Saturday April 7, 2018
Ladbrokes League One
Dale Carrick 10
Robbie Crawford 37
Lawrence Shankland 70
An impressive Airdrie performance wasn’t enough to stop league leaders Ayr edging the match by the odd goal in three.
The Diamonds were looking for a repeat of their December victory over Ian McCall’s side to ensure there were no lingering relegation fears. It turned into a real end-to-end match with both sides missing opportunities in the first half.
Airdrie had an early threat when a cross from Sean McIntosh was met by Jake Hastie who sent his header straight at goalkeeper Jordan Hart after two minutes.
Ayr’s first attempt came after six minutes when striker Lawrence Shankland attempted a speculative lob from around 40 yards having seen Rohan Ferguson just off his line, however the ball drifted over the crossbar.
With ten minutes played Luke Watt’s excellent free kick delivery was headed into the back of the net by Dale Carrick to put the home side in front.
A very open match followed with chances at both ends.
Declan McDaid struck a powerful shot just wide of Ferguson’s goal while Hastie and then Watt sent shots wide of the Ayr goal.
Scott Stewart landed awkwardly after a 17th minute challenge, and the Diamonds lost a key player when the wide man couldn’t continue.
After 25 minutes Shankland made good space for himself down the left then cut back before sending a terrific curling shot that Ferguson touched on to the bar.
Three minutes later an excellent run in behind to the line by full back Kieran MacDonald was followed by a decent cross, with former Diamond Paddy Boyle making a timely interception in front of goal to send the ball away for a corner as Tom Fry raced in to meet the ball.
There were only eight minutes of the first half remaining when Ayr scored the equaliser. A great ball from the right by Andy Geggan found Robbie Crawford at the back post in lots of space and he had time to send the ball into the net.
As the half time whistle approached a Cammy Russell cross picked out Carrick whose header was just wide of goal, and Hastie had another effort blocked before the break.
Two minutes after the restart, Airdrie were indebted to Ferguson who made a superb double save from Craig Moore and then Shankland, while the visitors had the ball in the net in the 55th minute before it was correctly ruled offside.
Russell’s effort from 20 yards was well judged by Hart while Carrick could not make good contact after receiving a fine pass from Watt.
With 19 minutes remaining the League One frontrunners took the lead after some neat inter-passing took Ayr through the Airdrie back line with Shankland on hand to add the finishing touch.
11 minutes remained when Hastie weaved his way into the box, having received the ball wide left. He was able to get his shot way but it struck the post. The midfielder picked up a in the process while Boyle was also forced off injured.
Ferguson made another decent save from Alan Forrest late in the match while Watt was extremely unfortunate to receive a second yellow in an incident where both players were holding each other.
Results elsewhere make Ayr favourites to win the title while Airdrie can plan ahead knowing they remain in League One next term.
Referee: Mr Colin Steven
John O'Brien at Excelsior Stadium
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
6. Watt ▊▊
7. Stewart 🔽 (19)
9. Carrick ⚽
11. Hastie 🔽 (81)
14. R Brown
15. Fry 🔼 (19)
18. A Brown 🔼 (81)
3. Boyle 🔽 (81)
6. Geggan 🔽 (61)
8. Crawford ⚽
11. McDaid 🔽 (65)
17. Shankland ⚽
10. Forrest 🔼 (81)
12. McGuffie 🔼 (65)
14. Ferguson 🔼 (61)