Academy 11s V Hamilton Accies 11s
Another home fixture for the Academy 11s brought about another good crowd and the good weather continued. Saturday’s visitors to Belmont Academy were Hamilton Academicals who proved a stiff test. Jason’s team got off to a good start keeping the ball well against what was clearly a very good Hamilton side. After an Ayr attacking move broke down Hamilton hit on the counter to take the lead. Ayr let the heads go down and combined with being soft in possession led to Ayr losing some soft goals before half-time. The performance level improved significantly in the second half as substitute Declan McPhillips (pictured) began to cause the Hamilton defence some problems with his power and hold-up play. Ayr got the breakthrough in second half after great pressure from Declan saw him block a clearance from the Hamilton goalkeeper after a short back-pass. He then kept his cool and found the bottom corner with a great finish. This gave Ayr some enthusiasm and they picked their tempo up playing some good football. Another good finish from Declan and a Paul Farren effort that was cleared off the line meant Ayr finished the game strong after a poor first half.
Ayr started the second game with confidence playing some good football. After Hamilton scored against the run of play, Ayr opened their account with a close finish from Lewis Dean. A close game was developing between two evenly matched teams but it was Hamilton that went in ahead at the break. Ayr came out with a good tempo after the break and after being fouled near the Hamilton goal, Declan McPhillips stepped up to curl the free-kick into the top corner for his third goal of the day. Ultimately, Ayr tired towards the end of the game and conceded a few goals on the counter but a late Paul Farren strike allowed Ayr to finish on a high.
Kevin’s first game started well with Ayr putting pressure on the Hamilton defence and this led to Ayr opening the scoring from a Ryan Baxter finish inside the box. A good finish from David Blythe put Ayr further ahead before Hamilton rallied to tie the game at half-time. Ayr started the second half well dominating the midfield, keeping possession well and a well taken Paul Smith goal was the reward for their efforts. However, a Hamilton goal against the run of play levelled the game and left it on a knife edge. Ayr started piling on the pressure towards the end of the game and an outrageous strike from Finn Ecrepont from just inside his own half hit the bar as Hamilton began to buckle under the waves of Ayr attacks. The pressure finally told with another Paul Smith strike that was enough to seal the game and a well deserved victory.
The second game started poorly for Ayr who failed to take the momentum from the first game and conceded some soft goals with Hamilton being allowed to dominate possession. However, a Ryan Baxter finish late in the half gave Ayr some confidence going into the second half. The second half started much better from Ayr as they matched Hamilton for most of the half. After a foul from Hamilton on the edge of the box Kaylem Ferguson struck a great free kick onto the bar with their keeper stranded and David Blythe was quickest to react to poke the ball home for his second of the day.
Overall there were some encouraging performances from both teams against what was a strong Hamilton side. The coaches are pleased with how the boys are coming together as a team and the style of football they are playing considering they are 18 months behind most of the teams at this level.