St. Mirren 6 v 2 Ayr United
Ayr had most of the early possession and there was no indication of the horror show that was to follow. On 5 mins, everything changed. United failed to clear and Stevie Mallan drove a delicious drive from the edge of the box into the far corner giving St. Mirren the lead. Ayr may have had some reason to complain as Kyle Magennis appeared to have handled within the box before the ball reached Mallon but referee Gavin Duncan waved away complaints from Ayr captain Nicky Devlin and the goal stood.
On 20 mins, Mallon sent a long freekick into the box and, as Balatoni toppled in front of him, Gary MacKenzie headered home from 10 yards. This was a double blow for United as Balatoni was injured and needed to be replaced.
With Ayr reduced to 10 men and organising a substitution St. Mirren got their third. A 12-pass move finally reached Demetriou on the right and the wing-back dribbled into the box before powering the ball across the face of the goal where Cammy Smith’s shot was miraculously stopped on the line by Nicky Devlin before cruelly ending up Stephen McGinn who tapped in. A great way to mark his 100th appearance for the Buddies’ captain. 23 mins gone, 3 – 0 St. Mirren.
Worse was to come and with 10 mins of the half remaining, St. Mirren struck again. Alan Forrest was dispossessed in his own half by McGinn who touched the ball to Smith. Smith threaded the ball through to Magennis who rounded keeper Greg Fleming before firing home from the tightest of angles.
Just on half-time Robbie Crawford came close for the Honest Men but his drive from the edge of the box was turned around the post by keeper Billy O’Brien.
The second half saw St. Mirren come out hungry for more and on 52 mins they went five up when Lewis Morgan raced onto a ball played through the centre of the Ayr defence before slotting it home past Fleming.
On 74 mins Ayr came out of hibernation and pulled one back. Ryan McGuffie did well to force a corner for Ayr, and for once it was St. Mirren who failed to clear and Cairney pounced, rounding two players before slotting the ball home. 5 – 1.
12 mins later and Ayr had another. St. Mirren appealed for a freekick after Demetriou went down in a clash with Cairney but McGuffie played on, curling the ball to the back post where Farid El Alagui headered home.
Any hopes of a miraculous comeback were shattered just 60 seconds later as St. Mirren sealed the match with a goal from Smith. Josh Todd dribbled into the box before sending a cross to substitute John Sutton who headered against the post but Smith was in position to put the ball into the net.
St. Mirren now sit only one point below United with one game in hand and the Honest Men need to find something special in their locker to drag themselves back up the league.
O’Brien, Demetriou DemetriouDemetriou, Baird, MacKenzie, Eckersley, Mallan, McGinn, Magennis, Morgan, Smith, Loy Subs: Langfield, Gordon, Fjelde, Quinn, Webster, Todd, Sutton
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Crawford, Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty, Forrest, El Alagui Subs: Hart, Murphy, Moore, Harkins, Cairney, Wardrope, McGuffie
Referee: Gavin Duncan Attendance: 4,620