Ladbrokes Championship

ON a night when we celebrated the Bard’s 260th anniversary, it surely was apt that Ayr’s impressive football was like poetry in motion. They bounced back in style from a sixgame winless streak with a dazzling display in windy conditions to complete a hat-trick of wins this season against the visitors - the last team they had beaten on St Andrew’s Day. And to cap a memorable evening top scorer Lawrence Shankland came off the bench following a month-long injury absence to rapturous applause. Scunnered boss Ian McCall had demanded a reaction from his side in the wake of their stunning William Hill Scottish Cup defeat at Auchinleck six days earlier. And he got that in spades as his side totally dominated. Ayr came close in three minutes when a rifling drive from 16 yards by Declan McDaid following good work by skipper Ross Docherty was well saved by Benjamin Siegrist. However a minute later they stormed into the lead when a McDaid cross was headed on by Andy Murdoch to Craig Moore who slammed the ball home from six yards. Siegrist dashed out to make a diving save at the feet of Michael Moffat in 15 minutes. Then four minutes later, a corner-kick into the wind by McDaid was headed just over the bar by Steven Bell. A minute later the impressive Moore shot inches wide from 12 yards after latching on to a long through ball. Michael Rose was booked for a mistimed tackle in 23 minutes and a minute later a Liam Smith cross was headed just over the bar by Murdoch. Ayr were denied a possible penalty in 33 minutes when Moore had his shirt tugged just outside the box by Rachid Bouhenna. The Terrors forged their first opening in 39 minutes when a Cameron Smith effort was well handled by Ross Doohan, who saw his first action. Ayr player Liam Smith was booked for a challenge on Paul McMullan in 44 minutes. In 51 minutes Ayr came close when Robbie Crawford shot across the face of goal. Bell shot inches wide from a Declan McDaid cross in 55 minutes and two minutes later Danny Harvie spooned a shot inches over the bar from eight yards. Dundee United spurned a rare chance in 65 minutes when a Fredric Frans header from a corner crept just over the top. Moffat aimed a pass at substitute Shankland in 74 minutes but Siegrist beat him to the ball. Doohan made a point blank stop from an Aidan Nesbitt effort in 82 minutes. Dundee United were reduced to 10 men in 90 minutes when Morgaris Gomes was given a second yellow card as Ayr comfortably held on to win and return to top spot for 24 hours until Ross County beat Alloa Athletic on Saturday to go top. AYR UNITED: Doohan; Harvie, Rose, Moffat, Crawford, Moore. McDaid, Bell, Murdoch, Docherty, Smith. Subs: Hare-Reid (gk) Higgins, Hilton,Ecrepont, McCowan,Muirhead, Shankland. DUNDEE UNITED: Siegrist; Booth, Frans, McMullan,Fyvie, Stanton, Gomes, Sanfranko, Bouhenna, Smith, Seaman. Subs: Laidlaw, Clark, King, Nesbitt, Robson, Watson, Harkes. Referee: Don Robertson STARMAN Ross Docherty 3 Declan McDaid 2 Craig Moore 1