Saturday August 31, 2013

SPFL League One

Ayr United

2-2

Moffat 12, 17

Airdrieonians

Boyle 4
Blockley 37

Airdrie were left to rue Willie McLaren's penalty miss as they left Somerset Park with only a point against nine-man Ayr United.

After taking an early lead, Jimmy Boyle's men fell behind to two Michael Moffat strikes before restoring parity before half time.

But two straight red-cards for the Honest Men saw them dig in and produce a dogged defensive display to keep the Diamonds at bay, and they could have won the game themselves.

Winger McLaren was one of five changes to the starting line-up knocked out of the League Cup by Livingston on Tuesday night.

Andy Duncan took over in goal following Colin Stewart's midweek departure from the Club. Young full back Chris O'Neil came back in following suspension, and was joined in the defence by Mick O'Byrne who replaced Gregor Buchanan.

An injury to Martin Hardie saw him sit out the game, replaced by Liam Watt, and McLaren came in for Garry Hay.

Airdrie got off to a flying start when a ball across the Ayr box was cleared only as far as Paddy Boyle, who took a touch before lashing an unstoppable effort beyond the despairing dive of David Hutton.

It took Ayr only 8 minutes to level the scores, the impressive Michael Moffat jinking past O'Byrne in the penalty area and calmly slotting past Duncan.

And Moffat was the Ayr hero on 17 minutes, getting on the end of a Donald cutback to fire home.

Ayr threatened again through defender Adam Hunter, but his effort from range was just too high.

Airdrie's equaliser came in simple fashion on 37 minutes after a Willie McLaren free kick was deflected wide for a corner.

McLaren himself swung the ball in, and found Nathan Blockley completely unmarked to nod home.

The Diamonds stepped up the pressure before half-time, Lewis Coult being at the centre of some good attacking play but finding Ayr keeper Hutton in inspired form.

Five minutes into the second half, Airdrie had a penalty.

Liam Coogans, a half-time substitute, played a ball across the box which was returned to him by Mick O'Byrne. Ayr defender Gordon Pope came crashing into O'Byrne as he played the pass, and referee Andrew Dallas awarded the penalty and showed Pope the red card.

Willie McLaren stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Hutton guessed right and saved.

Only three minutes later, Ayr were down to nine men, substitute Alan Forrest going over the ball on Airdrie sub Gregor Buchanan.

It was a bad challenge which ended Buchanan's involvement in the game, and Dallas had no choice but to send Forrest off.

Despite the numerical advantage, the Diamonds failed to make Ayr pay, and a determind defensive display coupled with some energetic counter-attacking from Moffat and Malcolm meant that Ayr at times looked the more likely to take the three points.

However, poor finishing and some good saves from both goalkeepers kept the scores level and the match finished two apiece.

Stuart Mathie at Somerset Park.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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