AUFA 17’s vs Partick Thistle

Partick Thistle 17s v Ayr United 17s

This afternoon saw the Honest Men travel the short distance up the A77 to Pollok Country Park and their first away fixture against local rivals Partick Thistle.
Following last week’s narrow defeat to Dundee United the Ayr players were determined to put in a big performance and that is exactly what they delivered on the day.
From the first whistle Ayr we’re on the front foot by contesting every ball. Ayr were passing the ball well, getting good width to their attacks and creating half chances in the early stages. In fact, in only four minutes Ayr took the lead through Gabe Skeoch who pressed the Partick centre back into rushing his pass back towards his goalkeeper only to see the Ayr Number 9 round the keeper and pass the ball into the net.

12 Gabe Skeoch

12 Gabe Skeoch

Ayr were continuing to press their opponents well with good movement from striker Skeoch well supported by Robbie Laurie and Robert Frew in the wider areas. The away side were completely dominant and in the 11th minute Laurie cut inside on his left foot but his shot just lacked enough power to beat the keeper. Ayr went closer in 18 minutes when Robert Frew cut inside and unleashed a terrific shot which the Partick keeper finger-tipped onto the post and the ball crashed back unluckily off the upright. Ayr continued to make inroads and in 20 minutes full back David Oliphant got forward well but his shot was comfortably held by the keeper.
As the away team tightened their grip on this game even further the chances continued to come their way. On 26 minutes Ayr’s Number 10 Joe Barker was unlucky to see his shot go narrowly past the keeper’s right hand post. On 32 minutes Ayr hit woodwork for the second time when Gabe Skeoch’s well struck corner crashed back off the nearside upright with the Partick keeper well beaten. The home side were riding their luck and on 40 minutes Ayr again hit woodwork this time through a fine half volley from Finn Ecrepont which beat the keeper all ends up but  crashed off the cross bar. The home side eventually had a half chance from a corner kick when an Ayr defender was blocked in the box but the ball was cleared to safety. The referee then brought the first half to a close with Ayr only holding a single goal lead for all their efforts.

Half Time : Partick Thistle 0 Ayr United 1.

The second half was certainly a different affair as Partick made three personnel changes at the interval and playing two big strikers through the middle. Their style of play was also altered with them reverting mainly from back to front in an effort to unsettle the Ayr side.
The away side however showed their determination and desire throughout and dug in resolutely. The back four of Nohar, Brown, Love and Oliphant stood up to everything that was thrown at them with great screening by Griffiths and Ecrepont the holding midfielders.
Keeper Danny Graham organised well behind his defenders although in fact had little to do in terms of actual saves. Ayr made a number of changes in the second period replacing Robbie Laurie on the right with Kaylum Ferguson, striker Gabe Skeoch with Danny Mitchell, Joe Barker with Callum Bryce and Robert Frew with Paul Smith.
The changes were in the main made due to injuries but all the players who came on also played their part. None more so than Danny Mitchell who used his presence up top to very good effect. Although the second half mainly saw Ayr largely engaged in defending the away side were always dangerous on the counter attack. Before being replaced in the 72nd minute Joe Barker was unlucky not to score when he got on the end of a David Oliphant free kick at the back post but his effort was cleared off the line.
However, Ayr had by this time weathered the storm and and again started to created one or two opportunities.
As the game moved into the final five minutes the Partick goalkeeper took a petulant kick at Ayr striker Danny Mitchell.

16 Daniel Mitchell

16 Daniel Mitchell

As the kick was inside the box the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and yellow carded the Partick custodian. The keeper was somewhat fortunate to be able to take his place in goals for the resultant spot kick as a red card could well have been the outcome. However, Danny Mitchell dusted himself down and took the responsibility of firing home the penalty kick with aplomb! Ayr successfully saw out the final few minutes by keeping the ball in the corner flag area of their opponents. The referee then brought the game to a close with the Ayr players delighted to get their first three points of the season on the board.

Full Time : Partick Thistle 0 Ayr United 2.

Head Coach John Crawford was understandably very pleased for his players and also his coaching team of Craig Dargo, Stevie McLean and Stuart Galloway who work tirelessly on the training ground. Crawford praised his team for without doubt their best performance in the last two seasons. The manager was delighted with the team’s shape throughout the 90 minutes both going forward in the first half and defensively for the majority of the second half. However, Crawford felt strongly that the attitude and desire of his team above all shone through in a very well deserved win. ‘A first away win of the season produced three points, two goals and a clean sheet.’ That says it all’ said the coach.

Ayr United : Graham, Nohar, Brown, Love, Oliphant, Griffiths, Ecrepont, Laurie, Barker, Frew, Skeoch.
Subs : Ferguson, Mitchell, Bryce, Hannah, Wamuziri, Smith, McKinnon, Angus.  

The Ayr side’s following fixture is next Sunday 3rd September v Hibernian at Belmont Academy 11.00am kick off.

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