18’s Give positive response at Townhead Park, Cumnock
Following last week’s disappointing reversal away to Queens Park the Honest Men were determined to ‘bounce back’ and give a positive response at Townhead Park, Cumnock.
Conditions were almost perfect as the game kicked off and it was obvious from the start that both teams were going to go for the three points.
Ayr made three changes for this game bringing in Joe Barker, Kinlay Bilham and giving a first start to Owen McGinty up top. Dundee were proving dangerous on the break and following a corner kick, Ayr keeper Danny Graham made an excellent clutch from a dangerous cross.
However, Ayr were beginning to take some control of proceedings and Owen McGinty nearly produced the first goal with a well struck shot which the away keeper did well to keep out.
Ayr’s front three of McGinty, McSkeane and Goma were causing the Dundee defenders real problems and in fact McSkeane was unlucky after he dispossessed a defender but couldn’t quite make it count.
Owen McGinty was looking sharp and again tested the keeper with another decent effort on goal. Dundee were looking threatening at set pieces and a good ball in from a corner caused some concern for the Ayr defence who were relieved to see the ball fly over the crossbar.
However, the deadlock was broken in 18 minutes when the hardworking Andrew Heaney strode forward and let fly from 22 yards. His ‘cross-cum-shot’ was well read by the ever alert Joy Goma who latched onto the ball and thumped it high into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Ayr’s first goal in three games was a relief and on the balance of play no more than they deserved.
Ayr then could have extended their lead when after good play from Goma and McSkeane, Ayr’s midfielder Joe Barker could and probably should have done better with the opportunity from 18 yards.
Ayr were continuing to ‘knock on the door’ and on a couple of occasions were somewhat careless in being caught offside when in good positions.
Then in the 41st minute real controversy struck! A long ball was fastened onto by Dundee’s main striker who appeared to be a yard offside but as he fired the ball past Ayr’s keeper Graham the referee awarded the goal.
A real blow for the home side right on the interval and again surely food for thought in having assistant referees for these games!
The interval duly arrived with the scores level and with Ayr having controlled the majority of the first half feeling somewhat aggrieved at the outcome.
Half Time : Ayr United 1 Dundee 1
Dundee started the second half ‘on the front foot’ and determined to take the game to the home side.
However, it was Ayr in fact who very nearly got their ‘noses in front’ when Owen McGinty picked the ball up just inside his own half and waltzed his way past four players into the Dundee penalty box, only to be crowded out at the last moment.
Dundee forced a number of corners and Ayr ‘heaved a sigh of relief’ when one fizzed past the far post.
Ayr replaced midfielder Joe Barker with Paul Smith who proceeded to add creativity and good link up play with McGinty, McSkeane and Goma.
In fact on 70 minutes Smith and Griffiths combined well on Ayr’s right hand side and McSkeane just couldn’t get his shot away quickly enough after latching onto the final ball.
Joy Goma who had now switched to the right almost broke the deadlock when he did well to win back possession on the byeline and after forcing his way past two defenders was unlucky to see his effort blocked.
Ayr then replaced their hardworking striker Nathan McSkeane with Kaylum Ferguson and with only just 20 minutes left on the clock.
The game had now begun to stretch as both sides went for the win.
Another corner again saw danger in the Ayr box but good defending by full back Kinlay Bilham kept Ayr’s goal intact.
As Ayr ‘turned the screw’ Dundee’s defenders began to give away a succession of free kicks and from one of those Owen McGinty nearly put his side in front. McGinty stepped up and curled his free kick round the wall and as the Dundee keeper ‘clawed the ball back’ there were loud appeals from the Ayr players and bench for a goal.
The ball certainly appeared to have crossed the line before being pulled back by the keeper but the referee waved play on with Ayr feeling it may not be their night!
However, with 6 minutes left that man McGinty popped up again this time on Dundee’s left flank.
As he drove into the box towards the bye line McGinty squared the ball back across the face of goal where both Kaylum Ferguson and Joy Goma proceeded to deliver the fatal blow which would win the 3 points for their side.
The ball was forced over the line at the back post by firstly Ferguson and Goma followed up to make sure by lashing the ball into the net.
Ayr then replaced frontman Owen McGinty who had run himself into the ground, with Logan Angus to see out the remaining minutes. There was however to be ‘one final twist left’ when Ayr keeper Danny Graham made a first class save to his right hand side to ensure the points stayed in Ayrshire!
Final Score : Ayr United 2 Dundee 1
Ayr Head Coach John Crawford was delighted with his team’s response from the previous week’s adversity and said, ‘To a man the players gave everything tonight in an effort to put things right after last week. The work put in this week by the players and Craig Dargo on the training ground paid dividends and the result tonight was thoroughly deserved.’ Crawford added, ‘We saw tonight a ‘real team performance’ and every player in the group contributed to the win.’
Ayr United :
Graham, Moffat, Richardson, Love, Bilham, Griffiths, Heaney, Barker, McGinty, McSkeane, Goma.
Subs : Smith, Angus, Brown, Laurie, McFadyen, Ferguson, Burns.