Peterhead 3 v 0 Ayr United
Ayr made the long trip north to face Peterhead, hoping to return to winning ways following back to back defeats against Dunfermline. However, they left empty handed as Peterhead reigned victorious with a 3-0 win. Following a goalless first half, the home side took full advantage of the wind at their back with three second half goals from Kevin Dzierzawski and a Shane Sutherland double.
Ross Docherty missed the game due to injury but Adams, Devlin and Moore all returned to the starting line-up for United. Ally Gilchrist was missing for Peterhead who looked to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
It was to be the away side that started the brighter creating a number of goal scoring opportunities. First Brian Gilmour looped the ball onto the head of Trouten who had made an excellent run into the box but he could only head over.
Peterhead were dealt an early blow when central defender Scott Ross aggravated an existing leg injury and was replaced by Shane Sutherland who moved into the forward line with Jamie Redmond slotting into defence.
Moore then had a great chance to give United the lead. Gilmour received the ball on the edge of the eighteen-yard box then flicked the ball inside to Moore. The on loan striker looked well positioned to fire his side into the lead but Graeme Smith produced an excellent double save to deny Moore a comeback goal.
Peterhead started to utilise the pace of front two Leighton McIntosh and Rory McAllister and it was the former who was presented with a glorious opportunity to give his side the advantage. With ten minutes on the clock, the number fifteen found himself one-on-one with United keeper, Greg Fleming but the striker dragged his shot wide of the target.
On 20 mins Ayr created the chance of the half. Murphy played the ball forward to Moore who slid the ball into the path of Trouten but his shot was excellently saved by Smith.
Five minutes later a quickly taken kick free kick found Trouten in space but his shot was blocked by a last second despairing lunge by Jordan Brown. Trouten quickly readjusted himself and lifted the ball across the box Craig Moore attempted an overhead kick which sailed over.
Ayr, with the wind at their backs, dominated play but struggled make the best of the advantage with shots from distance lacking accuracy, a weakness which would come back to haunt them in the second half.
Although pressed into their own half for much of the opening 45 mins, with even goal kicks from the usually artillery like boot of keeper Smith not reaching the halfway line, the guile and instinctive partnership of McAllister and McIntosh still caused Ayr problems.
Twice the flight of the ball confused the usually solid United defence allowing McAllister to find space and shoot. His first attempt in 26 mins saw Fleming in the Ayr goal pull of a fine save turning the ball wide and just two minutes later he blasted narrowly wide.
As the half drew to a close Ayr desperately tried to make use of the last remaining wind driven advantage but failed to any create clear cut chances as the Peterhead backline defended manfully.
The Blue Toon started the send half on the front foot. Inside two minutes Leighton McIntosh sent McAllister clear on the left but the striker’s effort was weak and Fleming saved easily.
Jim McInally’s men were trying to take full advantage of the wind and were hitting shot after shot from long range. Nathan Blockely was next to try his luck as he let fly from 40 yards, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Smelling blood, Peterhead replaced McIntosh with Riley after 61 minutes and on 62 minutes, took the lead. Paddy Boyle’s clearance made little distance and was picked up by Dzierzawski who moved the ball left and into space before lashing the ball past Greg Fleming from 25 yards. A terrific strike from the midfielder and a deserved second half goal for Peterhead.
Ayr made changes up top, substituting Moore and Preston with Forrest and Caldwell as they tried to get back into the game. Forrest was soon in action, receiving a through-ball from Trouten then darting towards the by-line. He then tried to beat Smith from a tight angle but the keeper got down to save well.
United then had a glorious opportunity to draw level. Adams knocked a Gilmour free kick into a dangerous area in the six-yard box but Caldwell sent his shot over the bar over the bar from close in.
Peterhead made Ayr pay two minutes later and with 80 mins on the clock they doubled their lead. With Ayr on the attack Peter Murphy was put under instant pressure then mugged by Ferry and Stevenson with Ferry instantly lifting the ball far up field. The ball hit off the back of McAllister and Ayr’s central defensive partnership of Graham and McLauchlan seemed odds on to clear but the usually assured McLauchlan slipped allowing McAllister to regain the ball. McAllister casually slipped the ball into the centre and the onrushing and un-marked Sutherland who said his ‘thank-yous’ by stroking the ball into the net.
With 10 minutes left United looked dead and buried but the final nail in the coffin, when it came in 85 minutes, was from the most bizarre of circumstances.
Ayr’s Alan Trouten appeared to get entangled with Riley near the halfway line but the Peterhead substitute still managed to play the ball to McAllister who expertly steadied himself before perfectly flighting the ball into the top corner from some 25 yards out. Although referee Alan Newlands had appeared to play on after the Trouten/Riley incident he inexplicably blew his whistle just before McAllister’s shot crossed a line and awarded the free kick to the ‘Blue Toon’.
The Peterhead players were rightfully bemused and angry although manager Jim McInally later confirmed that the referee had apologised for making this mistake. But Peterhead’s injustice was set right only seconds later.
From the resultant freekick Jamie Stevenson floated a wonderful ball from left to right where Sutherland was on hand to head home from the tightest of angles, giving him his second goal of the game.
The game drew to a quiet close as Peterhead romped to a 3-0 victory. A disappointing day for Ayr who will be looking to bounce back next weekend at home to Brechin City.
Ayr United: Fleming (GK), Devlin, Boyle, Murphy, McLauchlan, Graham, Gilmour, Adams, Preston, Trouten, Moore Substitutes; Newman (GK), Forrest, Muir, Crawford, Caldwell, McCracken, Donald
Peterhead: Smith (GK), Blockley, Noble, Ross, Strachan, Dzierzawski, Ferry, Redman, McAllister, Brown, McIntosh Substitutes: Jarvie, Sutherland, Stevenson, Rogers, Ferries, Riley, Adams
Referee: Alan Newlands