IT was yet another free flowing, ruthless five-star performance this time from an experimental Ayr side last night, as they progressed safely to round two of the Irn Bru Cup. 

Debut goals from highly rated prospects Leon Murphy and Luke McGowan and strikes from Craig Moore, Alan Forrest and Brian Gilmour ensured that United again impressed on the attacking front.  Derek Ure netted East Stirlingshire's counter. 

The game started with East Stirlingshire trying hard to make a point with strikes from Derek Ure and former Ayr man Andy Rodgers in the opening four minutes, giving United a warning that nothing could be taken for granted against the Lowland League club.

As Ayr started to take control it looked like they would have a great chance for an early opener when Forrest made his way into the box, appeared to be clipped and then toppled to the ground. Referee Munro, however, decided that the forward had dived and booked him for simulation which appeared hard on the United man.
Murphy had been handed his first competitive start for Ayr and finally got them up and running with a low driven shot in 25 minutes.

Gilmour doubled the advantage in 36 minutes when he received the ball in the penalty area and poked it into the bottom corner.

Just as Ayr looked to be going into half-time with a comfortable two goal lead Ayr, the home side pulled a goal back through Derek Ure.  Ayr failed to clear and Ure smashed the ball goalward through a ruck of players from around 25 yards. Goalkeeper Jordan Hart was unsighted and could only react to the ball late and by that time it had passed him and was nestling in the back of the net. 
‘The Shire’ may have hoped that their goal would lead to a fightback but Ayr turned the screw in the second half and regained their two-goal advantage on 54 minutes when Forrest cleverly found Craig McGuffie on the right. McGuffie cut the ball back for Moore who controlled then slammed the ball into the top left-hand corner from the edge of the box.

The ruthless mood Ayr have been in this season was evident again when they added a fourth four minutes later.  Moore chested the ball off to Forrest on the edge of the area and he drove the ball over Barclay and into the net. This was quite a delicious strike.

Young substitute McCowan rounded off the scoring when he added a fifth in 87 minutes.  A clever Moffat back heel was met by McGowan who quickly got his shot away and directed it accurately into the bottom corner.
Ayr progress to round two and boss Ian McCall will be pleased that the youngsters, who were handed the opportunity to impress tonight, didn’t let him, or the 190 travelling supporters, down. 

Stuart Faulds 3

Craig Moore 2

 David Ferguson 1.
EAST STIRLINGSHIRE - Barclay, McCormack, Allison, Greene, Grant, McGregor, Rodgers, D. Ure, Faulds, Sludden, Ramsay.  Substitutes Kelbie, Brisbane, White, Peddie, I. Ure (gk).
AYR UNITED: Hart; Higgins, Gilmour, Moore, Forrest, McGuffie, Ferguson, Faulds, Waite, Murphy, Reid.  Substitutes Avci (gk), Rose, Moffat, Hilton, Balfour, McGowan.

Referee: David Munro

Attendance: 274