Ayr were keen to get back
Following a two week break Ayr were keen to get back on the pitch to build on their last performance, a 2-1 win against Dundee.
Centre Back Hamish Brown replaced the suspended Blair Richardson and with winger Joy Goma passing a late fitness test the Ayr side had a settled look.
The opening 45 minutes saw the home side completely dominant in terms of both possession and chances created and quite how they were level at the interval was hard to fathom.
Ayr’s high press was to pay dividends within 8 minutes when they took an early lead.
Seconds earlier the away side had received a warning when good pressing by Joy Goma saw Ayr striker Nathan McSkeane’s hit an effort past the far post before another attempt came back off the near post.
However, this time Ayr moved the ball with quick passing movements involving McGinty, Barker and McSkeane which resulted in Ayr midfielder Andrew Heaney finishing just inside the far post.
Ayr deservedly in front and very much on the front foot proceeded to take the game to their opponents.
A good run from Owen McGinty saw the winger go past two opponents before firing past the post. Joy Goma then fashioned some space for himself but saw his effort beaten away by the Buddies’ keeper.
Next up to go close was Ayr’s centre back Ross Love who from yet another superb delivery from an Owen McGinty corner was unlucky to see his effort fly over the top.
Then good link up play between Heaney and McSkeane saw Owen McGinty’s left foot shot shot rise just too high at the last moment.
The away side had their first sight of goal in forty minutes when a long diagonal ball deflected kindly off a defender but Ayr’s keeper Danny Graham competently saved the forthcoming shot.
As half time beckoned disaster struck the home side. St Mirren having been awarded a free kick some thirty five yards out saw the diagonal ball flighted high into Ayr’s penalty box.
Ayr keeper Graham read the script well and came out to clutch the cross ball. As Graham caught the ball above his head the St Mirren striker collided with the Ayr keeper causing the ball to drop.
Time seemed to stand still with both sets of players waiting for the referee’s whistle which quite incredibly failed to materialise.
Sensing an opportunity the away side’s front man tapped the ball over the line with the goal awarded despite the Ayr players’ loud protestations.
It is hard to believe in this day and age a goalkeeper can be ‘wiped out’ by an opponent, require 5 minutes treatment and a goal is still awarded.
Half Time : Ayr United 1 St Mirren 1
Ayr began the second half with a simmering feeling of injustice and once again dominated the ball. Within a minute Joy Goma went on one of his trademark runs powering past two opponents and cutting a great ball back across goal.
With the away keeper taken out of the game all that was required was a simple finish.
However, disappointingly no Ayr player followed in and the chance was gone. Owen McGinty was next to go close after another good run and shot.
Then on the hour mark Ayr restored their lead when Joy Goma did superbly well to curl a cross to the back post where Owen McGinty reacted well to power a header home at the back post.
No more than the home side deserved both on chances created and possession of the ball. Ayr replaced striker Nathan McSkeane with Kaylum Ferguson to give fresh legs up top.
The only nagging doubt in this game was the number of decent goal scoring opportunities created by the home side but not taken.
Ayr were then presented with the chance to extend their lead when Owen McGinty was released inside the box with a clear sight of goal but unfortunately pulled his shot just side of the far post.
As often happens the other team just needs something to break for them and this is exactly what happened.
A quick throw in on Ayr’s right side saw centre back Brown caught on his heels. As Brown chased the Saints winger into Ayr’s box Brown opted to go to ground.
Although there appeared to be little or no contact the St Mirren attacker went down with the referee claiming an arm had been used by the Ayr defender.
The penalty kick was duly awarded, converted and the scores were now level. Ayr then replaced midfielder Joe Barker with Paul Smith in an effort to win the three points.
As the game reached the final quarter Ayr carelessly gave away. a needless corner kick.
The home side who had been really solid for an hour of the game and had defended set plays well came undone when it mattered most.
As the ball was flighted into the Ayr box the Saints’ striker was afforded too much space by his marker and he greatly accepted the opportunity to rifle the ball home.
Ayr quickly took off full back Aidan Moffat replacing him with wide man Logan Angus and altering the shape to a 3-3-4 set up.
Then a further moment of controversy with Ayr winger Joy Goma going down in his own box clutching his face. Goma needed several minutes of treatment before resuming.
Ayr continued to press hard with several efforts being either scrambled away or blocked at the last moment.
As the game entered time added on Ayr fashioned one last chance from a corner kick when Goma headed towards goal only to see the St Mirren keeper be equal to his effort.
Full Time : Ayr United 2 St Mirren 3.
Ayr Head coach John Crawford said, “This was a game we should have won comfortably. The team created numerous chances which is a positive but we simply must be more clinical in front of goal. Having said that we would not expect to concede two very sloppy goals late in the game. There are times when defenders need to defend properly and we failed to do that on this occasion.”
Ayr United :
Graham, Moffat, Brown, Love, Bilham, Griffiths, Heaney, Barker, McGinty, McSkeane, Goma.
Subs : Smith, Angus, Ferguson, Laurie, McFadyen, Burns.