United dropped to 4th in the Championship after a 2-0 defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. Jordan White opened the scoring in the first half before Miles Storey doubled Caley Thistle's lead after the break and secured all three points for the hosts at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness had the stronger start to the game and looked dangerous from the get-go with James Keatings putting the ball narrowly past the post twice in the opening 10 mins.
The hosts were dominant, attacking relentlessly, and took the lead with 20 mins on the clock. A pin-point pass from David Carson picked out Jordan White just inside the box and the striker turned and slammed the ball into the net to make it 1-0 Inverness.
Ayr had their backs against the wall and did not look confident with passes going astray and being easily intercepted by Inverness who were determined to get to the ball first and looked threatening every time they broke forward.
Caley kept pressing and continued to create chances, the best coming on 43 mins when only excellent goalkeeping from Doohan denied them a second goal. Miles Storey fired in a stinging shot from the edge of the box which looked goal-bound, but Ross Doohan tipped it over the bar and kept the scoreline, somewhat surprisingly, to only 1-0 at half time.
A disappointing statistic for United fans was that in the opening 45 mins Ayr had failed to record a shot on target.
United looked more inspired in the second half, but Inverness still had the clear upper hand and doubled their lead on 63 mins. A poor Ayr corner was picked up by Storey who broke down the left for an incredible 45-yard run into the box where he slotted the ball past Doohan into the net.
Doohan was tested again twice in close succession, first on 70 mins when a one-two between Keatings and Aaron Doran inside the penalty area took a deflection and forced the keeper to stretch to parry the ball away and again only moments later when the keeper palmed a Keatings effort away at the right-hand post.
Ayr got their first, and what would be their only, shot on target on 78 mins. Daniel Harvie sent a pass through to Mark McKenzie who broke forward for an attempt on goal, but Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers rushed off his line and went down to deny the substitute from close range.
Caley were in cruise control and almost added another goal on 87 mins when a corner came in and substitute Nikolay Todorov's first touch was cleared off the line by Stephen Kelly.
The hosts closed the game down and the final whistle sealed the 2-0 result.
Ayr drop to 4th in the table with Dunfermline now a point ahead and Dundee two behind. However, they hold a game in hand over their closest opponents.