Ladbrokes Championship



by Iain Martin

AN injury-depleted Ayr United squad took the long road north to Inverness, hoping to get their first win in five games, but lost out to a 64th min goal by the hosts.

However, with other results helping them, they remain second in the league just three points behind leaders Ross County with a game in hand.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle were first out of the traps, with a Liam Polworth shot supplied by Jordan White whistling past the left-hand post of the Ayr United goal within 40 seconds. An early warning from the hosts that they were determined to get only their second home win of the season that Ayr would do well to heed. With a further two minutes on the clock, Ayr attempted their first attack. Michael Rose intercepted a pass from the attacking Inverness and headed the ball to Moffat, who passed it through to Moore, who in turn passed it on to the advancing Geggan. Sliding the ball neatly past two Inverness defenders and into the path of the Moffat, the Ayr striker headed goalwards, but his shot was weak and was easily stopped by Ridgers.

In 11 minutes, Moffat sent a long cross-field pass from left to right which was collected by Craig Moore, who sent the ball scudding in to the area where Moffat was by now waiting for the delivery, but the striker was unable to control the ball and it trundled out harmlessly for a goal kick.

Play was fast and frenetic, but both teams struggled to retain possession, seemingly intent on passing to their opponents rather than team members and neither side possessing the clinical touch.

From the start of the second half, ICT began to impose themselves more, retaining possession better and making multiple attempts on the United goal. Although Ayr had their chances with shots coming in from McDaid and Moore, the ball stayed resolutely outside the goal. A poor pass from Moffat on 51 minutes saw ICT break forward, eventually finding Jordan White free in space with only Michael Rose to beat. Rose's sliding tackle was enough to put the ICT striker off though and the ball was collected by Doohan to snub out another attempt to open the scoring.

The deadlock was broken in 64 minutes when a misplaced pass by Declan McDaid saw ICT get the ball in the centre circle. Aaron Doran took the ball out to the left and evading the attention of David Ferguson crossed into the box from the goal line. Missing everyone though, the ball seemed destined to go out for a throw-in, but Sean Welsh whipped a cross in from the right and it was met full on the head by Jordan White to send it into the back of the net.

With only the three outfield substitutes on the bench, options were limited for Ian McCall in ringing the changes. Craig McGuffie came on in the 67th minute to replace Geggan, Higgins took the place of McDaid in 73 minutes and the final change saw McCowan come on for Moore 6 minutes later. Steven Bell pushed up into a more attacking role for the remainder of the game. But ICT were determined to retain their lead and made it difficult for Ayr to break through their defence.


Michael Moffat 3

Steven Bell 2

Rose 1

AYR UNITED: Doohan; Harvie, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, Crawford, Moore, McDaid, Ferguson, Bell, Docherty Subs: Hare-Reid, Higgins, McGuffie, McCowan.

Referee: William Collum

Attendance: 2,283