Sunday 22 April 2018
Scottish League One
HT   2 - 0
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Alloa Athletic v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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Alloa Athletic v Ayr United | Match Report

Steven Bell

1162 desperately disappointed Ayr fans made their way back to Ayrshire after watching their side slip to second place after a 2-1 defeat away to Alloa.

United went into the game with a squad deeply depleted by injuries and missing top goal scorer Lawrence Shankland through suspension.

Ian Flannigan opened the scoring before Crane doubled the home sides advantage. Craig Moore got one back for United before missing a penalty which would have been enough to keep Ayr top of the pile.

Ayr started brightly but Alloa worked their way into the game and the match was a very even event for the opening 20 mins, then Alloa struck. Shortly after having a goal ruled out for offside, and United failing to heed the warning, the home side took a deserved lead on 21 mins.

Alloa moved started the move on the right and with some composed passing around the halfway line moved the ball towards the left. Hetherington then played a beautifully weighted curving pass behind Geggan to Cawley on the touchline and the nippy winger slid the ball back to Flannigan who struck home from inside the box.

From then on it was Alloa who bossed the first half, with Ayr looking punch-less up front and struggling to manage a strong and well organised Wasps’ backline.  With 33 mins on the clock, Calum Crane delivered the sucker punch second goal that would finally separate the two teams.

United right back, Andy Geggan failed to deal well with a hopeful long ball over the top by Fleming and sold goalkeeper Jordan Hart short with a header back allowing Crane to nip in and fire home.

Manager McCall had his work cut out at halftime and managed to push United up a gear with the introduction of Alan Forrest and Craig McGuffie. Ayr piled on the pressure at the start of the second half with McGuffie making an instant impact, his surging run creating space for him to find Moore in behind the Alloa defence. Moore then rounded keeper Parry before finishing well to give Ayr a lifeline.

Ayr looked likely to get on even terms as they continued to push forward and Alloa were forced into a tight rear-guard action and restricted to swift breaks, but this just wasn’t going to be the Honest Men’s day and that was summed up with just 12 mins to play when Moore missed a golden opportunity to get his side level.

Smith was penalised for a push on David Ferguson as he rose to header in the box and referee Greg Aitken pointed to the spot. The usually deadly Moore stepped up and sent his spot kick sailing high over the bar and Ayr’s fate was sealed.

Alloa battled well defensively and Parry made several good saves to deny Ayr the goal they so badly needed but time ran out. The full-time whistle was met with a stunned silence as Ayr’s five-point gap lead at the top of the league just a few weeks ago had been turned over and Raith now have a point advantage going into the final week.

For Ayr to be automatically promoted they are now in the hands of the often-capricious gods of football, needing Raith to slip up at home to Alloa and United to take all 3 points against Albion Rovers at Somerset Park on Saturday.

Alloa Athletic v Ayr United | Match Timeline


Alloa Athletic v Ayr United | Match Stats

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Alloa Athletic v Ayr United | Media

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