Academy 14s v Hibs 14s
Ayr 14s welcomed Hibs to Prestwick Academy and delivered their best performance of the season. Each player put in an excellent performance and there were sixteen men of the match. The award of a soft penalty against them was the only thing that prevented Ayr registering a well-deserved victory.
Ayr started the game at a high tempo with Kieran Balfour & Will Graham winning the battle in midfield. Ayr were winning tackles all over the park and retaining good possession. Their passing was sharp and they moved the ball well up each wing. Lyall Cameron (pictured) was expertly organising the defence and played well throughout along with his defensive partner Fraser Patterson. Jamie Martin was giving his usual excellent performance up front on his own and it was no surprised when he opened the scoring. After closing down the centre back, he robbed him and drove into the penalty area and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Soon afterwards a great cross from the left was missed by everyone except for Jamie at the back post but unfortunately he bulleted a header against the post and Hibs cleared their lines. In between these chances Ayr’s keeper Greg Connor bravely saved at the striker’s feet after he was played in. If that save was good the next was exceptional as he narrowed the angle and tipped a well hit volley over the bar. The first period finished with Ayr well pleased with their display.
Ayr switched to a 3-5-2 formation in the second period with Callum Ogston joining Kieran Balfour & Will Graham in central midfield and Stuart Gray and Dylan Robb pushing into the wide areas. They continued to dominate the possession however they suffered a blow when Kieran Balfour was carried off injured after making one of his trade mark tackles. He was replaced by Nathan Baird who had earlier played well at full back. Not long after this Ayr scored a second when Jamie Martin controlled a pass just outside the box and rolled it back to Callum Ogston whose first time shot was expertly curled into the bottom corner giving the keeper no chance. Ayr were looking comfortable at this stage and looked favourites to add to their lead but against the run of play a cross from the left evaded the Ayr defence and the striker coolly struck the ball into the roof of the net. Hibs grew in confidence but couldn’t believe their luck when the referee awarded them a penalty after an innocuous challenge. The penalty was scored just before the end of the second period.
Ayr made changes at the start of the third period and attempted to get over the disappointment of losing the penalty. The game was very even and a good run and chip by Jamie Martin was followed by a great fingertip save by Greg Connor. A driving run by Nathan Baird looked likely to result in the third goal for Ayr however a great tackle by the centre back saved Hibs. Hibs had the next chance when it needed a full length save by Taylor Davidson to turn a shot around the post. Due to the high tempo both teams began to tire however credit to Ayr for battling to the end with all players making tackle after tackle.
Head coach Jack Martin was delighted by the performance and commented that every player contributed today with several putting in their best performance of the season. Picking only one man of the match was impossible. He was particularly pleased with the tempo Ayr played the game at and the way they moved the ball from back to front. He
was also pleased at the number of tackles won and their determination to do well today. Now that the team has set this standard they need to build on it when they visit Hamilton next week.