Ladbrokes League One



by Hugh Maxwell and Calum Campbell

Pictures: David Sargent

A DEVASTATING five-minute goal scoring spell at Gayfield saw the Honest Men overtake Raith Rovers and go top of the table on goal difference.

Jubilant manager Ian McCall described his side's attacking performance in the second half as ‘irresistible’.

It was a second half to savour for United fans who continuously sang and encouraged the team in the chilly autumnal, Angus sunshine.

The first half was littered with few real clearcut chances for United with Arbroath having the upper hand and looking the most likely to take the lead. Robbie Crawford was United's biggest attacking threat in the opening 10 minutes with a couple of efforts on goal, however his first attempt flashed well wide before his next strike was comfortably saved by Hutton.

Arbroath grew into the game and put United under constant pressure.

In 14 minutes, defender O'Brien had time and space on the edge of the box but could only fire the ball over the bar from 18 yards. Five minutes later, Hamilton beat two United players and scraped a shot wide from 20 yards.

McCall had been forced into a defensive shuffle following a late injury to centre-back Chris Higgins. Tactically-aware McCall called for a reshuffle bringing Adams back to partner Michael Rose in the centre with David Ferguson moving to his more familiar right back slot and Andy Geggan stepping into midfield.

The best chance of the half for the hosts came in 28 minutes when they broke quickly from an Ayr attack. Linn was one-on-one with Jordan Hart but saw his shot saved well by the keeper before he fired the rebound off the bar from close range.

In 35 minutes, Ayr made Arbroath pay for their missed chances and opened the scoring through Lawrence Shankland. Michael Moffat cleverly slipped the ball through to the striker who squeezed it under the hand of Hutton and into the net.

Arbroath started better in the second half. Whatley's strike that was well saved by Hart in 49 minutes before Denholm just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross from Hamilton in 51 minutes.

Just as it looked like United could be heading into a tricky spell they grabbed a second goal thanks to some good fortune. In 53 minutes,+ Shankland set Moore through and his cross was met by Moffat whose attempt was saved by Hutton but rebounded off the hapless Gold and into the net.

Two quickly became three for Ayr when Shankland got his double in 56 minutes. Moffat picked the ball up on the right and drove forward before sending a low cross to Shankland who coolly slotted a shot beyond Hutton.

Arbroath were crumbling against Ayr’s attacking prowess. Crawford found Shankland who laid the ball off to Moore and his powerful drive bulged the net in 58 minutes.

Arbroath fell apart in the second half, but managed to claw one back through Swankie in 85 minutes when Ayr failed to clear and allowed Swankie to poke home from six yards.

It was a game in which Ayr were not at their best but their ruthlessness going forward in the second half was too much for Arbroath to handle.


1st Lawrence Shankland

2nd Michael Rose

3rd Jordan Hart