Tuesday 14 August 2018
Irn-Bru Cup
HT   0 - 0
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Queens Park v Ayr United | Match Preview

After a battling performance in the Highlands on Saturday, where United’s 10-men could well have taken all three points south from the Caledonian Stadium, we return to action tonight (Tuesday) in the Irn-Bru Cup against Queen’s Park at the National Stadium.

While last season was remarkable for the team’s goalscoring exploits, it is defensively where Ian McCall’s men are impressing this term, with the clean sheet at Inverness United’s fifth in-a-row. It is now 526 minutes of play since Ross Doohan’s goal was breached, for the only time this season, by Michael Tidser’s free-kick.

The Opposition: A 16th minute Jamie McKernon penalty gave the Spiders their first three points of the season on Saturday as they defeated Berwick Rangers 1-0 at Hampden Park. That followed a creditable draw against title-favourites Peterhead at Balmoor on the opening day of the league campaign, Queen’s again getting an early goal through Scott Gibson in the seventh minute before Rory McAllister equalised 18 minutes later.

Gus McPherson’s side escaped automatic relegation from League 1 on the final day of last season thanks to our title winning result against Albion Rovers plus three points against Arbroath, however that only delayed their demotion by a week as they fell to Stenhousemuir in the play-off semi-finals. Our title winning goalkeeper Jordan Hart switched Somerset Park for the Spiders in the summer, while Gerry McLauchlan is also part of the Queen’s Park defence that will be looking to shut out United this evening.

Team News

Chris Higgins is out. Michael Moffat, Mark Kerr, Jamie Adams and Andy Geggan are being rested from the squad. New signing Liam Smith goes straight into the squad.

Ian Says

We always look forward to going and playing at Hampden and tonight is a great opportunity to get some game time to those who haven’t had quite as much recently. That’s not to say we will be taking it lightly, as you will see later we will have an extremely strong team out. One thing I will never do is underestimate Queens Park. The next round is on September 8th and I want to make sure we have a competitive game on that date so we will be going all out to win the tie and keep up the momentum.

Head to Head

Ayr United wins – 71

Draws – 26

Queen’s Park wins – 39

The Honest Men have won both previous encounters in the Challenge Cup under its various guises.  In 1997, a Stevie Kerrigan double and Dean Wordsworth goal gave United a 3-0 victory while more recently Alan Forrest became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer when he came off the bench to score a late winner in a 2-1 win at Hampden. Michael Moffat had earlier cancelled out a Tony Quinn penalty.

Last Meeting

Lawrence Shankland bagged a hat-trick against his old side in the last meeting between the sides, in March at Somerset Park. A Craig Moore penalty rounded off the scoring in a 4-0 win. Earlier in the year, in January, Ayr also scored four in their last visit to Hampden, Craig McGuffie’s popping up with two late stunners before an Adam Cummins consolation after Craig Moore and Alan Forrest put us two-up at the break.

Queens Park v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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Queens Park v Ayr United | Match Report

Honest Man

Michael Rose

For the second season in a row United have failed to progress from the first round of the Irn Bru Cup against a club from a lower league. Last year it was Montrose who knocked out the Honest Men on penalties and this year it was Queen’s Park’s turn in a similar fashion. In a mind numbingly dull match, where both sets of fans cheered and applauded an announcement after 90 mins that there would be no extra time, Ayr were held to a goalless draw by their League 2 opposition and former keeper, Jordan Hart predictably turned out to be the Spiders’ hero saving both Murdoch and Forrest’s penalties in a 4 – 2 penalty shootout win.

United gaffer Ian McCall shuffled his team after their tip to Inverness on Saturday, resting Moffat, Geggan, Adams, and Kerr while giving new signing Liam Smith his first start, at right back, and bringing in McCowan, Moore, Bell and McGuffie to the starting eleven.

Pink stripped United dominated the open play through-out the 90 mins but failed to create any real chances while Queens Park appeared content to frustrate United with their solid and well routine defence, ably marshalled by former United defender Gerry McLauchlan who seemed to relish the challenges set.

The first half saw few attempts on goal with Ayr seeing attacks breaking down against an impenetrable wall of Spiders, while lacking the guile and strength of a Moffat ad Shankland partnership up front to break through.

It was, however, surprising that it was the home side that came closest to opening the scoring on 22 mins. Mortimer dribbled through the United defence on the right and into the penalty and released a shot that Doohan did well to get down to at full stretch and tip wide. This was the closest that either side would come to scoring in the entire 90 mins of open play.

Ayr failed to get a shot on target in the opening half, with a Docherty drive on 34 mins from 25 yards, which went wide, the closest attempt by United.

Ayr came out in the second half attempting to increase the pressure on Queens Park and on 48 mins McDaid got the ball through to Moore, but his shot went just wide. 4 mins later and it was McDaid’s turn to have a go, but his shot after a speedy Ayr attack, went over.

Ayr were struggling to get close, being closed down at speed and in numbers by Queens Park and finding it hard to find the time or composure to create affective chances. Manager McCall decided to freshen things up by replacing McGuffie with Shankland on 57 mins, Moore with Forrest 6 mins later and Crawford for Docherty on 72 mins.

Ayr stepped up a gear, pushing Queens Park into a deeper and deeper defensive position, but still failed to find a way through.  90 mins came and it all came down to a penalty shootout.

First, United keeper Doohan dived to his right to save from former United midfielder McKernon, but this would be his last save of the night. Rose put Ayr 1 – 0 up but then Gibson brought the Spiders all square.

It seemed written in the stars that Ayr’s title winning keeper Jordan Hart would come back to haunt his former team mates, and so it was to be.

First the keeper saved from Murdoch, sticking out his leg as he dived away from the shot, to frustrate the United midfielder. After both Mortimer (Queens Park), Shankland (Ayr) and Roberts (Queens Park) had netted, Hart saved from the usually reliable Forrest, diving to his left and palming away.

Queens Park only needed to net once more for victory and up stepped Osadolor to casually clip the ball high to his left and into the net. Ayr were out, and Queens Park move on into the next round.

Queens Park v Ayr United | Match Timeline

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Queens Park v Ayr United | Match Stats

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Queens Park v Ayr United | Media

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

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