Peterhead 1 v 4 Ayr United
Ayr United took the upper hand in the Championship play off semi-final with an emphatic 4-1 victory away to Peterhead, in the first leg of the tie.
The match started at a frantic pace as both teams tried to impose themselves on the game. However, it was United who took the lead after 17 minutes. Michael Donald collected a Nicky Devlin cross at the edge of the box. The winger then took a touch to his left before firing the ball low across Graeme Smith and into the bottom corner.
Robbie Crawford then struck the post for United but just minutes later Leighton McIntosh brought his side level. Nicky Riley latched onto a loose ball in midfield before slipping it through to Peterhead danger man, McIntosh. The striker rounded keeper Greg Fleming before sending a shot towards goal. It looked as if Peter Murphy might clear the ball off the line but McIntosh’s effort had too much on it and it nestled into the net. 1-1 after 34 minutes and it was very much game on.
Just six minutes later Ayr were back in the lead. Jordan Preston controlling a Ross Docherty cross at the back post before slotting the ball into the far corner of the net to restore his side’s advantage.
Ayr went into half-time 2-1 to the good and looked to assert their dominance in the second half. With 58 minutes on the clock they extended their lead in sensational fashion. The ever threatening Preston picked up the ball on the left hand side before cutting in and onto his right foot. From the edge of the box he then arrowed a shot into the top corner of the net giving Smith no chance and sending the away fans into raptures.
Peterhead were always a threat but Ayr were starting to look full of confidence. They rounded off the scoring after 74 minutes when Robbie Crawford dazzled the home defence, twisting and turning inside the box before slotting the ball under Smith to hand his side a 4-1 win.
Ayr go into the second leg with a three goal advantage but will need to be aware of the pitfalls of being too complacent with Peterhead determined to get back into the tie with their lucky talisman striker Rory McAllister returning after suspension.
Peterhead: Smith; Blockley; Redman; Strachan; Noble; Ferry; Dzierzawski; McIntosh; Brown; Riley; Sutherland Subs: Jarvie (GK); Ross; Baptie; Lawrence; Rodgers
Ayr: Fleming; Devlin; Boyle; Docherty; Graham; Murphy; McCrorie; Crawford; Preston; Moore; Donald Subs: Newman (GK); Trouten; McLauchlan; Forrest; Gilmour; Stevenson; Wardrope
Referee: Stephen Finnie Crowd: 807