Played at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on Saturday, 26th March 2011 at 15:00
Stenhousemuir v Ayr United at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 26.3.11
Irn Bru Scottish Second Division Att 568
Stenhousemuir 2 [Lynch 3, Devlin 90] Ayr United 1 [Roberts 90]
Stenhousemuir made several changes from the side that drew with Peterhead in midweek, Scott Fusco was deemed fit enough to play instead of the suspended Gary Thom, Eric Paton had shaken off the knock he received at Airdrie and replaced Lewis Sloan whilst Scott Dalziel also came back into the starting eleven after struggling recently with injuries and Alex Williams dropped out of the squad. Brian Gilmour once again featured in the second of his trial games.
Stenhousemuir took the lead in the third minute of the game when Simon Lynch scored from the edge of the box when he was picked out by a Stevie Murray cross.
The home side had a chance to double their lead in the 10th minute with Stevie Murray once again the supplier but striker Scott Dalziel was unable to take full advantage when his control let him down.
Stenhousemuir continued to play the better football throughout the early stages and they had another good scoring opportunity through a passing combination of Lynch and Lyle with the latter hitting his effort wide. Ayr rarely threatened though a Martyn Campbell header went well over in the 34th minute, but it was the Warrior’s who looked the more likely to score and Scott Dalziel did all the hard work as he turned Jim Laughlan but with only the keeper to beat hit a powder puff effort that was comfortably saved
In the 38th minute a long ball caught the home defence napping and although Michael Moffat was only able to hit the side netting with his effort it seemed to be the catalyst in waking Ayr up.
In the 43rd minute Alan Trouten came even closer with an effort that Ally Brown tipped onto the post and although Stuart Bannigan converted he had been offside when the initial shot occurred and the ‘goal’ was disallowed.
If the first half had seen Stenhousemuir on top it was a totally different story in the second with Ayr being the dominant force. Ally Brown was forced into another fine stop, this time one handed, to deny Andy Rodgers after he had been played through by Moffat in the 56th minute. A minute later he was to be denied once again by the alert Brown and then the keeper saved a Bannigan effort.
Ayr were pushing hard for the equaliser but Stenhousemuir could have extended their lead either side of half time with Dalziel firing just wide of the target with the outside of his foot then Eric Paton played the ball behind the Ayr defence for Simon Lynch who picked out Stevie Murray but his effort was wild and failed to trouble Alan Martin in the Ayr goal. Brown came to Stenhousemuir’s rescue once again in the 65th minute when he saved a Jonathan Tiffoney shot at close range after the defender had made a strong run into the box with the home defence floundering. The Warriors responded with another attack that saw Paton miss from 6 yards out after the ball was prodded into his path by Dalziel
The game in the main though was in the Stenhousemuir half of the pitch and Rodgers saw a curled effort go just the wrong side of the post and this was followed by a Ryan McCann strike that hit the crossbar. Rodgers then had a chipped effort drift just over before Ayr eventually equalised in the 90th minute when Mark Roberts scored from 12 yards out.
Their joy was to be short lived however as in the third minute of time added on Stenhousemuir scored the winning goal with a diving header by Michael Devlin and secured victory and an all important three points in the battle against relegation.
For Devlin it was his second goal in two weeks since joining on loan from Hamilton Academical and the 17 year old picked up the man of the match award from the sponsors for his efforts.
With Peterhead drawing at Alloa the significance of picking up all three points as opposed to just one could be vital at the end of the season and also gives the club a morale boost for the forthcoming games.
Stenhousemuir – Brown, Lyle, Dickson, Fusco, Devlin, Gilmour [Quinn 79] Anderson [Hunter 76], Lynch [Sloan 69], Dalziel, Paton and Murray.Subs not used - Clark and McCluskey
Ayr United – Martin, Tiffoney, Smith, Laughlan, Campbell [Easton 60], McCann, Trouten, McLaughlin, Moffat, Rodgers and Bannigan [Roberts 75]. Subs not used- , Woodburn, Robertson and Crawford
Referee – Bobby Madden