Ayr remain second in League One after grinding out a draw against a determined Stranraer side.

The Blues took the lead after seven minutes but Ayr fought back, scoring before half time and looking dangerous throughout.

However, Stranraer proved to be tough opposition and were close to snatching all three points before the final whistle through a rasping Ryan Borris drive.

United fielded the team that defeated Forfar 2-0 last week with McGowan and Hunter returning to the starting line-up following Tuesday’s defeat to Falkirk.

400 Ayr supporters travelled to the game and were confident of victory but they were shocked after eight minutes when their side fell behind.

Sean Winter picked the ball up on the right flank before darting beyond Gordon Pope and squaring to Jamie Longworth who was able to prod home.

Basement side, Stranraer were well motivated for the game and posed Ayr with a number of problems in the opening half hour.

Ayr’s best chance came when a clever pass from Pope allowed Donald to release a curling shot which flew over the crossbar.

Despite Stranraer dominating the first half an hour of the match, Untied drew level after 37 minutes.

Mikey McGowan picked the ball up on the right flank before shooting at the edge of the area, seeing his pinpoint shot fly round the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

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The goal was his first since returning from injury and was the catalyst for United who were unfortunate not to lead at the half time break.

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Gordon Pope found space in the box before unleashing a wicked overhead kick which saw the ball fly just over the crossbar.

Michael Moffat also went close to giving Ayr the lead but he saw his corking drive parried by goalkeeper, Mitchell.

The second half proved to be a less lively affair than the first with United going close twice through Pope and Adam Hunter who had a shot smack the side netting.

Throughout the match, Lithgow and Campbell were stand outs for United, making life extremely difficult for the home side.

Ayr tried to freshen their team up as the game moved to a close with Roberts, Crawford and Forrest coming onto the field of play.

The manager, Mark Roberts saw a header flash by the post but as the game edged to a close, it was Ayr who were hanging on desperately.

In one of the final moves of the game, former United winger, Ryan Borris dashed down the flank before driving into the box and with the home fans on their feet, he slammed the ball over the crossbar.

After the match, Mark Roberts said: “I was disappointed we didn’t keep up our winning run but I was pleased we recovered from a poor opening 35 mins.

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“I told the guys before the game they were in for a real battle and at half time I let them know their performance in the first half an hour wasn’t good enough.

“After our goal we piled on the pressure and were unlucky not go in winning at half time.

“In the second half we played most of the game in their half but they looked dangerous on the break.

“To come away with a point is pleasing in some respects but overall I’m disappointed as I want to win every game.

“I’m not sure why we lacked that spark in the first half an hour, maybe it’s because of our game on Tuesday but we can’t use that as an excuse as Stranraer played midweek as well.

“I thought Stranraer were one of the better teams we’ve played against so far this season. There is a fine line in this league between bottom and second top.”

After scoring his first goal of the season,wing king Mikey McGowan said: “I see it as two points lost because we didn’t play well until the equaliser but to come back from a poor start and get a point is pleasing.

“I was happy to score for the first time since returning from my injury but I am still disappointed because we drew and it feels like a defeat.

“We can’t expect to just turn up on a Saturday and win so next week we’ll be looking to fly out of the traps like we have done in previous games this season.

Stranraer : Mitchell, Rumsby, Robertson, McKeown, MacGregor, Winter, Gallagher, Stirling (Forde 86), Borris, Grehan (Corcoran 78), Longworth (McKenna 70). Subs Not Used: Fahey, Docherty, Maxwell, Lloyd Kinnaird.

Booked : Grehan,Winter.

Goals : Longworth 8.

Ayr : Hutton, Hunter, Martyn Campbell, Lithgow, Pope, McGowan (Roberts 79), McLaughlin, Marenghi (Robert Crawford 75), Donald, Moffat, Malcolm (Forrest 79). Subs Not Used: McArthur, Shankland, Wyllie, William Muir.

Booked : Lithgow, Donald, McGowan, Pope, McLaughlin.

Goals : McGowan 37.

Att : 845

Ref : Des Roache

By Michael Lamont

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