17’s vs Aberdeen Sunday 11th March 2018
Having only played two Elite Games since the end of November the Ayr players were looking forward to this afternoon’s match against Aberdeen.
The Honest Men having won their last two games away to Hibernian and Motherwell also had a near full squad to pick from, something highly unusual this season due to the high number of injuries.
However, in the early stages of the game Ayr looked off the pace and disappointingly their normally reliable passing game was well below par.
In fact it only took the visitors 5 minutes to take the lead.
Ayr failed to firstly clear their lines properly and when the ball was transferred left, the Aberdeen midfielder was allowed too much space to deliver his cross. As the ball came into Ayr’s box the Aberdeen No 7 had the simplist of tasks to side foot home at the back post. A very poor goal to concede by the home side but worse was to follow.
Ayr had been guilty of giving away a number of free kicks and from another of those Aberdeen opened up a two goal lead.
A two man wall was organised on the left side of Ayr’s box but a quickly taken free kick allied to slack marking allowed another cross to be fired in across Ayr’s six yard box. Again this produced a simple finish to increase the lead.
Ayr keeper Graham may well feel he could have done better on another day by dealing with the low hit cross.
A mountain to climb after twenty minutes and although Ayr managed to exert some form of possession the final ball usually let them down.
Ayr were unlucky to lose two influential players in the first half to injury. Midfielder Joe Barker turned an ankle and was replaced by Gabe Skeoch whilst defender Ross Love had to be replaced after 30 minutes due to a head injury. Hamish Brown returning from a lengthy spell of injury slotted in beside Callum Bryce at centre back.
Half Time : Ayr United 0 Aberdeen 2.
Ayr replaced striker Danny Mitchell with Kaylum Ferguson, also returning from injury at the interval and changed to a 4-4-2 system for the second half.
There is no doubt Ayr were a much improved side in the second period and to be fair controlled the majority of the half.
However, it has to be said that Ayr found it very difficult to create any real opportunities in front of goal.
The last twenty five minutes saw the home team push hard for a breakthrough and on another day may very well have been awarded a penalty kick.
Paul Smith who had replaced Robert Frew went down in the box after contact was certainly made by a defender but the match official waved play on.
Ayr then replaced Aidan Moffat with Daniel Wamuziri in an effort to get that all elusive goal.
In the final ten minutes Ayr forced a succession of corner kicks one of which Hamish Brown got on the end of but his header was unfortunately blocked by a defender.
Although the home side finished strongly it was a day when a goal just wouldn’t come.
Full Time : Ayr United 0 Aberdeen 2
Head Coach John Crawford was particularly disappointed with his team’s first half showing and conceded the game had been lost in the first twenty minutes. The coach said, ‘We looked well off the pace during the first half, were guilty of switching off at both goals and were also wasteful in possession.’
Crawford added, ‘The second half was much improved with the team playing at a higher tempo and with much more intensity. Unfortunately we created little in the last third of the pitch and this is an area we must now work to improve.’
Ayr United :
Graham, Angus, Bryce, Love, Oliphant, Griffiths, Laurie, Barker, Frew, Mitchell, Moffat.
Subs : Skeoch, Smith, Nohar, Wamuziri, Ferguson, Brown, Heaney.