Wednesday 17th May Hamilton v Ayr United
Squad go through warm up drills before the match
The Honest Men completed their Elite Programme away to title contenders Hamilton at the Super Seal Stadium, Douglas Park.
Another difficult away fixture against a very good side awaited Ayr but again the Honest Men produced another dogged performance following their Match at Aberdeen on Sunday. T
he early stages were a reflection of the previous away game with the home side enjoying good possession of the ball.
The Hamilton front three were proving to be a real handful as well as the penetrating deep runs from their very mobile left back. The home side forced a succession of corner kicks which Ayr in the main defended well although there were also a couple of near things.
Again similarly to Sunday it was Ayr who could have taken the lead in 15 minutes when striker McKenzie found a pocket of space in the box and although his left foot shot beat the keeper it was cleared off the line by a defender.
Ayr were lively on the counter with George, Connolly and McKenzie posing a threat to the home side.
However Hamilton took the lead in 23 minutes when good work on the right saw a cross forced in from close range. Ayr again kept a good shape and continued to threaten on the break.
Then ten minutes from the interval Ayr levelled the score. Ryan Connolly pressurised the Hamilton centre backs and as the ball broke to the Ayr winger he produced a composed finish by rounding the keeper and coolly passing the ball into the net.
There was no further scoring and the teams went in level at the interval.
Into the second half and Hamilton upped their intensity and finally edged ahead on the hour mark. A surging run by their No 5 saw a quick exchange at the edge of Ayr’s penalty box and as Brotherston advanced the striker dinked the ball over the Ayr keeper and into the net.
Ayr continued to work hard and were growing in confidence when Hamilton were awarded a third goal in ‘controversial circumstances’. A flighted ball to the back post appeared to cross the Ayr byeline by at least a foot but the stand side assistant insisted the whole of the ball wasn’t over the line. Quite how he could make this call when his positioning was level with Ayr’s 18 yard line is hard to work out!
However, the Ayr side continued to make a good fight of this game and scored a fine injury time goal.
Great work from Toni Sisi and good positioning by Ross George allowed Ayr striker Josh Dillon enough space to blast the ball high into the net from 12 yards for a terrific finish.
Final Score Hamilton 3 Ayr United 2.
Head Coach John Crawford was again pleased with his team’s overall performance and credited the players for their application with a very good team shape.
The coach felt as the game developed in the second half the team grew in confidence and showed more composure when in possession of the ball. Crawford also paid tribute to the players and coaches Craig Dargo, Stuart Galloway, Stevie McLean and Ossie Findlay for their professionalism and commitment throughout the season.
Ayr United : Brotherston, Millarvie, Brown, Love, Ecrepont, Barker, Griffiths, Mitchell, Connolly, McKenzie, George.
Subs : Dillon, Bryce, Oliphant, Sisi & Skeoch.