Ayr Utd 17s v Hibernian 17s
The opening quarter of an hour was keenly contested with neither team really dominating or taking control.
Hibs were however looking for their pacey left winger whenever an opportunity arose.
Ayr were just beginning to have some forays forward into the away team’s half when the breakthrough came.
Finn Ecrepont did well to play Gabe Skeoch in and the Ayr striker despite being under close attention did really well to lift the ball with his left foot over the advancing keeper and into the net.
Ayr were now building up a head of steam and Finn Ecrepont did well to block a pass but unfortunately his shot just missed the far post.
The home side were now dominating and searching for a second goal.
Robbie Laurie cut inside and his deflected shot nearly looped over the keeper’s head until being finger tipped over for a corner kick.
Then on 30 minutes Ayr were awarded a penalty kick for a foul on Ross Love.
As a Skeoch corner kick was flighted into the Hibernian box a defender hauled Love back.
Joe Barker stepped up but his poorly struck shot was easily saved by the keeper.
Worse was to follow as the keeper launched the ball straight down the middle, bouncing once in the Ayr half and then latched onto by the Hibs winger and fired into the net.
Very poor defending through the middle of Ayr’s defence and a game changer, as instead of being 2-0 down Hibernian were now level.
However, for Ayr the damage was far from finished as following a corner defender Ross Love’s clearance went straight to a Hibs player at the edge of the box and he shot past Graham in the Ayr goal.
A quite incredible turnaround of events all within a two minute period! A penalty kick missed and two goals conceded and quite simply down to lack of concentration, basic organisation and very poor defending.
Half Time : Ayr United 1 Hibernian 2.
The half time interval provided the Ayr team with some breathing space and a more than a few home truths.
If the home team had set out to have a fast start to the second half it certainly didn’t materialise as within three minutes they were 3-1 down.
The Hibs left winger slipped past his marker and made for the Ayr bye line. As he reached the line the ball was scooped up in the air and as it reached the back post area the Hibernian striker was left completely unmarked to knock the ball into the empty net.
Again very poor defensively from the home defence with no cover. Ayr then rang the changes replacing Nohar, Laurie and Frew with Mitchell, Angus and Wazumiri and reverting to a 4-4-2 system.
The change with Danny Mitchell up top certainly unsettled the away team’s central defenders and led to Ayr reducing the deficit.
Finn Ecrepont flighted in a deep free kick and with the Hibernian keeper having one eye on the arriving Mitchell, failed to reach the cross and the Ayr striker knocked the ball home.
Game on at 3-2 but disappointingly Ayr failed to build enough momentum to put the away side under sufficient pressure.
In fact once again Ayr shot themselves in the foot by conceding yet another goal. This time the Hibernian striker dropped short and with little or no pressure from Ayr’s central defender. The ball was laid off and the No 9 played in again just inside the Ayr box where he finished across keeper Graham who could have made it more difficult by coming off his line.
Another poor goal conceded through the centre of Ayr’s defence and a day to forget for the central defenders. As Ayr pushed forward in search of a goal they could in fact have been punished further with counter attacks.
Full Time : Ayr United 2 Hibernian 4
A very bad day at the office for the Honest Men. Head Coach John Crawford reflected ruefully on the two minute first half disaster that saw the team incredibly miss a penalty kick to go two in front and then a minute later to then concede two hugely soft goals within 60 seconds. Crawford was very disappointed in the lack of organisation and concentration involved in that two minute spell and how easily the goals were conceded.
Again the coach highlighted the fine margins at this level which determine the winning and losing of games.
Ayr United : Graham, Nohar, Brown, Love, Oliphant, Griffiths, Ecrepont, Laurie, Barker, Frew, Skeoch.
Subs : Angus, Mitchell, Bryce, Hannah, Wamuziri, Smith & McKinnon.