Saturday, 23 April 2011

Dumbarton 1 -v- Ayr United 2

My match report first appeared on the on the official DFC website.

Dumbarton look for openings
Dumbarton were beaten 2-1 by Ayr United in a hard-fought encounter at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium, in spite of a second half revival and several near chances to equalise after the break.

Ayr showed their intent from the start, mounting an early series of attacks. But the Honest Men's Michael Moffat was thwarted by a fine tackle from Ben Gordon.

Mark Gilhaney had the first chance for Sons, clipping a shot in from the left, which was promptly plucked from mid-air by the visitors' 'keeper Alan Martin. Then Jordan Halsman broke through for Dumbarton, but could not connect adequately for his strike.

On 10 minutes Alan Trouten opened the scoring for Ayr United, passing the ball into the net all too easily after a soft through ball eluded Sons' defence.

Six minutes later, following two further Dumbarton attacks, Moffatt made it 2-0 for Ayr, outpacing the defence and rounding Sons 'keeper Stephen Grindlay after he had made a stop but was then unable to cling on to the ball. The visitors' number 9 struck high into the net despite Nicky Devlin's brave effort to clear on the line.

Mark Gilhaney and Pat Walker had further goal attempts blocked later on in the first period, as Dumbarton sought to retain their composure and push back.

Early in the second half a searching cross-field ball from Walker released Jordan Halsman, but the young Sons left midfielder found himself just squeezed out at the near post, in spite of his trickery.

On the hour a slight but well-angled effort from Gilhaney trickled tantalisingly across the face of Ayr United's goal, but ended up going inches wide.

Derek Carcary then replaced Jordan Halsman for Dumbarton, as gaffer Alan Adamson sought to rearrange his pack and inject some fresh energy into the team. The sub was soon in the midst of the action, flashing a strike in fast, but high.

Dumbarton were pushing forward with more urgency now, but Ayr remained steady in defence. The reward for their adventure came on 63 minutes, however, when a darting Carcary run caught the Honest Men's back line off kilter, and led to Eddie Malone tipping the ball into his own net to make it 1-2.

James Creaney almost equalised for Sons minutes later, with a powerful 25-yard hit leaving Ayr 'keeper Martin at full stretch, but just missing the target.

The home side continued to attack, but occasionally looked exposed from the back. On 74 minutes Creaney cleared off the line, after a goalmouth scramble almost cost Sons dear.

Jordan White came on for a tired-looking Jon McShane on 76 minutes. Immediately afterwards Walker was frustratingly denied what looked a certain equaliser in the Ayr six-yard box, as Sons continued to look dangerous and purposeful - especially from the wings. Malone cleared again on the line for the visitors from Gilhaney's inswinger.

On 82 minutes Keiran Brannan replaced Pat Walker for Dumbarton. Paul Nugent's strike on 84 minutes went straight into the goalkeeper's arms.

In a tense and sometimes heated ending to the game, two Sons free kicks cannoned into the Ayr United wall in central positions on the edge of the area. But the vistors held on to claim the 2-1 victory and a promotion play-off place, while Sons still need points to guarantee Second Division football net season.

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