Ayr United v Stenhousemuir at Somerset Park, Ayr on 29.3.14
SPFL Division One Att 992
Ayr United 2 [Moffat 65, Forrest 67] Stenhousemuir 3 [Greenhalgh 20, Higgins 87 pen, Gemmell 90]
Ayr United – Hutton [b88], McGowan, Pope [b86], Campbell, Lithgow [b71], Gilmour [b26], McLaughlin, Hunter, Moffat, Malcolm [Kyle 89] and Marenghi [Forrest 50]. Subs not used – Shankland, McAusland, Longridge, Roberts and Newman.
Stenhousemuir – C.Smith, Devlin, Greacen, McMillan[b9] [Lawson 12], McKinlay, Rowson, Dickson [Gemmell 64], Lynch [Douglas 81], Greenhalgh, Higgins and Watt. Subs not used – Summers, Faulds, Shaw and McNeil.
Referee – Des Roache Assistants – Brian McGarry and Graham Grainger.
The Warriors went into this game knowing that they really needed a win to keep their play-off hopes alive as their opponents Ayr were seven points ahead before this match and only six games left.
Stenhousemuir were missing Eddie Malone, Bryan Hodge and Darren Smith through injury but they had a new recruit to the side with Ben Greenhalgh having signed from Inverness Caledonian Thistle before the game.
The 21 year old from Orpington almost made a dream start for Stenhousemuir as he came close to opening the scoring in the 7th minute when he headed a Josh Watt corner goalwards but was denied by a great reflex save by David Hutton.
Two minutes later the Ayr keeper and Ross McMilan were involved in a collision and the Warriors skipper was cautioned. A minute later McMillan went down with no one around and was coughing blood up. He was subbed after a couple of minutes treatment and taken to hospital for precautionary observation. This meant that Alan Lawson came on to replace him, his first appearance for a while and the first time the 19 year old has played centre back in the first team.
Ayr had a chance in the 16th minute when Stuart Malcolm shot wide after Michael McGowan had won the ball on the half way line, but it was Stenhousemuir who opened the scoring in the 20th minute. A Nicky Devlin throw to Sean Higgins was played into the box and Greenhalgh had time to chest the ball down before steering the ball into the net from 8 yards out.
There was a scare at the other end in the 25th minute when ex-Warrior McGowan showed vision to attempt a shot from just inside the Stenhousemuir half and with the assistance of the wind the ball flew just over the bar with Chris Smith scrambling to get back. This gave Ayr a lift and Adam Hunter tested Smith with a long range shot two minutes later.
Stenhousemuir were playing the better football though and Greenhalgh almost got his second in the 28th minute when he picked up a loose ball before seeing his effort go the wrong side of the post with Hutton beaten.
In the closing stages of the half Ayr almost got the equaliser with a little help from Stenhousemuir. The first chance came in the 40th minute when David Rowson failed to usher the ball out of play and Michael Moffat nipped in to set up Scott McLaughlin but he fired over the bar from close range. The last action of the half saw a Stuart Malcolm shot almost sneak in with Chris Smith having to save at the second attempt as the ball eluded his grasp.
Stenhousemuir had a decent chance in the 61st minute when Josh Watt crossed to Greenhalgh who laid the ball off to Sean Higgins but he failed to strike the ball cleanly and it went wide of the target. That looked to be a costly miss as Ayr equalised in the 65th minute. A long ball by McGowan was met by Moffat who had timed his run to beat the offside trap and he got the better of Lawson with clever footwork before firing in his 26th goal of the season. Two minutes later Ayr were ahead when sub Alan Forrest scored from close range after being picked out by a Gordon Pope cross. They almost got their third in the 77th minute when Alan Lithgow headed wide as Stenhousemuir were going through their worst spell of the game.
They managed to regroup and were handed a lifeline in the 86th minute when Gordon Pope handled an Errol Douglas header in the box. Sean Higgins converted the penalty. Two minutes later Watt was denied by a one handed save by Hutton. The Warriors were showing urgency as they tried to get the winner and Chris Smith was pushed up front to try and get on the end of the resultant corner but without success.
In the 91st minute though the Warriors got a well-deserved winner though when Watt set up Higgins who shot towards goal but it looks as if John Gemmell managed to divert the effort past Hutton and into the net. Higgins was credited with the goal at the time though. In the end the most important thing was that the Warriors kept their play-off hopes alive.
|March 29, 2014||3:00 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1||2013/2014||90'|
|Somerset Park, Ayr|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|