Patient Academy 20’s see off Clyde
Ayr United Academy 20s had to wait to see their dominance pay off after prevailing 1-0 over a battling Clyde. Leon Murphy’s strike on the hour separated the sides but the visitors missed a hatful of chances against a Bully Wee team down to the bare bones at Broadwood.
All the expectation was lumped on Ayr after learning that Clyde could only field ten players on Sunday afternoon prior to kick-off. United looked to take advantage instantly with Stuart Faulds, Luke McCowan and Murphy going close in the first ten minutes.
Clyde created their first opening on 13 minutes when a header dropped just wide at the back post from close range. David Waite lashed a 20-yard strike just over and James Hilton forced a busy Clyde goalkeeper into a smart save from the same distance.
The Ayr defence scrambled clear on 25 minutes after a mix-up on the edge of the box. McCowan had a shot well saved at the near post, Murphy saw his free-kick saved after finding a gap through the wall and Hilton’s swerving strike just dipped wide as the first half drew to a close.
Clyde were resilient in defence and the frustration of not scoring yet against ten-men threatened to show.
Kieran Balfour’s strike on 56 minutes took a wicked deflection that wrong footed the goalkeeper but creeped an inch wide of the post.
Sixty seconds later, Ayr were given a penalty for handball.
Murphy stepped up to take but his spot-kick clipped the base of the left-hand post.
Three minutes later, there was redemption for Murphy and relief for Ayr as the deadlock was finally broken.
McCowan’s clever pass across the penalty area found Murphy 16 yards from goal. He elected to go for power over precision and it work.
His shot was fizzed straight at the Clyde goalkeeper who got two hands to the ball, but not quite enough purchase as the ball trundled over the line.
It was cruel on the Clyde stopper but his opposite number made a smart save on 63 minutes to preserve Ayr’s lead, diving to stop a half-volley from the edge of the box.
Hilton went close twice after some intelligent individual play.
Mark McKenzie flicked wide from six yards out and Jamie Ballantyne looped a header just over the bar as Ayr tried to kill off the contest with 15 minutes to go.
Ayr continued to press but Reid proved to be the hero with a fantastic save on 89 minutes. A powerful header looked to be arrowing towards the net but Reid reacted well to dive to his left and paw the ball clear.
Afterwards, Head of Youth David White said: ‘We just need to enjoy winning. It’s all about the result today as the performance wasn’t the greatest. We needed to be a bit more clinical, and the first team are definitely taking their chances, so we need to mirror that.
‘We were quite taken a back that they only had ten players. We have to deal with that. It gave us control but we didn’t take our chances and when that happens, the opposition get a boost. Something like that is always in the mind of young players.
‘We couldn’t afford to feel sorry for them. It’s something we can’t control, so all the guys will learn from that unique situation. We lost a little concentration towards the end and our goalkeeper has made a few big saves at key moments.’
Ayr team: Reid; Waite (Sisi 86), Ballantyne, Griffiths, Thorburn; Balfour, Faulds; Hilton, McCowan (Baird 71), Murphy; McKenzie. Subs not used: Avci, Millarvie, Wardrope.
above match report by Calum McClurkin