Ladbrokes League One



By Stewart McConnell

Pictures: David Sargent

IRREPRESSIBLE Ayr made it a magnificent seven wins in a row as they edged out feisty Rovers in a five-goal thriller at Somerset Park.

Defender Chris Higgins atoned for an earlier mistake to pop up with the winner which helped the leaders stretch their unbeaten run to a remarkable 11 games and maintain their three-point advantage at the top of the table.

But they did it the hard way, twice regaining the lead after being pegged back by the visitors.

And they had to dig deep in what was a physical encounter, ultimately having to win ugly as you often have to do in testing conditions like these.

Albion had the first chance of the match in five minutes when former Ayr man Scott McLaughlin shot well over the bar from 25 yards. At the other end a minute later skipper Ross Docherty sent a cross a from 22 yards into the box but found no takers for it and the ball spun wide of target.

Then another chance came the way of Rovers in 10 minutes when Gary Fisher sent a 25-yard effort well over the bar.

Then in 13 minutes home striker Lawrence Shankland, who earlier this week signed a deal to stay for the rest of the season, curled in a shot from 20 yards which was smothered by visiting goalie Daniel Potts.

However in 16 minutes the hosts seized the lead when Michael Moffat sent a precision pass to Craig Moore who rolled the ball under the goalie and into the net from eight yards, much to the delight of the vociferous home fans.

Craig Reid shot just high and wide from 25 yards for Ayr two minutes later.

Albion levelled with a freak goal in 25 minutes when Chris Higgins fluffed an attempted clearance and namesake Sean Higgins lobbed the ball over the head of home goalie Jordan Hart and into the net from 25 yards.

United had a very lucky escape on the half hour when Chris Higgins slipped and gifted possession to Sean Higgins, but luckily this time the goalscorer shot over the bar from 16 yards in 31 minutes. Then a minute later at the other end Moffat hit the post from 12 yards.

Albion were a much improved outfit from the team who were hammered 5-1 by United in August.

Ian McCall's men were so unlucky in 43 minutes when a flashing header by Michael Rose from a Docherty cross crashed off the post from 10 yards.

At half-time Ayr made two changes with Brian Gilmour making way for Declan McDaid and goalscorer Moore being replaced by Craig McGuffie.

United had a goalden chance in 62 minutes when McGuffie picked up a pass just outside the box but shot across the face of goal with just Daniel Potts to beat.

Jordan Hart made a wonder save from a Jason Marr header six yards out but the player was taken off injured.

Shankland shot home from eight yards for United in 70 minutes but the flag had gone up for offside.

The Honest Men came close in 72 minutes when an Alan Forrest shot from 10 yards was saved but Shankland blasted wide from all of two yards. However less than a minute later McDaid set up Shankland who drove a shot home from 10 yards,

However a minute later indecision in the home defence saw former Ayr favourite Alan Trouten drill the ball home from 10 yards.

However in 75 minutes, United were back in front whe Forrest had a shot saved and Chris Higgins thundered the ball home from 10 yards.

The hosts came so close again in 83 minutes when a rasping shot from Shankland after a Forrest cross was brilliantly turned round the post by Potts.

AYR UNITED: Hart: Higgins, Rose, Ferguson, Gilmour (McDaid 46); Moore (McGuffie 46); Ferguson, Shankland, Docherty (Forrest 67); Adams, Reid. Subs not used: Avci, Faulds, Waite, Murphy.

ALBION ROVERS: Potts; Reid, McLaughlin, Marr (Lightbody 65); Perry, Holmes, Fisher, Davidson, Shields, Trouten, Higgins (Vitoria 48); Subs not used: McMullan, Hopkins, Guthrie, Fallon, Natters.


Lawrence Shankland 3

Craig Reid 2

Chris Higgins 1

Attn: 1475

Referee: Craig Charleston.