Ladbrokes League One
By Calum Campbell
"GET down to Somerset Park and get this place rocking", United manager Ian McCall had urged.
 "Midweek matches under the lights are special," proclaimed the advertising and "this team is worth watching", said those in the know. 
Well, no-one disappointed on a night when United dominated fellow title challengers, Raith, and put them to the sword in front of a raucous crowd of 2,040.
"It’s hard not to get excited by performances such as these and while acknowledging the quality and potential Ian McCall kept his feet solidly on the ground. 
"In the first half we were terrific’ said the gaffer ‘the third goal was a good team goal and it put a fair reflection on the scoreline, but we know that it’s only one game and there’s a long, long way to go," he added.
With his team performing at such a high standard, McCall is aware that other clubs are keeping tabs on his players with Robbie Crawford high on their lists. 
"In the first half he was sensational,"the manager enthused. "There were a lot of folks watching him tonight, so enjoy him when he’s here. He’s potentially top class."
Although Raith came out of the stalls at pace, it was United who looked the more threatening and took the edge off the Rovers with a well-crafted goal in 15 minutes. Skipper  Ross Docherty found David Ferguson on the right and his cross was collected by Michael Moffat in the box. Moffat controlled the ball and held off defenders before slipping it to his striking partner, Lawrence Shankland, who with his back to goal, turned outside defender Robertson, before slamming the ball past keeper Smith and into the net. Ayr were one up and wouldn’t have to wait long before doubling their lead. 
Six minutes later Crawford doubled United’s lead with a goal that was a thing of beauty and again Moffat was there with the assist.  Moffat picked up a ball from Shankland some 25 yards out on the left, turned, feigned a shot, created space before finding Crawford on the edge of the left side of the box with an inch perfect pass. Crawford seemed to relish the challenge of Jason Thomson moving in to mark him. With a deft flick to his right and a sharp increase of pace the United man made himself space to crisply curl the ball over the keeper’s head, off the underside of the bar and into the net. Thomson was left lying on the ground dumbfounded at the skill while keeper Smith could only look, disconsolately, at the ball that nestled behind him.
That Crawford had managed to put such pace and employed such perfect control at what appeared to be half way through his step was astonishing and must have had the scouts in the stand drooling and reaching for their mobile phones.
As Rovers boss Barry Smith later said his team "never recovered after Ayr scored".
And, as much as Raith huffed and puffed, United were firmly in command with Docherty, Jamie Adams, Andy Geggan and Crawford dominating the midfield battleground.  What was most surprising was that the men from Kirkcaldy did not have one memorable attempt in the whole first 45 minutes.
The first half masterclass from United also saw a Paddy Boyle drive smothered by Smith, Michael Rose’s deft flick scrambled off the line, and a left-footed drive from Moffat, after a solo breakaway, go over the bar from the edge of the box. And there were more!
Raith re-arranged at the break, desperate to get something from the game, pushing players forward in an attempt to put pressure on the United back four. Vaughan was first to try his luck with a shot from the edge of the box going into the side netting but with keeper Jordan Hart seeming to have it well covered.
In 49 minutes, after Jamie Adams had been unceremoniously brought down, Rose rifled a low free kick from 20 yards through the Raith wall which keeper Smith could only block and let squirm from his grasp.
Moffat was first to pounce but Smith threw himself in front again and the ball was deflected wide before being hooked clear. 
In 57 minutes, Raith showed their first real moment of quality and it came close to clawing one back. Vaughan found himself boxed in at the corner on the right but used good body strength to get away from Ross Docherty before nutmegging Paddy Boyle as he made his way into the penalty area along the line.  The midfielder dragged the ball back to substitute Court but as the ball returned to Vaughan the offside flag was raised and although the ball was eventually headed into the net by Buchanan it wouldn’t count.
Just four minutes later, Ayr should have gone further ahead when Adams was tripped in the box by McHattie.  
The usually reliable Michael Moffat stepped up but put the ball well over the bar in an attempt describe laughingly by his manager as "probably the worst ever seen at Somerset Park". A miss was certainly not what the tireless striker deserved, his link-up play and chance creation being first class and admirable.
Ayr continued to make chances while the backline soaked up all that the Raith attack could throw at them with Rose, Higgins, Ferguson, Boyle and Hart looking both defensively solid while ready to ignite forward movement.
Seven minutes from time Raith did manage one last chance through substitute Spence.  Creating space at the edge of the box, the Raith striker smashed a drive through the legs of Higgins but the unsighted Jordan Hart got down quickly and saved well at his right-hand post.
Ayr moved straight back up the pitch as the excitement built yet again. Crawford found himself clear in the box on the left, but his shot was blocked by Smith. Raith players were throwing their bodies in front of players, Smith again blocked, this time from Shankland, before substitute Craig Moore’s follow up drive thumped off a wall of players and clear. 
It looked like the icing on the cake just wouldn’t come, but it did, and in the sweetest of all fashions. 90 + 2 mins on the clock and late substitute Alan Forrest picked up the ball in his own half before driving forward to some 30 yards out then slipping the ball diagonally to Geggan in space at the edge of the ball on the right. The defence were pulled one way and then the other as Geggan then expertly lifted the ball to the back post where on-rushing Moore headered the ball home. Somerset Park erupted, and would do so again just one minute later when referee Barry Cook blew his whistle for full-time.
Scintillating stuff from the Honest Men who had not one failure either on the park or terraces or stand. 
Next up, the long journey north to Spain Park, Aberdeen on Saturday to face SJFA North Premier League side, and prolific goal scorers, Banks o’Dee in the Scottish Cup. 
Star Man
Andy Geggan 3
Jamie Adams 2
Michael Rose 1
AYR UNITED: Hart; Ferguson, Higgins, Rose, Boyle, Geggan, Docherty, Adams, Crawford, Moffat, Shankland. Substitutes: Moore, Forrest, McDaid, McGuffie, Faulds, Reid, Avci
RAITH ROVERS: Smith, Thomson, Robertson, Murray, McHattie, Barr, Matthews, Herron, Vaughan, Buchanan, Zanatta. Substitutes: Watson, Spence, Berry, Osei-Opoku, Court, McKay, Brian (gk).
Referee: Barry Cook
Attendance: 2,040.