The Reserves welcomed Airdrieonians Reserves to Townhead Park, Cumnock last Monday night for their final group game of the SPFL Reserve Challenge Cup. In their previous meeting this season in the SPFL Reserve League 2, Airdrie won 2-1, Leon Murphy’s opener having been cancelled out by Andrew Barrowman before Alistair Roy hit the winner.
This time, United looked handy in the opening stages and took the lead after 16 mins when Miller played the ball to Skeoch who went past several Airdrie defenders then slotted the ball into the net.
Airdrie were forced into an early substitution 26 mins in, with Hughes replacing the injured McNee. 5 mins later the ref showed the first yellow card of the game, Airdrie’s Ross booked for a late tackle on McKenzie.
Airdrie equalised on 33 mins when Roy shot from inside the box and the ball went into the net off the right-hand post. Airdrie then took the lead 8 mins later when Moore played a corner into the box and Roy headed it into the net.
At half time the snow started to fall, and it continued to get heavier throughout the second half with the result that, well before full time, the lines on the pitch could not be seen.
On 51 mins, the ball was cleared following an Airdrie corner and McCowan drove towards the box before playing a cross into Gillespie who fired the past the keeper. 2 – 2.
11 mins later Airdrie took the lead again. Roy took a shot from the edge of the box and was denied by a fantastic save from Hare-Reid, but Moore headed the rebound into the back of the net. There were shouts for offside, but referee Ross Hardie pointed to the halfway line, and the goal stood.
Airdrie made a substitution 4 mins later when Hawkshaw replaced Broanan. Ayr made their first substitutions of the game 8 mins later when Murphy and Smith replaced Gillespie and Skeoch.
10 mins before full-time Roy gained his hattrick when his shot from inside the box went straight into the back of the net.
Airdrie made another substitution 3 mins later when Kvol replaced Walker and Ayr made a double substitution 3 mins later when Goma and Connor replaced McGuffie and Baird.
The conditions had made much of the second half a lottery, but Airdrie held onto their lead and at full time the score remained, Ayr United (R) 2 v 4 Airdrieonians (R).
Airdrie’s win meant that they topped the group and will now face Livingston in the final of the SPFL Reserve Challenge Cup.