraer Ladbrokes League 1 Saturday 28th October 2017, Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, Ayr United and Stranraer are reaquainted when the Blues make the trip north along the A77 to Somerset Park. United closed the gap on league leaders Raith Rovers last weekend to two points with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Forfar Athletic while Rovers long trip to today’s visitors was abandoned in the 36th minute due to a waterlogged pitch at Stair Park, with the scoreline level.

Ian McCall’s side are the SPFL’s highest goalscorers, averaging nearly three goals per game, but have dropped seven points at home this season and will be looking improve that form at Somerset Park.

Stranraer lie one point adrift of the promotion play-offs in sixth place with a game in hand following last weekend’s abandonment. Stevie Farrell’s side’s biggest win this season came away from home – a 4-0 demolition of Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill in which Scott Agnew scored a hat-trick.

Team News: We have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Ian says: “I am delighted to be going into the game with a full squad to choose from, it certainly gives us plenty to think about after the performance last week. These matches with Stranraer are always hard fought and tend to have plenty of talking points. We must start winning home matches and cutting out errors which are leading to giving away poor goals. Our fans were tremendous at Forfar last week and hopefully they will give the same kind of backing tomorrow.”

Head to head (at Somerset Park):

Ayr United wins – 30

Draws – 7

Stranraer wins – 8

 

Last Meeting: A late Paddy Boyle goal earned Ayr the win in a seven-goal thriller at Stair Park in August. Ryan Wallace opened the scoring for the Blues in the 16th minute but Ayr roared into the lead with strikes from McDaid, Moore and Moffat. A quick-fire Ryan Thomson double drew the sides level before Boyles later winner.

 

Stranraer’s last visit to Somerset Park was the Championship play-off final in May 2016.

 

On this day: in 1994, United beat Stranraer 2-1 at Somerset Park in the Division 1. More recently, the Honest Men fought back from two goals down to defeat Hamilton at New Douglas park on 29th October 2011. Michael Moffat, John Robertson and a last minute Chris Smith goal stole all three points.

 

Match Officials:

Referee – Mat Northcroft

Assistant Referee 1 – Gavin Harris

Assistant Referee 2 – Daniel Graves

 

Admission:

Adults – £16 OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds – £10 Under 18s – £5

Fixture Change

Our Ladbrokes League One fixture with Raith Rovers originally scheduled for Saturday November 11th has been moved to Tuesday 14th November kick off 7.45pm.

This is due to Raith Rovers playing in the Irn Bru Cup quarter final on the Saturday.

Ayr Utd 2 Airdrieonians 2

Ayr United 2 v 2 Airdrieonians

by AUmedia

 

On a gloomy grey day at Somerset Park, United came up short against a plucky Airdrieonians team who rode their luck at times but made the way back to Lanarkshire with a point firmly lodged in their kit bag.

Statistics suggest that Ayr (54% of possession, 13 attempts on goal with 8 on target as opposed to Airdrie’s 8 attempts and only 3 on target) should have won this one relatively easily but in the cold, hard light of reality the ‘Diamonds’ did what was needed and deservedly got something from the game. Manager Ian McCall was left to shake his head and wonder what his team have to do to turn such dominance into goals and 3 points.

The first half was a stuffy affair with both teams huffing and puffing but with neither one showing the quality to make the game their own.

Airdrie were first to have a decent attempt when on 6 mins, midfielder turned striker, Willis Furtado charged through the United defence before releasing a shot which Chris Higgins managed to block before keeper Jordan Hart collected.

Airdrie adopted a strong defensive line and relied upon speedy break away attacks as Ayr tried to find a route to goal. On 16 min full back David Ferguson made his way down the right before finding Michael Moffat in the box, the striker then created space and found Craig McGuffie free to his left. The usually assured McGuffie surprisingly lost control of the ball and the chance was lost.

One minute later Docherty played the ball forward from his own half and it was neatly flicked on to the on-rushing Moffat by Lawrence Shankland who immediately moved to get back in support. Under pressure, Moffat manged to get the ball back to Shankland but his left footed drive was blocked by keeper Rohan Ferguson before being hacked clear by centre half Jordan McGregor.

On 19 mins United scorned an excellent opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot. Michael Rose thumped a high ball into the Airdrie half which Moffat head flicked to Shankland. As Shankland attempted to get the ball under control, defender David Brownlie slid in and poked it back towards his keeper. Moffat pounced and tried to take the ball around keeper Ferguson who unceremoniously up-ended him in the box.

There followed a few moments of confusion as assistant referee Calum Doyle stood with his flag raised apparently signalling that Moffat had been in an offside position. After a short discussion referee Steven Reid overruled his assistant and it was a penalty for Ayr and a booking for keeper Ferguson.

Lawrence Shankland, Ayr’s hot scoring property of the moment, stepped up and struct the ball to Ferguson’s right but the keeper got down and solidly deflected the ball wide for a corner.

The penalty miss seemed to take the wind out of United’s sails although Moffat came close when put into the box by Shankland 3 mins later but this time McGregor blocked and Luke Watt booted clear.

Ayr were made to pay for their profligacy on 28 mins when, against the run of play, Airdrie took the lead. As Tom Fry’s in-swinging corner from the left reached the 6-yard box, centre half McGregor lost his marker Michael Rose and bulleted a header into the back of the net. The Diamonds were one up.

Ayr continued to press but without success. On 31 mins McGuffie, Shankland and Moffat linked up well but the ball was taken from the toe of Moffat just as he looked certain to hit home. 12 mins later a Shankland header went over the bar and with 1 minute of added time on the clock a Moffat solo run ended with a shot that went wide.

A frustrated United went in at half-time wondering just what they’d have to do to get back on track but emerged from the tunnel looking rejuvenated.

Ayr piled on the pressure with Airdrie taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to defence. Ayr gained an early corner and both Shankland and Chris Higgins were denied by dogged defending and last second blocks. On 47mins, Robbie Crawford skilfully stepped past Airdrie skipper Ryan Conroy before unleashing a blistering drive from 18 yards that smashed off the post.

United were not to be denied and on 54 mins David Ferguson delivered a delicious ball in from the right, curving behind the defenders and away from the keeper before being struck home by Andy Geggan on the end of his well-timed run. 1-1 and Ayr’s appetite seemed to be whetted.

Just two minutes later, Ayr were in the lead and it was that man Geggan again. The midfielder won the ball in his own half before sliding it through to Moffat who charged forward. When Moffat slipped the ball to his right in the penalty area he found Geggan on a parallel course waiting to slam the ball home.

Ayr were in the driving seat and looking comfortable but would live to regret not going for the jugular and killing off their opponents.

Jordan Allan entered the field of play on 61 mins with a fire and determination that suggested he could cause problems and just 3 mins later he got onto a long cross from the left and his immaculate first-time volley from an angle slammed off the post with the thinnest of touches from keeper Jordan Hart. First to react was Willis Furtado and with the United defence looking on he smashed the ball into the net and Airdrie were on level terms again.

On 70 mins Airdrie again went close with a Tom Fry snap drive from 25 yards going over as Ayr stuttered and looked shaky. 2 mins later a Fry drive from the edge of the box was tipped over the bar by Hart.

This was becoming too close to call but Ayr started to regain some composure. With 73 mins gone, Shankland released Declan McDaid into the Airdrie half and the United substitute drove into the penalty box but his shot just scraped past the post.

On 76 mins Ayr should have taken the lead when double scorer Andy Geggan fluffed his lines and failed to claim a hattrick as he put a ‘free’ header wide from a Brian Gilmour corner.

Moffat, McDaid and captain Ross Docherty all went close but it was hearts in the mouth time as Airdrie almost stole all three points on 89 mins when an Allan shot from the left beat Hart but Rose cleared off the line.

United could also have snatched the points in the first minute of added time but Crawford’s strike was tipped over by keeper Ferguson.

A bemusing time for Ayr who had enough chances to win two games but must clear their heads for next Saturday’s encounter away to Forfar.

Ayr United: Hart, Ferguson, Higgins, Rose, Boyle, Crawford, Docherty, Geggan, McGuffie, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Avci (GK), Gilmour, Moore, Forrest, McDaid, McCowan

Airdrieonians: Ferguson, McIntosh, Brownlie, McGregor, MacDonald, Stewart, Watt, Conroy, Fry, Furtado, Cairns Substitutes: Kerr (GK), Russell, Allan, Tierney, Higgins, Edwards, Hastie

Referee: Steven Reid

Attendance: 1,513