Ayr made a bright start to their game against Inverness despite the torrential rain and after a couple of minutes a Kieran Balfour through ball sent Jamie Martin clear and he calmly chipped the on rushing keeper to give Ayr the lead. Ayr had total control of the midfield and several good passing moves and through balls led to a series of corners. The variety of the corners was excellent however Ayr unfortunately weren’t able to create any clear cut scoring opportunities from these.
Dylan Robb then fed Jamie Martin, whose angled shot beat the keeper but unluckily struck the post and was cleared. Jamie Martin’s next chance came via a pass from Kieran Balfour but after Jamie had beaten the last defender the keeper came out and bravely dived at his feet. Jamie then turned provider as his cross from the left was met by the on rushing Jackson Sivewright, whose shot was blocked by the defender with the keeper stranded.
Ayr continued to control the middle of the park with Callum Ogston (pictured) and Kieran Balfour in central midfield winning all the loose balls and supplying Robbie Graham and Jackson Sivewright in the wide areas. The only surprise was that Ayr hadn’t added to their goal tally. Inverness got back into the game against the run of play when a pass back put the Ayr keeper under pressure and the Inverness striker got the better of the one on one and tapped the ball into the empty net.
The second period saw several changes by Ayr and one of them, Ryan Spiers almost had an immediate impact when a through ball sent him clear of the defence but the keeper did well to halt Ryan’s run before he could shoot. Minutes later an identical move left Ryan one on one with the keeper and this time he made no mistake as hit a great shot into the top corner. Ayr continued to create chance after chance and Kieran Balfour’s chip from a tight angle after a driving run and neat one two was expertly saved by the Inverness keeper. Shortly afterwards Will Graham, who was causing Inverness lots of trouble down the right set up Nathan Baird on the right side of the box and his excellent cross was expertly volleyed into the net by Graeme Swailes.
It was all Ayr at this stage with Callum & Kieran pulling the strings in midfield. A cross by Will was controlled by Kieran and his smart turn and shot tested the keeper. A short free kick by Lyall Cameron at the halfway line allowed Callum to drive towards the Inverness box and his goal bound shot needed a late block by the defender to deflect it for a corner. The final chance of the period resulted from a great through ball from the right back area which was latched on to by Jackson but although he nipped in front of the keeper his shot from the angle went agonisingly wide. It was harsh on Jackson whose great work rate up front had deserved at goal.
The back four had very little to do but the central partnership of Lyall and Fraser Paterson coasted through the game and dealt comfortably with any Inverness attacks. Inverness had only one strike on goal when a cleared corner was fired back in from 25 yards however Ayr keeper Greg Connor did very well to palm the ball onto the crossbar.
Ayr started the third period with lots of confidence but an intercepted throw out followed by several unsuccessful attempts to clear the ball resulted in the Inverness player being presented with an easy goal from inside Ayr’s six yard box. Ayr responded when a
chipped through ball was expertly won and passed on by Kieran and Will cursed his luck when his volley from outside the box struck the post and bounced to safety. A short corner between Will and Dylan resulted in a great cross from Will that was well met by Lyall but his header looped over the bar with the keeper beaten. At this stage Ayr still looked comfortable and were looking to add to their lead. However a tight pass out from the Ayr keeper put Lyall under pressure from two Inverness players and his resulting foul led to a free kick in a dangerous area. The free kick was well struck towards the top corner however the Ayr keeper got two hands to it but it agonisingly squirmed out of his grip. This led to a nervous final five minutes and a long ball from Inverness sent their striker free through the middle however his shot was well saved by Taylor Davidson. Ayr finished the strongest and forced a series of corners. From the last, Will sent over a great cross that was met by the head of Leon Murphy. It beat the keeper but unfortunately didn’t beat the defender on the line.
The game ended and Ayr were unlucky not to get the win their play deserved as for long periods of the game they dominated and their good movement and quick passing created numerous chances. They will rue their missed chances and the errors at the back which continue to be harshly punished. However a lot of positives will be taken from the game and they look forward to a trip to Lesser Hampden next week.