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Forfar Match Preview

After a four week absence, Ayr United are back in action at Somerset Park when Forfar Athletic are the visitors for the first of four home games in 15 days. Despite eventually going down to a 2-0 defeat at Peterhead last weekend, results elsewhere ensured United remained outside the bottom two. Closest rivals Stenhousemuir travel to on-form Brechin.

 

Second placed Forfar are involved in a four-way battle at the top of League 1 and earned an important three points last weekend with a 1-0 victory at home to Dunfermline. Coupled with Morton’s victory over league leaders Stranraer, it means Forfar and ‘Ton are just one point behind the Blues. Brechin City are also just a further three points behind with a game in hand. The Loons’ last played in Scottish football’s second tier in 1992.

 

Read on for our match preview:

 

Ian says: “Last week I felt that it was a poor game, neither team played well and when you look at how good Peterhead’s home record is we nearly came away with a valuable point. We need to improve on that performance and will be looking to do that on Saturday. I have been here for 6 games now and 4 have been away so we are looking forward to some home games. I hope the crowd will get behind us like they do away from home. Forfar are a big strong side with big central defenders and a big striker so we will have to cope with the physical elements of the game. I have a few options now with nearly everyone in the squad fit and we will be going out there to win the game.”

 

Team news: Peter Murphy is fit and back in the squad. Martyn Campbell will play in the Under 20s match on Monday night. Everyone else is fit and available.

 

Form: United are without a win in their last 11 home games. It is 43 years since the Honest Men went 12 games without a win at Somerset Park.

 

Forfar have won four and lost four of their last eight matches.

 

Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park) Ayr United wins – 32 Draws – 8 Forfar Athletic wins – 7

 

Saturday is the 99th meeting between the sides.

 

Last Meeting: Both fixtures between the sides this season have ended 2-0 to the home side. A late Scott McLaughlin double at Somerset Park in August made it three wins in-a-row for Ayr United. Stephen Smith and Omar Kadar were on the score sheet when United travelled to Station Park in November.

 

On this day: in 2009 United beat Queen’s Park 3-0 at Hampden Park with Mark Roberts, Kenny Connolly and Ryan Stevenson on the scoresheet. 25 years ago to the day Ayr and Forfar played out a 1-1 draw at Somerset Park.

 

Match Officials: Referee – Stephen Finnie

Assistant Referee 1 – John McCrossan

Assistant Referee 2 – Simon MacLean

 

Match Info:

Admission

Adults – £15

OAP’s/Under 16’s and students – £8

Parent & Child Gate – £18 (via Gate 13)

Shop Offers!!

The club shop have put together 5 amazing deals for the upcoming home games against Forfar Athletic on Saturday and Peterhead next Tuesday evening. Offers are available in store and on line from now until after the Peterhead match.

 

All replica shirts are reduced to clear with all remaining stock priced at adult sizes £20 and youth sizes £15.

Essential Polo shirts, available in white, black or charcoal are now only £10. Normal price £14.99.

Giant beach towels are cut from £19.99 to £10

Jacquard Hat & Scarf sets only £10

Retro Shirt £19.99 & a FREE Ayr United mug (this offer is not available online)

 

*while stocks last

**no further discount applies

Scotland match moved to Rugby Park

Vauxhall Under-17 International Challenge Match
Scotland vs Romania
Tuesday 24th February 2015, kick-off 7pm
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

The venue for tomorrow’s Vauxhall Under-17 International Challenge Match between Scotland and Romania has been changed from Somerset Park to Rugby Park due to a waterlogged pitch. The kick-off remains 7pm.

Entry to the match is free for under-16s, £5 for adults and £2 for concessions. Scotland Supporters Club members will still be able to gain free entry provided they complete their online ticket application.

Peterhead 2 Ayr United 0

Peterhead 2 v 0 Ayr United

 

It was no surprise when new loan signing Scott McKenna was named in the Ayr starting line but most supporters must have raised an eyebrow to Alan Forrest’s demotion to the bench. It later transpired however that Ian McCall had little option with young Forrest suffering from illness during the week.

 

Ryan Donnelly partnered Jordan Preston up front, in place of Forrest, as Brian Gilmour returned from suspension but found out that competition for a first team starting slot had intensified and had to make do with a seat on the bench.

 

Ayr travelled north buoyant after their comprehensive win over Stirling Albion last weekend to face a Peterhead side who were looking to get back to winning ways after back to back losses.

 

It was Peterhead, backed by a swirling wind, who took the initiative in the opening minutes of this match dominating possession but failing to penetrate the Ayr rear-guard. It was United in fact who created the better early chances as Ryan Donnelly then Jordan Preston went close with shots that forced Peterhead keeper Graeme Smith in to making some good stops within the first 10mins.

 

Although Peterhead had the bulk of possession in the opening quarter Ayr restricted them to shots from distance that rarely troubled David Hutton’s goal. The Blue Toon’s first meaningful effort fell to former Ayr player Andy Rodgers after 2mins, but his near post flick went wide of the post.

 

As the game opened up chances fell to both sides with Jordan Preston for Ayr and David Cox for Peterhead both going close. In the 30thmin David Cox turned provider, with Ayr failing to clear his in-swinging corner Andy Rodgers attempted an overhead kick that saw pull of an superb reactions save.

 

Just before half time David Hutton was the busier of the two goalkeepers, saving well from a David Cox header before being called into action again. This time he saved a Gary McDonald shot after the Peterhead man had found acres of space at the back post. McDonald should have done better but his weakly hit effort gave Hutt’s the opportunity to get across his goal and save on the line.

 

There were no changes at half-time and Ayr started the second half in a more positive fashion by taking the game to Peterhead from the kick off and winning an early corner.

 

The game livened up on the hour mark as tempers flared with referee Newlands intervening and booking Peterhead’s Scott Ross as The Blue Toon pressurised the Ayr defence.

 

Ayr then made changes bringing on Blakeman for Robertson and Gilmour for Crawford as they attempted to take back the initiative from Peterhead.

 

It was end to end stuff and with 15mins to play as both sides were fully committed to going all out for the win, and on 79mins the breakthrough came.

 

A disputed free kick was awarded to Peterhead 20 yards out on the left wing, close to the main stand touchline. A teasing in-swinging cross was delivered by substitute Jordan Brown, to the far post, for Gary McDonald to rise above the Ayr defence and power home a close range header to give Peterhead the lead with just 11 minutes left to play.

 

Peterhead had the momentum now and as Ayr struggled to get out of their own half they conceded a penalty in 86mins after Nicky Devlin was penalised for a foul. Former Ayr player Andy Rodgers returned to haunt his old club, converting from the penalty spot, and making certain of the win for the home side as the game finished 2-0 to Peterhead.

 

Ayr United – Hutton; Devlin; Robertson; McGovern; Neill; McKenna; Murray; Crawford; Preston; Donnelly; Donald Subs – Newman; Beattie; Blakeman; Gilmour; Nisbet; Muir; Forrest

 

Peterhead –  Smith; Kerr; Noble; Strachan; Ross; McDonald; Riley; Redman; Rodgers; Dzierzawski; Cox  Subs – Jarvie; Brown; Donaldson; Smith; McLaren

 

Referee: Alan Newlands

Attendance: 560

Report: AUmedia

SFA Youth Cup 1/4 final

This Sunday sees our Under 20s team take on St Mirren in the quarter final of the Little Big Shot SFA youth cup. The 5th round tie takes place at Somerset Park with a 1pm kick off.

The main stand is the only part of the ground open for the match and entry to the match is by a donation to the Ayr United Football Academy which will be collected on entry.

In the event of a draw after normal time, extra time of 30 minutes (i.e. 15 minutes each way) will take place and thereafter, if necessary, kicks from the Penalty Mark will be taken in accordance with the Rules laid down by The International Football Association Board.

Nissy signs new deal.

This morning we are delighted to confirm that Ryan Nisbet has signed a new 2 year deal with the club which will take him up to May 2017.

Manager Ian McCall said: “Ryan has really impressed me since coming to the club. He is quick, direct and really knows how to score goals. We think he has a big chance to progress in the game and he is very much part of our plans.”

Ryan, 18 from Kirkmichael said: “I am still a young guy with a lot to learn and I feel like I am learning all the time with the new management team. Training has stepped up a level and I feel like I am improving with it. I am delighted to be staying here for another couple of years.”

Peterhead Match Preview

On Saturday, Ayr United travel to Peterhead looking to make it two wins in-a-row for the first time since August. The Honest Men’s comprehensive victory at Stirling Albion last weekend was their first in 120 days and saw them climb out of the relegation play-off place at the expensive of Stenhousemuir, who host Airdrie.

 

Peterhead made the long journey to Stranraer last weekend but returned north empty handed after a 2-0 defeat. The result leaves Jim McInally’s side in sixth position, 11 points ahead of Ayr having played a game less.

 

Read on for our match preview:

 

Ian says: “Its a long way to travel to Peterhead and we know it will be a tough game as they are a good side, especially at home however we have got some much needed confidence after last weeks win. The training has been a really high tempo for a few weeks now and the atmosphere is getting better all the time. Every game is a big game for us just now. We have pace in the team now, especially going forward and we are creating more chances.”

 

Team news: Martyn Campbell and Peter Murphy will miss the match through injury. Brian Gilmour comes back into the squad after suspension and Scott McKenna is added to the squad after his loan signing on Thursday

 

Form: Ayr United have won one game in-a-row!

 

Peterhead have lost their last two matches, on the road at Forfar and Stranraer. Prior to that they had taken 13 points from a possible 15. The Blue Toon have lost just four of their last 31 league games at Balmoor.

 

Head-to-Head (League) Ayr United wins – 5 Draws – 7 Peterhead wins – 10

 

United have beaten Peterhead just once in 11 league matches between the sides at Somerset but have avoided defeat in majority of league games at Balmoor.

 

Last Meeting: The last meeting between the sides in November has been struck from the record books after fielding Reece Donaldson while suspended. Rory McAllister scored a hat-trick at Somerset Park but misses Saturday’s game through suspension following his red card a fortnight ago.

 

In October, Peterhead were 2-0 winners at home thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Stevenson and Ryan Strachan.

 

On this day: in 1981 Ayr United beat Clydebank 4-1 at Somerset Park. The Honest Men have a 46.15% win rate on the 21st February.

 

Match Officials: Referee – Alan Newlands

Assistant Referee 1 – Scott Millar

Assistant Referee 2 – Thomas Shaw

 

Match Info:

Admission

Adults – Ground £12, Stand £14

Under 16s – Ground £6, Stand £8

Under 12s – Free

 

Tickets must be purchased prior to kick-off from the ticket office in the Main Stand. No cash turnstiles.

McKenna signs on loan

Scotland Under 19s captain Scott McKenna has today signed on a 93 day loan from Aberdeen. Scott is a left sided centre back who is 6 foot 3. He has already been involved with the Aberdeen first team and played in a number of pre season games. Scott has been in great form with Aberdeens under20 side and has been captaining them.

Manager Ian McCall said: “I am delighted to get Scott as there were numerous clubs interested in him. Ive watched him twice in recent weeks and he is very highly rated. He really impressed me and is a big strong defender who is good on the ball. I chose to get an extra defender in due to the injuries and Craig Beattie is really looking like hes coming back to form and getting fitter all the time”

Stirling 1 Ayr United 4

Stirling Albion 1 v 4 Ayr United

 

Ayr and Stirling were under no illusion as to the importance of Saturday’s fixture between the league’s bottom two clubs.

 

The statistics didn’t look good for either side ahead of this encounter with Stirling rooted to the foot of the league and yet to win a home game this season. As for United their last win was way back in mid-October, but they did have the advantage of a six point lead and a game in hand, as they looked to further extend their lead over The Binos.

 

Ayr added new signings David Robertson and Jordan Preston to the squad but were without Martyn Campbell and Peter Murphy through injury and Brian Gilmour who was suspended.

 

It was no surprise then with so much at stake that both sides took time to size each other up. Ayr were the more positive team in the opening stages and were unlucky not to go ahead in 9mins when a Robbie Crawford header crashed off the upright.

 

However Ayr’s brighter start was rewarded just 3mins later when the Stirling defence failed to clear an Alan Forrest cross. The ball fell to Jordan Preston and his snap shot cannoned off Stirling keeper Paterson’s post into the path of new signing David Robertson who had the simplest of tasks of tapping in from close range to put Ayr one up.

 

On the quarter hour mark Ayr were celebrating again when a well worked short corner ended with Stirling’s Gordon Smith heading into his own goal as he diverted a vicious in-swinging cross from Adam Blakeman beyond Stirling keeper Greg Paterson.

 

Stirling could have crumbled at this point but they came back strongly at Ayr and created chances for McKinlay, Smith and Johnston as the game approached the half hour mark before Stirling skipper Smith was forced to head clear a goal bound Blakeman free kick from under his cross bar.

 

Shepherd then spurned a good opportunity to score as he ended a well worked Stirling counter attack with a shot that David Hutton comfortably saved. Stirling had Ayr on the back foot at this point in the game and Lewis Coult hit the post from 15 yards when he really should have scored after another good Stirling move.

 

Ayr survived to go in at half time two goals to the good but all the good work in the first half was undone early in the second.

 

United were forced in to replacing David Robertson with Craig Beattie at half-time through injury and this enforced change allowed Stirling more space down the left hand side. Phil Johnston made the most of this extra space when he latched on to a Lewis Coult flick on. He collected the ball before cutting back inside and striking a low drive through the legs of Craig Murray, beating the unsighted Hutton at his near post, to bring Stirling back into the game at 2-1 with 54mins played.

 

Ayr were then dealt another blow as Robbie Crawford limped off with a knee injury and was replaced by Andrew Muir. United took time to adjust to the changes but they finally got the balance right as Forrest was moved to the right side of midfield. Ayr started to regain their composure and grip on the game as momentum started to shift the way of The Honest Men.

 

The game finally swung back in Ayr’s favour when another dangerous corner was flicked on at the near post by Morgan Neil into the path of Craig Beattie, who was lurking unmarked at the back post, to header home from close range and give Ayr some breathing space at 3-1.

 

But United were not ready to rest on their laurels just yet. The impressive Jordan Preston, who had previously been denied a début goal ruled out for offside, latched on to a loose ball in midfield with 83mins on the clock. And with the Stirling defence backing off him he showed great composure to play a neat one-two with Craig Beattie that allowed him space and time in the box to drill a low shot past the helpless Stirling goalkeeper to give Ayr an unassailable 4-1 lead.

 

So finally after a long wait Ayr managed to get that monkey off their back and record their first win since October 2014. The joy and relief amongst players and fans was obvious to everyone who travelled through to Stirling on Saturday.

 

A special mention goes out to the travelling support who turned out in numbers and were in full voice once more, as the United fans savoured the team’s performance. The Ayr victory coupled with Stenhousemuir’s defeat allowed Ayr to leapfrog above the Warriors, a point to the good and with a game in hand.

 

Ayr United

Hutton; Devlin; Blakeman; Robertson; Neill; McGovern; Murray; Crawford; Preston; Forrest; Donald Subs: Beattie; Donnelly; Nisbet; McCracken; Muir; Newman

 

Stirling Albion

Paterson; Hamilton; McKinlay; Beith; McGeachie; Smith; Johnston; Comrie; Coult; Smith; Shepherd Subs: Forsyth; Cunningham; Robertson; Paton; Herron; Wedderburn; Reidford

 

Attendance: 785

Report: AUmedia