The Honest Men made it back to back wins in the Championship after a stunning comeback at Easter Road as they beat 10 man Hibs 2-1. Jason Cummings opened the scoring just after the restart with a quite spectacular goal but the home side were reduced to 10 men after Marvin Bartley was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Jamie Adams. United made the most of their man advantage and turned the game on its head as goals from Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour gave Ayr a memorable win.
McCall was happy with the side which defeated Morton at Somerset last week and stuck with the same side as they aimed to repeat the same result.
Ayr were under pressure right from the start and after only 2 minutes the home side carved out their first chance. Gray received the ball on the right and his cross was met by Holt and his header was clawed away by Fleming from close range to keep the score level.
10 minutes gone and it was Shinnie’s turn to test Fleming however his strike from a Holt cross was tame and collected easily by the keeper.
Shinnie continued to threaten and after 19 minutes almost opened the scoring. A dangerous ball into the box was miss-hit by Cummings and the ball came across the 6 yard box with Shinnie’s touch sending the ball off the woodwork.
The home side continued to press for the opener and almost scored through a lapse in the Ayr defence on 27 minutes. Balatoni missed a high ball in the box and Stevenson got a shot away on goal but Fleming was there to smother the shot from a tight angle.
Just before halftime, Fyvie was next to try and put Hibs in front and his free-kick from 20 yards out flew just wide of the left hand post as Ayr went into halftime on level terms.
It didn’t take the home side long to open the scoring after the restart and on 49 minutes they took the lead through Cummings. The striker picked the ball up on the right and from 25 yards out, curled a brilliant shot into the top left hand corner to give Fleming no chance and his side a 1-0 lead.
Ayr were quick to respond to this setback and almost hauled themselves level if it weren’t for Fyvie who hooked an Adam’s header off the line from a Gilmour corner on 53 minutes.
The home side’s pressure continued and Shinnie’s shot was well palmed away by Fleming from 20 yards out on 55 minutes. Fleming was doing well to keep the score down as Hibs looked dangerous throughout the match.
60 minutes gone and it was again Shinnie who had a chance to increase the home side’s lead as he picked up the ball in the box and with plenty of time and space, he could only fire a strike straight at Fleming who made a solid stop.
The turning point in the match came after 66 minutes when Hibs were reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of Bartley. The midfielder took a loose touch and in a desperate attempt to win the ball back, tackled Adams with a dangerous challenge which referee Nick Walsh deemed as a red card.
It wasn’t long before Ayr made the most of their man advantage and after 74 minutes hauled themselves level through Balatoni. Gilmour whipped in a corner from the left and Balatoni met a header at the near post to level the score and send Ayr fans into raptures.
The home side continued to press however Graham’s shot inside the box was well wide of the target after 77 minutes.
79 minutes on the clock and Ayr turned the game around as Gilmour gave Ayr a surprise lead. Devlin picked up the ball on the right and drove past Stevenson before sending in a low cross which met Gilmour who had the simplest of tasks of slotting the ball into the net from close range to put Ayr 2-1 ahead.
Ayr withstood continuous pressure in the final 10 minutes of the game and held out for a magnificent win against the current Scottish Cup holders. The win lifts Ayr into 6th place.
Ayr now look to continue their good form as they travel to Falkirk next week.
Marciano, Gray, Hanlon, Bartley, McGinn, Fyvie, Holt, Stevenson, Shinnie, McGregor, Cummings. Substitutes Laidlaw, McGeough, Boyle, Keatings, Forster, Graham, Harris.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Forrest, Harkins, Cairney, Adams, Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty. Substitutes Hart, Murphy, Thomas, Crawford, Donald, Nisbet, McGuffie.
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: AUmedia