Match Report written by Marc Roseblade. Tartan Kicks’ wants to thank Ayr United Ladies for providing this report.
Ayr Ladies took the initiative in their opening SWF Second Division League Cup match on Sunday, emerging 3-0 winner over visiting Stranraer to progress from the second round and march into the Quarter-Finals.
For the second game in a row, the Honest Lassies proved too strong for their South West rivals. An opening half goal from Robyn Cairns separated the teams at the break and a double from Rachel Scott once again put Stranraer to the sword.
After a weeks break in league play, the ladies were itching to get back into competitive play and keep their recent run of three victories going by adding another.
Ayr nearly got off to a quick-fire start and just 100 seconds into the game, the post denying Chanelle Hillhouse from opening the scoring but the signs were there that they could repeat the 5-0 victory they managed earlier this month against the same visitors.
Despite this, and other early chances, the Honest lassies failed to capitalise on their dominance and nearly paid for their lack of clinical finishing when Sloan, McBlain and Gillespie were all called upon to clear the ball from dangerous attacks on the home side’s goal. Goalie Docherty was also being tested and done well to clear a 1-on-1 situation with the Stranraer attacker bearing down on goal.
It says a lot for the Ayr players that they have faced some stiff opposition this season but weathered some fairly hefty storms during their games thus far and came out the other side with points in the bag by getting the goals when they count. That’s what they did here.
For all of Stranraer’s strong attacking play, they had nothing to show for it and with Ayr always looking dangerous, it would seem that a goal was not far from emerging. On 34 minutes, the opener did come when
Robyn Cairns sent a low rasping strike across goal, into the bottom right-hand corner to give her side a 1-0 advantage.
As the game approached half-time, Ayr was playing shooty-in at the Stranraer keeper who, to her credit, was having a fine game between the sticks.
Gillespie tried her luck but the keeper saved the strike. Scott tried to add another after dancing round two defenders but she also saw the keeper stop her shot. As the final few seconds of the first half were being played out, both Scott and McBlain headed over to keep the score at 1-0 as they eventually entered into the break.
It was to be the turn of Stranraer who would count themselves unfortunate not to grab an early goal in the second period, as only the quick reactions of keeper Docherty for Ayr saved the blushes of the home side with an excellent save to keep the scoreline at 1-0 after only two minutes of the second half.
Chance after chance was to be created by Ayr but strikes from Scott were to be saved or to fly over the bar. However, the striker’s perseverance was to pay dividends on 80 minutes as she fired home, into the bottom right-hand corner to double the Ayr lassies lead, and much to her own delight that finally she managed to get the ball past the impressive Stranraer keeper who had up to that point kept her at bay.
Basabe-Kerr and Smith were starting to inflict some pain on the visiting team’s back-line as they played the ball in behind the defenders, crossing into dangerous areas and generally twisting and turning the back-line into knots. It was to be Basabe-Kerr to initiated the third and final goal from this form of movement as she played the ball into Barbour who laid it off for Scott to stroke home, giving the Ayr side an unassailable 3-0 lead with two minutes left to play.
Relief was felt all around by the Ayr squad when the final whistle shrilled out at The Oval, as the Honest Lassies knew that luck and hard graft had played as much a part of this victory as skill and clinical finishing had.
The progression in the cup will see them face one of the following: Elgin City, Dundee United, Raith Rovers,Renfrew, Westerlands B, St Roch’s or Bayside Ladies. Quarter-Final draw will be made this coming Tuesday, April 26th. The ties will be played on May 15th.
The ladies now face the prospect of two free weeks as league duty resumes next week but Ayr being the free team. Nothing though can remove them from holding onto the second spot in the league tough as they sit four points in front of third-placed Pollock United.
Having been narrowly beaten earlier in the season by East Fife, they also find themselves free the week after as Scottish Cup duties take place.
Ayr United Ladies would like to thank their sponsors Shearer Heavy Haulage and The Fit Pit Troon for their continued support.
This was a real hard battle today, and hats off to Stranraer for making this a real competitive match. On another day, we could have been four or five up in the first half. Although we could also have been down two or three so it was one of those games that we’re simply thankful that we eventually got the victory and progressed to the next round of the cup.
Head Coach David Danaher.
Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) is an independent company, a Scottish registered charity, a Community Sports Hub, a Social Enterprise company and is incorporated as a not for profit Company Limited by guarantee. AUFA Pro Youth teams participate in SFA Club Academy Games Programme 1 and attained Silver Star status for season 2015-16. AUFA Ladies and girls teams participate within SFA Scottish Women’s Football group of leagues. Track the Academy via the website www.aufa.org.uk, Linkedin, Facebook or on Twitter.