Next fixture
Partick Thistle Balmoral Stadium Sat 01 Apr 23 / 15:00
Championship / Somerset Park / Attendence:
Sat 22 Oct 22 / 14:00

Ayr United




Cove Rangers



Our first ever visit to Somerset Park ended all square after a four goal thriller in which the team twice come from behind to secure a richly deserved point.

Ayr were in front through Akinyemi and Kirk, but Cove levelled thanks to top-scorer Connor Scully and Gerry McDonagh, who notched his first for the club.

Injuries and suspension meant Jim McIntyre had a depleted squad at his disposal. Leighton McIntosh was starting his two-match ban, while McClelland (ankle), Fyvie (hamstring), Masson (rib) and Logan (calf) were all sidelined.

Cove got off to a fast start when, in the first minute, Max Johnston slipped free and surged over the halfway line. His ball forward was laid off by Gerry McDonagh to Luis Longstaff, and the winger’s inviting cross was headed for a corner by Kirk.

Yule and Gilmour then linked up in midfield, Johnston fed the ball back to Sanders, and the centre half’s long ball forward was nodded down by McDonagh. Longstaff gathered and darted to the bye-line before firing in a low cross, which was blocked at the near post.

With five minutes on the clock, another Cove attack. The overlapping Johnston got in behind the home defence and stood up a decent delivery. Megginson went for it, but collided with keeper Albinson, and was left crumpled on the pitch. Thankfully, the captain was able to continue after treatment.

Within two minutes, we again came close to opening the scoring. Towler’s cross wouldn’t fall for Longstaff, but Luis laid the ball back, and McDonagh’s strike was blocked on the edge of the six yard box.

It was almost all Cove, and Luis Longstaff was causing big problems for Ayr left back Patrick Reading, who was forced into conceding a corner in the 12th minute. From the resultant delivery, which was headed out, Mark Reynolds fired in a superb strike which the home keeper only just dealt with.

Another Longstaff cross had Ayr scrambling, but Megginson couldn’t quite get the control needed to fire off a shot.

It was sixteen minutes before the home side threatened. Chalmers created an opening and fed Young, who sent a well-judged pass into the box. Mullin ran on to it and shot from eight yards, but Kyle Gourlay pulled off a fine one-handed save.

Back came Cove. Scully did well to find McDonagh, who flicked on to Megginson. Mitch laid the ball off to Longstaff, and Luis played an inch-perfect pass into the box, but Max Johnston’s touch was poor, and the ball ran out of play.

Megginson then had a clear opening in the area, but failed to make contact.

It was then Ayr’s turn to come close. Musonda unleashed a thirty-yarder which Gourlay got down to, but the ball skidded under him on the greasy surface and rolled inches wide. The corner was half cleared, but gathered by Chalmers, whose low twenty yard strike flew just past the post.

It was to be a warning for Cove, and seconds later Ayr went in front. Chalmers profited from slack defending in our left back area, and shot goalwards. Gourlay could only beat the ball out, and AKINYEMI was first to react to slide it home from close range.

The lead did not last long.

Just past the half hour mark, Max Johnston crossed from the right and Yule sent in a powerful diving header which was superbly saved by Albinson, but the ball fell for Connor SCULLY beyond the back post, who smashed it in with a right footed half volley.

Ayr almost regained the lead when Mullin’s angled shot was deflected just wide, then they did so from the resultant corner. Chalmers sent in a high delivery from the right and Alex KIRK towered above everyone else to head home from just three yards out.

They were close to adding to their advantage soon after. Chalmers’ angled shot was pushed wide by Gourlay, and when Murdoch pounced on it, Kyle saved with his feet. Buoyed by his goal, Kirk then strode forward and shot powerfully from thirty yards, again testing Gourlay, who tipped the ball over the bar.

Neither side made changes at the interval.

Ayr were first to threaten, Young cutting in and shaping up to shoot, but he was thwarted by a fine challenge by Sanders on the edge of the box. The ball ran to Mullin, whose low effort was well saved.

Cove countered, and out of the blue we were back on level terms. Jack Sanders strode forward and passed towards Megginson. The ball ricocheted between Mitch and a defender, then rolled into the box for Gerry McDONAGH to run on to, and fire home low for his first competitive goal for the club.

We nearly conceded a third, almost immediately. Mullin ran on to a ball over the defence, but volleyed high over the bar, then in their next attack, Mullin came closer, his shot deflected for a corner.

The home side was piling on the pressure at this stage, and it took some desperate penalty box defending to keep them out.

With just over an hour gone, Robbie Leitch entered the fray for Evan Towler, with Scully dropping into the left back role.

Sanders earned the game’s first yellow card for pushing off Akinyemi, and conceded a free kick twenty-five yards out. Mullin took it, but fired over.

We then came close to snatching the lead. Gerry McDonagh did well to reclaim the ball deep in the Ayr box and passed to Leitch. Robbie teed it up for Megginson, who shot low and hard to the near post, forcing Albinson into a good save.

Murdoch then inexplicably found himself free twenty-five yards out. He fired in a shot towards the bottom corner, which Gourlay was alert to, and dived to his left to save.

Cove nearly created an opening, Leitch only just failing to connect with a McDonagh backheel, then back came Ayr, Gourlay out smartly to save at Young’s feet.

Lee Bullen then made a triple change as he looked to grab the initiative, and one of the subs, Jayden Mitchell-Lawson was quickly involved, his shot from the edge of the box deflecting just over.

Blair Yule was then instrumental in our next attack, linking with Mitch Megginson, but when the ball fell to McDonagh in the box, Gerry was crowded out and couldn’t find a team-mate.

Charlie Gilmour earned a booking after a tussle with Dempsey, but the free kick, from wide on the right, came to nothing, then Iain Vigurs got a late call, replacing the exhausted Gerry McDonagh.

With time ticking away, Cieran Dunne came on for Longstaff, and Vigurs was flashed a quick yellow after an aerial challenge on Kirk.

There was one last Cove attack, Vigurs setting Dunne free on the left. Cieran’s cross was diverted for a corner, which was headed clear, and referee Scott blew the final whistle seconds later.

AYR UNITED (4-4-2): Albinson; Houston, Musonda, Kirk, Reading; Mullin, Murdoch (c), Dempsey, Chalmers (Ashford 78); Akinyemi (McKenzie 78), Young (Mitchell-Lawson 78)

Substitutes: McAdams, O’Connor, McGinty, Bangala, McAllister, Smith

Goalscorers: Akinyemi (29), Kirk (37)


COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Gourlay; Johnston, Sanders, Reynolds, Towler (Leitch 63); Longstaff (Dunne 90), Yule, Gilmour, Scully; Megginson (c), McDonagh (Vigurs 88)

Substitutes: Ross, Neill,

Goalscorers: Scully (32), McDonagh (52)

Booked: Sanders (68), Gilmour (87), Vigurs (90)

Referee: Calum Scott

Attendance: 1,847

Article Copyright © 2022. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to