Following last week’s excellent result v Ross County the home side were looking to build on that positive start to their league campaign. Ayr certainly started on the front foot and within 7 minutes striker Sam McKee beat his marker and fairly stung the Fife keeper’s hands with a rasping shot. Next to have an effort was Kaylum Ferguson who again brought a competent save from the away keeper. Ayr custodian Laughlan Kirkland had to look lively when he was quick off his line to block a shot from the Fife No 9. However, Ayr were back on the attack and midfielder Andrew Heaney had an effort just over from the edge of the box. Alex Dean was next to go close from a Paul Smith corner when he shot just over. Fife were well organised with a decent shape and as always, a ‘stuffy side’ to play against. The Fife keeper fielded a number of long kicks which quickly turned defence into attack and Ayr had to be on their toes not to be caught out. Within a couple of minutes good runs from Ayr’s full back Finn Ecrepont produced two superb crosses across the Fife 6 yard box but unfortunately no takers at the back post. Then perhaps the chance of the game to this point fell to Ayr forward Kaylum Ferguson who got a great connection on the cross but unfortunately blasted just over. Just as half time beckoned with Ayr wondering why they were not at least a couple of goals to the good, a goal for the away side came out of nowhere. A poor pass back pass put Ayr defender Kinlay Bilham under pressure and as he cleared his lines the ball was returned by a Fife midfielder. The ball incredibly richoched off another Fife player and landed at the feet of their No 9 who had an easy task to side food the ball home.
Half Time : Ayr United 0 Fife Elite 1
The second half began the way the first half ended with Ayr on the attack. Almost immediately Ayr went close at the back post when first a Kaylum Ferguson shot was blocked and the follow up from Andrew Heaney receiving the same outcome. Good defending by the home team certainly and well supported by an excellent goalkeeper. Ayr were really cranking up the pressure with the influential Paul Smith pulling the strings for the home side. In fact Smith played a good through ball for striker Sam McKee who had pulled wife of his marker only to see his shot beat the keeper but just past the back post. McKee was also carrying a threat for the home side with his good movement and clever runs off the ball. Ayr replaced front man Kaylum Ferguson with Aaron Miller who linked up well on the left with Finn Ecrepont. Ayr’s Alex Dean then went close with another effort but still the goal just wouldn’t come. Ayr then replaced Alex Dean with Logan Angus to try and give the away side a different problem. Still the pressure continued and Andrew Heaney saw a left foot shot tipped over by the Fife keeper. Then a second incredible double block in the Fife penalty area. Firstly, Aaron Miller met a cross from the right on the full volley which was blocked at point of contact by a defender’s leg and the follow up from Heaney likewise. Finn Ecrepont went close with a header from a corner before Sam McKee was unlucky with a deft touch from a fine Paul Smith run along the Fife goal line. Then with 9 minutes left Ayr finally levelled the score. Yet another cross into the box saw the keeper get hands to the ball but as it broke Aaron Miller netted from 8 yards out. No more than the home side deserved!! Ayr then lost Logan Angus to injury following a tackle and Ryan Hannah came on wide right for the closing minutes.
Full Time : Ayr United 18s 1 – 1 Fife Elite 18s.
Ayr Head Coach John Crawford was pragmatic with his post match assessment. Crawford said, ‘Last week we made a number of good chances and took the majority of them’ however, today we had eight or nine good opportunities to score and only took one.’ Crawford added that the Fife keeper had three top class stops and some resolute defending by the away team had also made the job more difficult on the day. Crawford added, ‘Apart from a twenty minute spell before half time this was overall a decent performance with some good positives to take from the match.’
Ayr United : Kirkland, Nohar, Jeanes, Bilham, Ecrepont, Smith, McFadyen, Dean, Heaney, Ferguson, McKee.
Subs : Hannah, Angus, Fraser, Miller.