Ladbrokes Championship



By Stewart McConnell

THIS was dubbed the battle of the gunslingers with home striker Lawrence Shankland and visiting counterpart Stephen Dobbie having amassed 46 goals between them.

These two sharpshooters looked destined to take centre stage.

However both were essentially firing blanks as Callum Fordyce put the shackles on Shankland and Danny Harvie kept Dobbie mostly at bay,

But when the dust settled United had the last laugh as victory saw them increase their lead at the top of the table after Ross County lost to Dundee United.

In the opening minute United came close when Alan Forrest shot narrowly wide from 12 yards.

Queens forged a good opening in nine minutes when a Lyndon Dykes shot from eight yards was deflected over the bar by an Ayr defender.

Mark Kerr played a superb through ball to Craig Moore, whose angled drive was deflected wife by a Queens defender.

Ayr kept up the pressure and Robbie Crawford sent an effort narrowly wide in 21 minutes.

Crawford was hauled down just outside the box in 24 minutes, winning Ayr a free-kick. The set-piece from Shankland was saved on the line by Alan Martin, who also tipped away the rebound from Danny Harvie.

Moore then headed narrowly wide from 16 yards after latching on to a Harvie cross.

A left foot rocket from 16 yards by Forrest was well saved by the visiting goalie on the half hour.

The impressive Mark Kerr beat two opponents in 41 minutes before having his four-yard shot well saved by Martin.

United had a very lucky escape in 42 minutes when a thunderous Dobbie effort from 12 yards hit the post after he had peeled his marker.

Moore headed the ball on to Robbie Crawford, whose acrobatic volley was cleared by the Queen’s defence in 49 minutes.

A Dobbie thunderbolt from 12 yards was skilfully turned round the post by the visiting goalie in 52 minutes.

United came agonisingly close again four minutes later when a Moore volley from 12 yards was turned round the post by Martin.

A great opportunity fell for Ayr when Moore saw his volley from eight yards save by the visiting goalie in 68 minutes and less than a minute later Liam Smith had his effort from outside the box well saved.

Dobbie sent a precision pass to Dykes, whose eight yard effort was saved by Ross Doohan in 74 minutes.

However Ayr stormed into the lead when Michael Rose headed home an Alan Forrest cross. But it was all-square in 81 minutes when Connor Murray shot home, although the ball went through Shankland’s legs on the way in.

Ayr had a great chance in 89 minutes when substitute Craig McGuffie shot high and wide from 25 yards but it ended in stalemate.