UNITED continued their pre-season programme with a 2-0 defeat against the Premier Division side in a closely contested closed doors game at Somerset Park on Saturday.

The first half saw Ayr totally dominate, witrh Motherwell struggling to cope with the speed and attacking football. Declan McDaid and Alan Forrest caused problems for them on the wings and Craig Moore and Michael Moffat linked up well up front.

At the back Chris Higgins and Michael Rose looked comfortable, with the latter a standout throughout the 90 minutes - confident, controlled, hard-tackling and distributing well with his head and feet, Rose shone in the Somerset Park sun.

It was 0-0 at half-time although Ayr looked the most likely to score. However Motherwell came out with a more positive approach the United defence seemed to deal easily with any attacking movement. It therefore came as a shock when the Steelmen broke forward, and after a neat piece of interplay scored in a stunning and unstoppable fashion, the ball swerving at pace from left to right into the top corner, leaving Jordan Hart stranded.

After this there were the numerous line-up changes and although United continued having the upper hand in possession, Motherwell tied it all up with only a minute to go. And what a stunner it was, a drive from some 25 yards out on the right, rocketed into the net , eaving Ayr's trialist keeper with no chance.

After the match, manager Ian McCall seemed pleased with the shape of things and the three pre-season matches in general in which Ayr have won two and lost one. He pointed out that these games have all been part of the plan to work up match fitness before the season starts in earnest and that the score wasn't what mattered, it was the workout and continuing build-up to the season.