Blues bounce back to make their point

Jamie Longworth celebrates opening the scoreing 1 0
Jamie Longworth celebrates opening the scoreing 1 0

Stranraer 1, Ayr United 1

With the home games coming thick and fast, it was the turn of Ayr United to make the short journey down the A77 last weekend.

The match saw the sides experiencing the biggest possible contrast in form, with the visitors buoyant having won their previous two matches while Stranraer not being yet finding the net or earning a point.

Stranraer were without the suspended Chris Aitken but had moved during the week to bring in defender Scott Rumsby on loan from Aberdeen, with manager Stephen Aitken unhappy with recent defensive lapses.

The manager said he was looking for a reaction to the midweek defeat by Annan and the players delivered with a terrific opening half-hour during which they dominated their rivals.

This was underlined with a superb opening goal after a great run by Sean Winter down the right. He completely outfoxed Gordon Pope and Anthony Marenghi and left them trailing in his wake before getting to the line and squaring the ball to Jamie Longworth who couldn’t miss and turned the ball home.

The visitors created a break and when Scott McLaughlin found Michael Donald on the right, he cut inside and curled a shot at goal but it was always too high to trouble David Mitchell.

A couple more chances in quick succession for the Blues saw Ryan Borris shoot wide and then Winter ran on to a neat pass from Andy Stirling but drilled his low drive across the goal.

With just under 10 minutes to the interval, and having hardly threatened, Ayr grabbed the equaliser. Michael Moffat knocked a header down to Craig Malcolm and the former Blues striker laid the ball into the path of Michael McGowan who curled a lovely shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Stranraer came back out again firing on all cylinders and almost snatched the lead straight away. Gallagher played a one-two with Winter and unleashed a rasping drive that had David Hutton clutching at thin air but flew inches wide of the far post.

If the second half saw Ayr have a few half chances, Stranraer could had the clearer cut ones. David McKenna was played through the middle and tried to lob the ball over Hutton but his effort failed. McKenna and Mark Corcoran then tried to reach a through ball and either of them may have succeeded but for the quick actions of Hutton who cleared.

Stranraer saved the best chance till last in a rousing finish. A poor clearance from Pope found Borris on halfway and he embarked on a run towards goal. He reached the edge of the box and with just Hutton to beat his his shot over the bar.

Stranraer manager Stephen Aitken thought the Blues had shown a tremendous response from the two games in the past week and deserved to have won.

Stranraer: David Mitchell, Scott Rumsby, David MacGregor, Scott Robertson, Frank McKeown, Andy Stirling (Adam Forde 86), Sean Winter, Grant Gallagher, Martin Grehan (Mark Corcoran 78), Jamie Longworth (David McKenna 70), Ryan Borris. Subs not used: Lloyd Kinnaird, Mark Docherty, Kieron Maxwell, Chris Fahey

Booked: Grehan, Winter

Goal: Longworth 8

Ayr United: David Hutton, Adam Hunter, Gordon Pope, Martyn Campbell, Alan Lithgow, Scott McLaughlin, Michael McGowan (Alan Forrest 79), Anthony Marenghi (Robbie Crawford 75), Michael Moffat, Craig Malcolm (Mark Roberts 79), Michael Donald. Subs not used: Mark Shankland, Josh McArthur, Aaron Wylie, William Muir.

Booked: Lithgow, Donald, McGowan, McLaughlin, Pope

Goal: McGowan 37

Attendance: 845

Referee: D Roache