Ayr United 18s 3 Kilmarnock 18s 2 (HT 1-1)
Scorers : Aaron Miller 2, Fraser Bryden
The Honest Men welcomed their near neighbours and derby rivals Kilmarnock to the excellent Cumnock Juniors Community Astro Facility on Friday evening. Near perfect conditions for November as the game kicked off. Ayr were keen to establish their authority in the early stages and started the game well. However, in four minutes the home side found themselves a goal behind. A long cross field diagonal ball found Killie’s No 11 who promptly worked his way to the bye line checking back to fire his shot low insider the near posts. However, Ayr didn’t allow the early goal to knock them off their stride and in fact produced some good football in response. A free kick in a good area sailed over the crossbar and a corner kick fired too long. It wasn’t long before Ayr found an equaliser which came from another corner kick. With 17 minutes gone the ball was fired into the Killie 6 yard area which saw their goalkeeper only able to parry the ball. Ayr’s midfielder Aaron Miller was first to react and smashed the ball into the net via a defender. All square and all to play for. This was not a game for the faint hearted as both teams fought for control of the ball. On the thirtieth minute mark Ayr thought they had taken the lead with a well worked goal. A good move down their left side saw James Dolan back heel the ball to overlapping full back Jonny Hogg who made for the bye line and cut the ball back. Ayr striker Fraser Bryden fairly smashed the ball home from 6 yards out only to see the far side linesman’s flag raised. Presumably given for offside but difficult to work out how as the ball was cut back and a defender on the ground near the bye line. However, ‘No Goal’ it was and the game continued to see – saw from end to end. With half time approaching the away side were somewhat in the ascendancy with their movement and mobility in midfield causing Ayr some problems.
Half Time: Ayr United 1 Kilmarnock 1
The second half started with both sides showing attacking intent. James Dolan on Ayr’s left hand side was showing well with several runs deep into the Kilmarnock half. Ayr continued to probe and in the 60th minute took the lead. An excellent run by full back Alex Jeanes saw a terrific cross catch out the Killie central defenders. As the ball arrived near the penalty spot Ayr striker Fraser Bryden rose to head powerfully home. Both sides forced corner kicks which were well defended in both boxes. Ayr then lost their main striker Bryden through injury. He was replaced with winger Josh Robinson which saw Dario Viviani take over the main striker’s role. With 15 minutes left on the clock the away side levelled the game. A quick transition in midfield saw a runner burst into the box and fire his shot past Ayr keeper Sandberg.
What happened next will be long remembered by all who attended the game although possibly for different reasons! As Ayr re-started the game the ball was played back to Aaron Miller from the centre. Miller sized the situation up quickly as he audaciously fired the ball ‘Kemar Roofe’ like some 55 yards out and over the keeper’s outstretched hands and into the net. A quite superbly executed goal which very aptly turned out to be the winner for the Honest Men. The remaining minutes were played out like a cup tie as Killie pushed for an equaliser but Ayr stood resilient and strong right to the end to get a deserved win
Full Time : Ayr United 3 Kilmarnock 2
Ayr Head Coach John Crawford praised the team for a very solid performance on the night. Crawford also reserved praise for the excellent work carried out on the training ground by Coach Craig Dargo and also that by Goal Keeper coach Stuart Galloway. Crawford added that it was important to put in a big performance against your rivals in the local derby and the team had done just that and deserved their win on the night.
Sandberg, Jeanes, Fraser, Mitchell, Hogg, Connolly, Miller, Heaney (C), Viviani, Bryden, Dolan.
Subs : O’Kane, Robinson, Craig, Milligan, McKay.