Match Report Dundee v Ayr Utd 18s

Friday evening saw the Honest Men make the long journey up north to Station Park the home of Forfar Athletic to play Dundee FC.

The home side sitting second top of the league had been in good form so a difficult game beckoned. Ayr themselves had produced a very good result the previous week beating Queens Park by a 2-0 scoreline.
Unfortunately, pre-match Ayr lost centre back Blair Richardson and their two goal striker Joy Goma from last week both to illness.

For the opening 20 minutes Ayr struggled to come to terms with their opponents who opened strongly using the wide artificial surface to good use.
Ayr however defended well despite Dundee having a following wind sweeping down the pitch. Ayr winger Owen McGinty was already causing the home side problems with his incisive runs, pace and dribbling skills. In fact the home keeper did well to beat away a fierce McGinty drive to keep the game level. However, half way through the first half Ayr fell behind when a strike from the edge of the box appeared to deceive keeper Graham who may have been partially unsighted.
A blow certainly as Ayr had been gradually finding their feet and were now causing more problems for the home side.
Another accurate cross from McGinty was met by Paul Smith who probably should have made more of the opportunity.
Dundee huffed and puffed but although forcing a number of corner kicks didn’t really put Ayr under any real pressure.
Then in 35 minutes Ayr were convinced they had won a penalty kick when McGinty sped past the last defender just inside the penalty box and was then unceremoniously brought down.
However, inexplicably the official awarded Ayr a free kick at the edge of the box and although also a last man offence didn’t even produce a card. A huge let off for the home side who were very relieved to go in at the interval a goal to the good.
Half Time : Dundee 1 Ayr United 0.
Ayr started the second period much more on the front foot and produced a much improved performance during the second 45 minutes.
However, Ayr received a further blow when in-form striker Kaylum Ferguson was forced off with a muscle injury.
Nathan McSkeane took his place through the middle to continue his recovery from serous injury.
Shortly after Ayr replaced midfielder Aaron Miller with winger Alex Dean and Paul Smith dropped into a deeper midfield role beside Ryan Hannah.
Ayr continued to probe and after switching Owen McGinty through the middle very nearly found an all important equaliser.
McGinty was once again hauled down some twenty five yards out from goal. McGinty took the kick himself and hit a fierce dipping strike over the defensive wall only to see the home keeper make the ‘save off the match’ with a last second acrobatic leap to finger tip the goal bound effort over the bar.
Ayr then replaced full back Alex Jeanes with Lewis Nohar and midfielder Paul Smith with Robbie Laurie.
Ayr continued to press and again McGinty very nearly unlocked the door with a great piece of inventiveness. Yet another free kick to Ayr this time saw the ball played along the deck only to see centre back Ross Love narrowly fail to get the all important touch.
With 12 minutes left Ayr brought on winger Logan Angus for midfielder Ryan Hannah and changed to a 4-4-2 system. With minutes remaining captain Ross Love made another of his bursting runs through midfield and unleashed a strong shot which the Dundee keeper did well to hold.
Despite all their second half efforts Ayr just couldn’t find the all important goal which would have given then a a well deserved point on the road.

Full Time: Dundee 1 Ayr United 0.

Head Coach John Crawford said, ‘Following an untidy opening twenty minutes the players adapted well and despite falling behind improved before the interval’. The second half saw the team produce a good overall performance which unfortunately just lacked the all important goal. On the night the players certainly deserved at least a point and should take confidence and self belief from this game that they can also win away from home’. Crawford added that winger Owen McGinty and defender Ross Love had produced fine performances on the night and were well supported by their team mates in the second period. 
Ayr United :
Graham, Jeanes, McFadyen, Love, Bilham, Miller, Hannah, Heaney, Smith, Ferguson and McGinty.
Subs : McSkeane, Nohar, Dean, Laurie and Angus.