Forfar Athletic 0 v 5 Ayr United
Report by AUmedia
Forfar set up to stifle United’s attacking urges with two solid lines of four defending deep in their own half and relying on quick breaks to cause problems for their visitors. This restricted Ayr to limited chances in the first half and Forfar had only themselves to blame for going behind.
With 14 mins gone, Ayr worked the ball from the back and David Ferguson’s pass up the right wing was intercepted by Forfar’s Darren Whyte who was immediately put under pressure by Ayr’s Lawrence Shankland. Whyte attempted a half-hearted pass back allowing Michael Moffat to pounce and stroke the ball past keeper McCallum and into the net. 100 goals for notched up for Moffat and the breakthrough United deserved.
Forfar were limited in their chances, with David Cox acting as lone striker attempting to hold the ball up for Dylan Easton and Marc Scott who used their pace to break forward and try to cause problems with the majority of United players caught forward. They had not counted on the strength of the United defence with Michael Rose and Chris Higgins skilful and resolute and wing backs David Ferguson, Paddy Boyle and midfielders Andy Geggan, Ross Docherty, Brian Gilmour and Robbie Crawford speedily returning to defensive duties to lessen the threat.
With the stuffy first half over, the Honest Men, returned to the pitch with additional desire and determination and it did not take them long to show their intent.
2 mins into the second half and Moffat picked up the ball in his own half then surged forward with Shankland running interference and creating space. On reaching the edge of the box, Moffat released a drive that left keeper McCallum clawing at thin air before the ball cannoned back off the crossbar. So close, but the Honest Men would not have to wait long before doubling their lead.
On 52 mins, United claimed their second goal. Forfar left back Conor Quigley’s weak clearancewas intercepted by the impressive Ferguson who slipped the ball into the penalty area where Shankland nutmegged Whyte before curling the ball sweetly into the far corner leaving keeper McCallum helpless.
Next to try his luck was Boyle who ran into the box on the left, controlled a touch on from Moffat then blasted just wide of the righthand post.
On 56 mins, Cox curled the ball into the penalty area and substitute striker Matthew Aitken did well to throw himself in front of the ball and cushion it to Easton with his chest. Easton controlled the ball well but somehow scraped his shot wide from a great position.
Ayr then put together a goal of quality with the predatory striking partnership of Shankland and Moffat at its core. Keeper Jordan Hart sent a long freekick high to Shankland some 25 yards out and the striker cushioned the ball with his right foot, turned defender Michael Travis in one movement, and moved forward before playing a delicate one-two with Moffat. Moffat then spun in behind the defenders to receive the ball yet again from Shankland. Now clean through and into the box, Moffat fired the ball past McCallum, where it hit the left-hand post, rolled along the line, off the right post and in. 64 mins gone, Ayr were three up and there was more to come.
Robbie Crawford was torturing the Forfar defence on the left-hand side and on 66 mins he almost got his name on the score sheet. Turning and twisting, the midfielder created space for himself then cut in along the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball to Moffat. Moffat, side on to goal, flicked the ball over the defensive line with the outside of his right foot and back to Crawford who had darted through. Crawford hit the ball first time and it took an excellent reaction save from McCallum to somehow put the ball past the post.
With 81 mins on the clock it was hat-trick time for the inflammable Michael Moffat. Docherty played a short corner to Declan McDaid who lifted a pin point cross to Moffat on the penalty spot. Moffat hooked the ball goalward and, while he didn’t get a clean contact, it made its way in at the back post.
United were pummelling the Forfar defence with insistent regularity and attempts by McDaid, Shankland, Moffat and Craig McGuffie all went close to adding to the tally. There were four goals on the score sheet, but Ayr deserved more, and they were not to be denied.
Ayr not only wrapped it up but put a bow on it in 85 mins. McGuffie played the ball to McDaid some 25 yards out and he moved forward, playing a neat one-two with Crawford at the edge of the box before delicately flicking the ball left and into the path of Craig Moore who made no mistake from 8 yards. 0-5 Ayr.
Next up, Stranraer at Somerset Park on Saturday.
Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Quigley, Whyte, Travis, Cregg, Scott, Millar, Cox, Easton, McBride
Substitutes: Adam (GK), Peters, See, Kennedy, Aitken, Mackintosh, Warwick.
Ayr United: Hart, Ferguson, Higgins, Rose, Boyle, Crawford, Docherty, Geggan, Gilmour, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Moore, Forrest, McDaid, McGuffie, Murphy, Waite
Referee: Steven Kirkland