Ladbrokes Championship



By Stewart McConnell

UNITED exited stage left to the sounds of iconic Fleetwood Mac anthem Don’t Stop

(Thinking About Tomorrow) on Saturday.

It was used with great effect by Bill Clinton as a campaign song on his way to winning the United States Presidency.

Like Clinton against incumbent George Bush, United are frontrunners after this draw extended their lead at the top to five points. And like the 42nd President, Ayr will also be hoping to be triumphant at the end of the race in April.

Form horses Ayr went into this match in very confident mood, having lost just one of their previous seven games.

Before the match got underway there was a minute’s silence for Ayr United legendary goalkeeper David Stewart.

Home winger Declan McDaid needed treatment for a knock in four minutes but was able to continue.

Mark Kerr sent a pass aimed at Lawrence Shankland in six minutes but defender Gregor Buchanan nicked the ball off his toe. Less than a minute later, Robbie Crawford made a surging run into the box before having his eight-yard effort saved by Derek Gaston. Then great play by Craig Moore won Ayr a corner in 10 minutes but it came to nothing.

At the other end a minute later a Charlie Telfer free-kick was well saved by Ross Doohan.

United came very close in 24 minutes when livewire McDaid whipped a cross into the box and Buchanan cleared the danger.

‘Ton came close on the half hour when Gary Oliver raced into the box before having his shot from 16 yards well saved by Doohan.

The home goalie raced out to save Oliver’s feet in 36 minutes.

United had a real let-off in 39 minutes when the unmarked Bob McHugh raced into the box and shot just wide with the goalie to beat. A minute later a strong Shankland shot produced a fine one-handed save by Gaston.

A great opportunity was spurned by Ayr two minutes after the break when Craig Moore sent a header from six yards just over the bar. Less than a minute later a Robbie Crawford volley from eight yards was well saved. Then in 50 minutes a Kerr rocket from 16 yards was smothered by the visiting goalie.

United were reduced to 10 men in 61 minutes when Moore was red-carded for kicking out at Buchanan in retaliation to a kick from the visiting player.

There was another lucky escape for Ayr in 67 minutes when an Oliver shot from 16 yards hit the misuse of the post.

Ayr continued to attack and in 76 minutes a fierce effort from 18 yards by Liam Smith was saved by Gaston.

In 79 minutes Andy Geggan was replaced by Danny Harvie.

Crawford saw his audacious 45-yard effort easily saved by Gaston in 83 minutes

A cross-cum shot from 25 yards by Reghan Tumilty was confidently clutched by Doohan five minutes later.

A minute from time a strong shot from Buchanan was cleared off the line by Michael Moffat.