Ayr United looking to deliver a positive performance
Following the previous week’s disappointing result Ayr were looking to deliver a positive performance with a better outcome.
The home side made two changes to their line up restoring centre back Blair Richardson and giving striker Kaylum Ferguson a start.
Ayr looked to make a fast start however it was Fife who went close in 5 minutes when their number 9 headed off the post from a corner kick. Not the best defending from Ayr as the effort was from close in.
However the home side began to grow into the game and went on to dominate the majority of the first period.
Owen McGinty was most prominent with his incisive runs and going close on a couple of occasions. Joy Goma also was proving a handful on the left side with his strong running.
In 12 minutes Ayr took a deserved lead when Owen McGinty flighted an excellent free kick into the Fife box.
Centre back Blair Richardson took a defender away and Joy Goma running in behind headed in off the near post.
Owen McGinty then nearly found Joe Barker through on goal with the midfielder unlucky not to connect.
Then as in past weeks Ayr contrived to lose a goal when on top. Fife’s dangerous right winger again beat his marker and fired the ball across Ayr’s 6 yards box where it was dispatched with ease at the back post. Questions could be asked of the defending as again the cross was close in on goal.
Joy Goma nearly put his side back in front with a good run and shot which was well beaten away by the Fife keeper.
Half Time : Ayr United 1 Fife Elite 1
Ayr started the second half well and after a great cross field ball from Blair Richardson to Andrew Heaney his pass saw Joy Goma unluckily hit the side netting with a fierce shot.
As play evened out in terms of possession Fife began to exert themselves in the midfield area without looking too threatening.
Then in 58 minutes Fife struck to go in front and Ayr keeper Graham will feel he should have done much better.
A well struck shot appeared to be heading straight towards the keeper but seemed catch Graham in two minds and as a result the ball struck the keeper’s hands and straight to the Fife striker who knocked the ball home.
Ayr then replaced the tiring Joe Barker with Paul Smith.
Worse was to follow for the home side as centre back Blair Richardson slid into a tackle and as the Fife midfielder went to ground the referee like last week again pointed to the spot.
Ayr keeper Graham this time showed his mettle by diving to his left and pushing the spot kick away.
Seconds later Graham brought off a terrific finger tip save from a fierce deflected shot.
Ayr were just hanging on at this stage and replaced striker Kaylum Ferguson with Nathan McSkeane as well as full back Aidan Moffat with Logan Angus. However, the away side then went further ahead when yet another cross was fired into the Ayr box this time deflecting off Blair Richardson’s outstretched foot and giving keeper Graham no chance.
Almost immediately, another body blow to the home team when Blair Richardson went into a full blooded 50/50 tackle with a Fife midfielder but unfortunately the match official deemed excessive force had been used and Ayr were reduced to ten men.
Ayr initially kept their back four in place by moving Euan Griffiths to centre back but with 15 minutes left replaced midfielder Andrew Heaney and full back Kinlay Bilham with Robbie Laurie and Declan McFadyen. Ayr now playing with a back three of McFadyen, Griffiths and Love did carve out a couple of very good opportunities both through winger Owen McGinty who had moved to the left.
Firstly McGinty had a great run past several defenders pulling the ball back across goal from the bye line but like last week no takers yet again. With time running out McGinty fired in a good free kick which the Fife keeper saved and then an excellent chipped effort which just failed to count.
As the game entered time added on Ayr defender Declan McFadyen bravely put his head in to prevent a shot at goal and unfortunately received a bad face knock from the Fife player’s boot.
This sadly turned out to be a horrific injury for Ayr’s young defender who required a hospital visit and 35 stitches to repair the face wound.
Full Time : Ayr United1 Fife Elite 3
Head Coach John Crawford was clearly very disappointed with the result. The coach said, ‘We are currently conceding too many goals which makes it very difficult to win games. Tonight there were too many crosses coming into our box from the wide areas and our midfield shape in the second half was not up to our normal standard. We now have a very important game next Friday against Queen of the South in the Scottish Youth Cup and as a group we must show greater resilience and determination if we are to get the result we want.’ Crawford also added best wishes from all at Ayr United for young defender Declan McFadyen and a full and speedy recovery.
Ayr United : Graham, Moffat, Richardson, Love, Bilham, Griffiths, Heaney, Barker, McGinty, Ferguson, Goma.
Subs : Smith, Angus, McSkeane, Laurie, McFadyen, Brown, Burns.