Ladbrokes Championship



By Stewart McConnell

A HUGE landmark was celebrated by Queen of the South as they marked the Centenary of their first ever match by sporting retro light blue strips.

However hosts United spoiled the party by defeating their derby rivals to rack up a second league win out of three.

It was sweet revenge for the 5-0 defeat at Palmerston in the corresponding game last season and this victory suggests Ayr could well once again be at the top end of the table after reaching the play-offs last season.

Queens forged a good chance in two minutes when Connor Murray shot high and just wide from 12 yards.

Then in five minutes, Faisal El Bakhtaoui set up Gary Oliver, whose eight-yard shot produced a stunning one-handed save from Ross Doohan.

Great play by Queen’s in 20 minutes saw a Lewis Kidd shot brilliantly tipped away by the alert Doohan.

Ayr forged a great opening in 24 minutes when Alan Forrest’s shot from 12 yards was brilliantly saved by Robbie McCrorie. However a minute later they blasted into the lead when Steven Kelly struck home an unstoppable drive from 12 yards.

Home midfielder Steven Bell uncharacteristically lost possession to El Bakhtaoui who had only Doohan to beat but the big goalie narrowed the angle to make a fine save in 36 minutes.

A Kelly effort from 25 yards was clutched by McCrorie in 42 minutes.

Bakhtaoui blasted over the air with Doohan to 12 yards in 44 minutes.

An Alan Forrest chip from 20 yards glanced inches wide in 53 minutes as Ayr pushed for a killer second goal.

In 55 minutes Connor Murray sent a precision pass to Lewis Kidd to shoot wide from six yards.

Andy Murdoch looked to be tripped on the edge of the box in 58 minutes but referee Steven Kirkland waved play on.

A cross-cum shot 25 yards out from home sub Craig McGuffie was well saved by Robbie McCrorie.

A Jack Hamilton header was brilliantly saved by Doohan in 72 minutes.

At the other end, Kelly shot over the bar from 18 yards two minutes later.

A rocket from the edge of the box by Kelly was superbly fisted away by McCrorie in 77 minutes. McGuffie shot narrowly over the bar from 16 yards in 88 minutes as United held on for a deserved victory.

AYR UNITED: Doohan; Harvie, Geggan, Moffat (Doolan 69) Forrest, McCowan (McGuffie 57) Bell, Adams (Muirhead 71) Murdoch, Docherty, Kelly. Subs not used: Hare-Reid, Kerr, Roscoe, Ferguson,

STARMAN: Ross Doohan 3

Steven Kelly 2, Alan Forrest 1,