Sat 30 Dec 2017
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Scottish League One
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HT   1 - 0
Sat 30 Dec 2017
Scottish League One
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With the final whistle blowing at Somerset Park we had witnessed what must be the biggest shock in League 1 this season with bottom club Forfar turning over league leaders Ayr United in the most unbelievable of circumstances. It finished Ayr United 2 Forfar 3 with the Loons coming back from two down with goals in the last 11 minutes to grab all three points.

This encounter will long be remembered as ‘McCallum’s Match’ due to the outstanding performance between the sticks by Loons’ keeper Mark McCallum. His keeping display was exceptional and formed the platform for the growth in confidence throughout the Forfar side in the second half which ultimately resulted in their victory.

The first half had been a pretty dull affair with both sides struggling to get many attempts on target and United pitched against a strong wind as storm Dylan warmed itself up for arrival later. Much against the run of play it was Forfar who almost took the lead on 33mins. Mark Millar took a freekick from 40 yards out that somehow bypassed all in the box and keeper Hart did well to get down to his left and palm away.

On 41mins McDaid played a ball in from the left along the 6-yard line but Shankland just couldn’t get enough on it and McCallum grabbed the ball before the Ayr striker could make a second attempt.

It looked like both teams would go in even at the break but on 45 mins United took the lead. A fast move from back to front found Shankland on the right who played a delightful ball to Moffat who found himself free in the box and placed the ball past keeper McCallum.

Ayr were one up at the break and looked likely to score a barrowload as they took the game to Forfar straight from the off in the second 45 mins.  Ayr pummelled the Forfar back line but time after time Mark McCallum brought off some world class saves to deny Ayr leaving Forrest, McDaid, Adams and Shankland shaking their heads at how they hadn’t netted.

Ayr did grab a second in 65 mins. After a series of 3 corners McDaid got to the line and played the ball into the middle for Shankland who blasted into the net. 2 nil to United and the Ayrshire men looked on easy street.

United swarmed forward with wave after wave of attacks but that man McCallum had channelled the goalkeeping gods diving, blocking, and clutching anything that came near. This was a masterclass of keeping.  On 71 mins, after 4 United corners, Jamie Adams headered goalwards from 6 yards and somehow McCallum dived and grasped the ball from behind him and turned it over.

On 73 mins Forfar grabbed one back when they were given what seemed a relatively soft freekick some 20 yards out. With the usually deadly Marc Millar lining up to take dead ball Forfar’s trialist left back, Jordan Hornby, stepped in and sweetly curled the ball into the back of the net. It was 2 – 1 and everything to play for.

Ayr nerves seemed to be showing and Forfar grew in confidence. McCallum was unbeatable at the back with three outstanding saves in the 75th min alone and Forfar being encouraged to push forward.

On 82 mins Forfar drew level.  A high ball came into the box and striker Matthew Aitken found himself with space and time to turn and slam the ball into the net. 2 all and United were looking shell shocked.

It took only 5 minutes more for Forfar to complete the turn around and it was Aitken who again came up with the goods. Ayr just couldn’t get rid of the ball from the edge of the box and Aitken stepped in composed himself and sent a shot into the bottom left corner.

And that’s the magic and frustration of football all summed up in one game.

The final score Ayr United 2 v 3 Forfar athletic and Ayr face another tough one down the coast at Stranraer on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

Match Images

All Images are © David Sargent and Ayr United FC and may not be used without permission

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