Ayr were keen to get back into action following the postponement from the previous week’s game away to St Johnstone. Having won their last home game a fortnight ago 2-0 v Queens Park Ayr were unchanged for this match. The home side started well and put the visitors on the back foot straight away. Ayr were moving the ball well in midfield with the influential
Paul Smith causing problems for the away side. Striker Sam McKee was also prominent in the early stages of the game with his willingness to run the channels and in behind. In 12 minutes Ayr took the lead with as good a goal as you are likely to see all season. It was indeed striker Sam McKee taking on defenders that created the opening for Paul Smith to latch onto a second ball some twenty five yards out. Smith fairly rifled the ball into the net via the junction of crossbar and left hand post. A terrific strike from the midfielder and an important goal in the eventual context of the game. Kaylum Ferguson then had a good run on the right cutting inside and releasing a shot which was saved by the keeper low to his left. Next up was Andrew Heaney whose shot from outside the box rose just too high to cause the away keeper any real difficulty. Then an opportunity for Ayr to extend their lead when again Paul Smith worked his way past two defenders but from the right side of the penalty area saw his shot narrowly miss the far post. A decent first 25 minutes from the home side but that was unfortunately as good as it was to get for Ayr. The away side began to cause Ayr problems with their quick passing and movement and opportunities started to come their way. In fact Ayr had keeper Laughlan Kirkland to thank when he made an excellent one on one save with his legs when left totally exposed. As the interval approached it was a case of whether Ayr could manage the game properly as the pressure mounted. However, as has happened too often this season Ayr conceded in time added on. This time a curling cross from the right saw Thistle’s number ten knock the ball home with comparative ease.
Half Time : Ayr United 1 Partick Thistle 1
If the closing twenty minutes proved difficult for Ayr then the following forty five minutes proved more of the same. Partick dominated possession and continually found space in midfield and the wider areas. A succession of corners were dealt well by the Ayr defenders as the pressure increased. Ayr replaced midfielders Kaylum Ferguson and Ryan Hannah with Logan Angus and Aaron Miller in an effort to try and stem the momentum from the away side. Ayr keeper Kirkland made a good fingertip save to a fierce shot which whistled just over the crossbar. Although little or no clear chances were created keeper Kirkland was kept busy with taking crosses and making a couple of decent saves from distance. Ayr then replace Brian Connor with Alex Dean to add some pace on the left side. However, the away side continued to press into the latter stages with Ayr defending for their lives. Thistle’s numbed 10 who had been a thorn in Ayr’s side all game should have done better when he found space in the box but his finish lacked any real quality and missed the far post. As the game entered injury time both teams came close to sealing the points. Firstly, Thistle’s number 10 took a tumble in the box and as everyone looked at the referee he fortunately took out his yellow card and booked the number 10 for simulation. With 5 minutes played in time added on Ayr had a real chance to win the game. As Thistle pushed out they were caught square as Sam McKee raced onto a through ball. However as McKee drove into the box his touch let him down and the chance was lost as a defender got back to clear the danger.
Full Time : Ayr United 1 Partick Thistle 1
Ayr Head Coach John Crawford was honest with his assessment of the game when he stated that following a decent first 25 minutes Ayr then dropped their tempo in the match allowing their opponents to gain the upper hand. He said, ‘The goal was coming before the interval and we were punished for not managing the time left properly. In the second half we failed to pass the ball well and a lack of composure in possession made for a very difficult second 45 minutes. On the night we got a point out of defending resolutely through to the end and credit should be given for that.’
Ayr United : Kirkland, Jeanes, McFadyen, Bilham, Nohar, Smith, Hannah, Ferguson, Heaney, Connor, McKee.
Subs : Miller, Dean, Kasule, Angus & Trialist.