Petrofac Training Cup
Clyde v Ayr United
Despite warnings from Ayr manager Mark Roberts that this was going to be a difficult game, Ayr seemed to be surprised in the opening stages of this cup tie by a Clyde team that appeared intent on impressing their new manager, former Scotland star, Barry Ferguson.
Straight from the kick off Clyde took the game to Ayr making use of both wings to impose their brand of fast flowing attacking football by utilising the pace and trickery of wide players Watt and Ferguson to good effect.
And it wasn’t long before this tactic paid off as Clyde made the breakthrough in the 8th minute after McManus rounded off a neat three man counterattack move.
A loose ball in midfield was pounced on by the impressive Sweeney. His first time pass released Watt down the right hand side, catching out the Ayr defence in the process, and without breaking stride he whipped in an early pass behind the United back four. This allowed McManus to nip in between Ayr’s central defenders to prod the ball past the diving Hutton and into an empty net.
At this point in the game Ayr found it difficult to respond as the strikers struggled to find space and were left isolated and outnumbered by the Clyde defence. United’s midfield seemed unable to link up and support Donnolly and the hard working McGovern as they attempted to get back into the game.
All the while Clyde carried the twin threat on the counterattack of Watt and Ferguson as they regularly stretched the Ayr defence, while in midfield Sweeney and Gray’s influence was becoming more apparent as they continued to pull the strings and initiate most of Clyde’s best attacks.
In the 29th minute things got worse for Ayr as Clyde made it 2-0. Ferguson picked up a pass on the left wing and came in off the touch line to cut inside Nicky Devlin whose outstretched leg tripped the tricky winger for a stonewall penalty. Sweeney then stepped up to slam the ball powerfully into the top right hand corner despite the valiant effort of Hutton who managed to get a hand to the ball.
In the first half Ayr were reduced to only one notable attempt on goal when Mikey Donald was released down the left hand side and played a pinpoint pass inside to Allan Forrest on the edge of the penalty area whose rasping shot was deflected past keeper Barclay’s left hand post.
Ayr stumbled along to half-time but emerged in the second half with added determination. Peter McGill and Alan Forrest began to involve themselves more causing full-backs Durie and McKinnon problems on the flanks but Ayr still seemed unable to find a way through the resolute Clyde defence failing to create any clear cut chances.
In the 71st Minute Mark Roberts decided to change things by replacing Brian Gilmour with Kevin McKinlay. McKinlay went straight in at left back releasing Mikey Donald from his defensive duties and pushing him into a central midfield role.
This gave Ayr some much needed impetus and momentum but although Ayr had more of the possession in the closing stages Clyde’s defence looked comfortable.
McGill almost set up a grandstand finish as he ended an intricate three man move involving Gilmour & Forrest by creating space for himself on the corner of the penalty box, cutting inside and drifting a curling right foot shot just wide of the keepers left hand post.
In the end Clyde ran out comfortable winners for a disappointing result for Ayr and Mark Roberts was left to pick his team up and prepare them for another crucial cup tie away to East Stirling next Saturdayin the league cup.
Ayr Bookings: Devlin and Gilmour
Clyde Bookings: Marsh, Sweeney and Gray
Clyde: Barclay, Durie, McKinnon, McQueen, Gray, S Ferguson, Sweeney, McManus, Sinclair, Watt.
Subs: Scullion, Frances, Daly, Young, McColm, McGhee, Rajovic
Ayr: Hutton, Devlin, Dnald, McArthur, Murphy, Gilmour, Forrest, McLaughlin, Donnelly, McGovern, McGill
Subs: Roberts, McKenzie, Muir, Wardrope, McKinlay, Newman