Wednesday 26 September 2018
Betfred Cup
HT   2 - 0
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Rangers v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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Rangers v Ayr United | Match Report

Honest Man

Michael Rose

United’s journey in the Betfred Cup came to an end at the Quarterfinal stage with a 4 – 0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox Stadium on Wednesday night. After a brave attacking opening to the match, United were eventually forced onto the back foot and goals from Katić, Middleton (2) and Morelos made it a comfortable victory for the Govan side.  Ayr played some attractive flowing football with excellent close inter-play but uncharacteristically failed to create much in the final third.

Ayr reintroduced Daniel Harvie at left back, shifted Liam Smith to his preferred right-back slot, and moved Andy Geggan into a midfield. Manager Ian McCall was forced to leave Michael Moffat on the bench as he recovered from an illness and Alan Forrest moved forward to partner Shankland up front.

It was United who went closest early on. Alan Forrest’s corner from the left was headed clear by Katić but Mark Kerr managed to flick the ball to Robbie Crawford at the edge of the box. Crawford controlled then unleashed a rising drive which Foderingham spectacularly saved with the finest of touches as he dived to his right tipping the ball over the bar.

There was nothing between the teams but suddenly Rangers were in front. On 16 mins United conceded a corner on the right. The ball was lifted into the centre of the box and Nikola Katić , first losing Michael Rose, leapt up between a ruck of players and headed powerfully into the net.

The goal seemed to settle the Rangers side who stepped up a gear with Ryan Kent and Glenn Middleton causing problems on the flank with their tricky and speedy play.

Ayr still stuck to their task and should have had the opportunity to draw level 9 mins later. A long ball by Rose eventually found Andy Murdoch on the right and he curled a delicious ball into the area and into the path of Forrest. Forrest appeared odds-on to score but was hauled to the ground by defender Jon Flanigan and astonishingly referee Madden waved appeals away.

Things only got worse for United as Middleton doubled Rangers’ lead on 30 mins. A delicate flick forward by Andy Halliday put Middleton through and into the box with no one between him and keeper Ross Doohan.  The winger moved in, chose his time, and slammed the ball into the net to put Rangers two up.

Any chances United had for a comeback were severely dented when Rangers scored early in the second half to bring their total to three. With just 3 mins gone of the second 45, a Rangers corner from the left was mishit by Ross McCrorie, too the faintest of flicks off Smith and arrived at Morelos two yards out and with his back to goal. With Andy Geggan close at his back, the striker managed used his body strength to engineer a turn and hit the ball home.

On 65 mins Rangers substitute Eros Grezda slid the ball through the United defence and into the path of Ryan Kent but keeper Doohan came to Ayr’s rescue with a brave save at the feet of the Rangers’ winger’s feet.

If the lights were flickering on United’s chances at 3 – 0 they went out with Rangers’ fourth on 69 mins.  Lawrence Shankland was dispossessed near the halfway line allowing Halliday to stroll forward and pierce the United defence with a ball between Jamie Adams and Michael Rose.  Middleton held off Rose as he darted into the box and onto the ball before striking a left-footed drive past Doohan and into the net.  4 – 0 to Rangers.

On 77 mins United went close. Smith raced down the right and lifted a cross to substitute Declan McDaid on the left. The winger appeared to be brought down but referee Madden let play go on as the ball landed wat Alan Forrest’s feet. Forrest snapped off a shot but unfortunately for the Ayr man the ball went wide.

2 mins later and it was Doohan’s chance to show his skills again. Oviemuno Ejaria played the ball out of his half to Kent on the left on the left. The winger made his way into the box before unleashing a powerful drive which Doohan palmed away at full stretch before recovering quickly and, with the assistance of Rose, close down Middleton forcing him to fire wide.

And so it finished. No semi-final appearance for United this season but its back to focussing on the League for the Honest men.

Rangers v Ayr United | Match Timeline

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Rangers v Ayr United | Match Stats

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Rangers v Ayr United | Media

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