Saturday 07 April 2018
Scottish League One
HT   1 - 1
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Airdrieonians v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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Airdrieonians v Ayr United | Match Report

Jamie Adams

The Excelsior Stadium is never the easiest of venues in which to pick up points but United, roared on by the vociferous backing of 675 travelling fans, fought back from going one down early on to grab all three points on a day when title rivals Raith could only draw with Arbroath. This puts Ayr five points ahead of Raith with only three games to go.

In the opening exchanges, both sides seemed very even with Airdrie showing their attacking intent early on with a Sean McIntosh cross reaching Jack Hastie, but the winger, who would be a thorn in Ayr’s side throughout the first half, headed straight at Hart who saved easily.

On 7 mins Lawrence Shankland attempted an audacious shot from 40 yards when he spotted Rohan Ferguson well off his line, but the ball went just over with the Diamond’s keeper struggling to get back.

Suddenly Ayr were behind. A Luke Watt freekick from the left was swung into the box with pinpoint accuracy reaching striker Dale Carrick who had evaded his marker and darted to the penalty spot from where he powerfully headered past Hart.  9 mins on the clock and it was 1 – 0 Airdrieonians and United faced an up-hill struggle.

The game roared into life with Airdrie desperate to add to their advantage and United attempting to get back on terms. On 14 mins Ayr’s Declan McDaid picked up a poor knockdown by Airdrie defender Kieran MacDonald but dragged his shot wide of the post from 12 yards out.

Airdrie responded swiftly with a 25-yard Luke Watt diagonal drive that went inches past Hart’s back post and followed up with a sweet but incisive passing move forward and some heroic defending by Ayr saw blocks from Declan McDaid and Jamie Adams keeping out Watt and Hastie attempts.

With 25 mins gone Declan McDaid surged forward from his own half then found Lawrence Shankland to his left and the striker, although forced wide, skipped round defender Scott McIntosh before unleashing a dipping drive that the keeper Ferguson did well to tip onto the bar.

3 mins later and it was Paddy Boyle to the rescue for the Honest Men with a timely interception clearance as the ball was driven across the 6-yard box by full back Kieran MacDonald and with Tom Fry racing in for the tap home.

With 8 mins to the break, United were level.  Andy Geggan curled an exquisite ball towards the back post and into the path of Robbie Crawford who struck home.

The match continued at a frantic pace with Airdrie’s Dale Carrick heading just wide and Andy Geggan sliding in to block a Jake Hastie strike from 8 yards.

1 -1 at the break after a high tempo first half and the second half would see the intensity cranked up another level with both sides flying at each other from the off.

With 1 min gone Ayr surged forward, and Diamond’s keeper Ferguson earned his pay with a superb double save first from Moore and then the follow up from McDaid after Ayr had worked the ball from end to end and Shankland had found Moore in space at the edge of the box.

8 mins later Ayr had the ball in the back of the net, but referee Colin Steven ruled Craig Moore’s tap-in offside much to the frustration of the United players and fans.

Next up, Airdrie with Cammy Russell showing some good control to gain space at the edge of the penalty box before releasing a swerving and dipping drive which keeper Hart clutched confidently.

Both sides were creating chances, but it was United who found the back of the net with 20 mins to go. Mark Kerr intercepted the ball in the United half then played a one-two with Shankland at the halfway line before finding substitute Craig McGuffie on the centre spot. McGuffie strode forward then clipped the ball over the head of Ryan Conroy to Craig Moore on the edge of the box. Moore controlled the ball on his chest but went down under a challenge from Kieran MacDonald, but the ball fell to Lawrence Shankland who made his way into the box before poking the ball past keeper Ferguson and into the net.

Ayr were ahead but Airdrie would come close to denying them the 3 points just 7 mins later. Luke Watt picked out Jake Hastie on the left with a crossfield ball and the winger came inside before hitting the ball past Hart but onto the post. As the shot was hit, Hastie and Ayr’s Paddy Boyle collided resulting in both players taking no further part and the Ayr skipper receiving a season ending arm injury.

Ayr were now in the driving seat and comfortably seeing out the final minutes when Luke Watt, earlier booked for a scything tackle on Robbie Crawford, elected to wrestle Craig Moore to the ground on the touchline. A second yellow for the Airdrie man who was sent to the stand.

A hard fought and key 3 points for United who face another tricky match this time at Somerset Park on Saturday against a Stranraer side fighting to gain the final promotion play-off spot.

Airdrieonians v Ayr United | Match Timeline


Airdrieonians v Ayr United | Match Stats

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Airdrieonians v Ayr United | Media

Match Highlights
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Airdrie Goal Cam