Visitors this morning Celtic with a team full of internationals
Today’s Elite Match at Belmont Academy finally brought the 2017/2018 season to a close. Visitors this morning were Glasgow neighbours Celtic with a team full of internationals including Scotland picks Dembele & Sparks.
After two very disappointing performances Ayr chose this opportunity to promote four of their present Under 16s squad on top of Andrew Heaney who had recently made the step up.
If there were any doubts that the younger players might be overawed those were dispelled from the start as all played with an authority and confidence both on and off the ball.
Celtic as expected had the greater share of the ball in the opening stages and forced several corner kicks which were well defended. On occasion Ayr counter attacked quickly on the break but found the Celtic back line hard to break down.
On other occasions it was the final pass or delivery of the cross which let the home side down.
On the twenty minute mark the visitors took the lead from a free kick just outside Ayr’s 18 yard box. The kick was well struck by the Celtic number ten but a slight deflection off the wall didn’t help Ayr keeper Graham as it flew past him into the net.
Ayr continued to show good composure on the ball and produced some good passages of play.
However, ten minutes from the interval Celtic struck again. This time following a corner kick the ball broke to their tricky winger Dembele in the Ayr box. As the tackle came in the ‘wee winger’ appeared to ‘go down’ very easily and what looked like a soft penalty was awarded.
The penalty kick was duly despatched and Ayr found themselves two goals behind at the interval.
Half Time : Ayr United 0 Celtic 2.
Ayr started the second half in similar fashion to the first relying mainly on the counter attack.
Ayr striker Kaylum Ferguson was holding the ball up competently and recycling the ball for his team. The impressive Heaney was showing up well in midfield for Ayr, supported by Paul Smith and Aidan Moffat.
However, on 65 minutes once again the away side appeared get a slice of fortune when a deflected shot from just outside the box evaded goalkeeper Graham’s hands and trickled over the line.
By this time Ayr had replaced Daniel Wamuziri with the returning Robbie Laurie and then injured centre back Hamish Brown with Declan McFadyen. Good link up play between Robbie Laurie and Andrew Heaney nearly carved out an opportunity before Ayr keeper Graham produced a superb one handed save down to his left.
Ayr then replaced striker Ferguson with yet another youngster Alex Dean. As the game moved toward its final stages the official pointed to the penalty spot when Dembele again appeared to go down under another fairly innocuous challenge.
However, on this occasion Ayr keeper Graham produced a first class save and so justice was seen to be fine.
Ayr then replaced Paul Smith with Logan Angus and Aidan Moffat with Lewis Nohar.
The home side forced several late corners but were unable to make the breakthrough.
Full Time : Ayr United 0 Celtic 3
Ayr Head Coach John Crawford had praise for his young side who on the day competed well throughout and also produced some good football albeit no goals were forthcoming. Crawford said, ‘After two very lack lustre performances there were positives to see today in the performance. The young players showed good composure on the ball and a maturity to their play’. Crawford added that the more experienced players had also made a good contribution to the overall team performance and the mix of players had added a refreshing energy and enthusiasm to the team.
Ayr United :
Graham, Jeanes, Brown, Love, Bilham, Griffiths, Heaney, Smith, Wamuziri, Ferguson and Moffat.
Subs : Nohar, Oliphant, Angus, McFadyen, Dean, Laurie and Bryce.