Ladbrokes Championship



By Stewart McConnell

TABLE-toppers Ayr tamed the terrors with a ruthless display to maintain pole position going into the two-week break.

The dominant Honest Men outclassed their opponents in every department to fully underline that they are still very much the team to beat in the Ladbrokes Championship.

Goalscorer Lawrence Shankland brilliantly ran the frontline but in defence they were also strong, with Steven Bell especially sound and on-loan goalkeeper Ross Doohan making some fine saves.

Alan Forrest played a fine through ball to Lawrence Shankland just outside the box in the opening minute, but a visiting defender won the ball.

Then a minute later Benjamin Siegrist won a challenge with Shankland inside the box.

Michael Moffat sent a precision pass to Shankland eight yards out and he chested the ball but miscued it in 10 minutes.

It was quite an even opening to the game and in 13 minutes a 25-yard effort from Paul Watson was well saved by Doohan.

Dundee United carved out another chance in 15 minutes when a 12-yard effort from Matthew Smith was well saved by the home goalie.

Doohan came to the rescue two minutes later when he made a diving save to foil Pavol Safranko.

However in 21 minutes Ayr seized the lead when Moffat played a brilliant through ball to Shankland who shot low into the bottom corner from 22 yards.

Doohan made another fine save in 27 minutes, this time foiling Arabs captain Fraser Fyvie.

Ayr created yet another opening in 29 minutes when Andy Geggan headed wide from eight yards. A minute later Moffat made a great run and shot high and just wide from 16 yards. Doohan made a fine one-handed stop to deny Smith from point-blank range in 33 minutes.

Billy King hit the side netting for the visitors from 12 yards in 41 minutes.

Dundee United won a corner in the opening minute of the first half but it came to nothing.

Shankland found himself in the clear six yards out a minute later but Siegrist saved his six-yard effort.

The visitors came close again in 51 minutes when a header from eight yards by Safranko was deflected over the top by the home defence.

Doohan made a fine one-handed save to foil Smith from eight yards six minutes later.

Substitute Declan McDaid totally miscued the ball in front of goal in 69 minutes.

Liam Smith made a goal-line clearance to deny substitute Yannick Loemba in 68 minutes.

Shankland teed up McDaid whose thunderous 12-yard shot crashed off the crossbar in 72 minutes. However a minute later Ayr doubled their lead in stunning style in 74 minutes when Alan Murdoch played a stunning pass to McDaid who smashed a 10-yard volley into the roof of the net.

A rocket shot from 12 yards by Loemba crashed off the crossbar in 78 minutes.

STARMAN: Michael Moffat 3

Ross Doohan 2

Declan McDaid 1,

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