Ladbrokes League One



By Stewart McConnell

Pictures: David Sargent

CARELESS Ayr suffered a gut-wrenching defeat at Recreation Park to deal a potentially fatal blow to their title hopes.

They were stung by a Wasps side intent on revenge following defeat here at Ayr's hands back in November.

Now their fate is no longer in their own hands as if leaders Raith Rovers defeat Alloa at home in their final league game the title will be theirs, regardless of Ayr's result against Albion Rovers.

There had been so much hope ahead of kickoff as the pounding sounds of Edge of Glory reverberated around the ground.

The punters would be hoping it was prophetic as they aimed for a positive result to take into the final day home showdown.

However as the action got underway, Ayr looked strangely nervous and In three minutes Iain Flannigan shot across the face of goal for Alloa. At the other end a 16-yard effort from Robbie Crawford was confidently saved by Neil Parry in the home goal.

Alloa looked to have seized the lead in 19 minutes when Ross Stewart blasted home from eight yards but the "goal" was chalked off for offside.

At the other end, striker Michael Moffat made a darting run into the box before having a shot cleared in 25 minutes.

Alloa then forged an opportunity in 27 minutes when Stewart set up Kevin Cawley to send an effort narrowly wide from 12 yards.

The visitors then snatched the lead in 31 minutes when the dangerous Flannigan picked up a return pass from Cawley before netting into the bottom corner from eight yards.

Ayr were unlucky a minute later when a Craig Moore shot from inside the box was cleared by the home defence and in 32 minutes Andy Geggan shot narrowly wide from 12 yards.

The hosts almost doubled their lead when a Jordan Kirkpatrick header from a Callum Crane cross glanced just over the bar in 36 minutes.

Kirkpatrick then shot past a post from just inside the box in 37 minutes and The same player shot inches over the bar from 20 yards four minutes later.

However in 33 minutes more disaster struck as Callum Crane drilled the ball home from eight yards after Geggan, struggling with a calf injury, had failed with a headed clearance and left goalkeeper Jordan Hart in no man's land.

The first half display was positively uninspiring, with the Honest Men devoid of ideas.

However Ayr came out sharper after the break, with no doubt manager Ian McCall's words ringing in their ears and substitutes Craig McGuffie and Alan Forrest replacing Geggan and Declan McDaid.

Just a minute in, a shot from Forrest was saved by Parry who also stopped the follow-up from Moore. However in 50 minutes United grabbed a lifeline when Moore latched on to a loose ball and drilled home a shot from 10 yards, sending the visiting fans into raptures. Two minutes later David Ferguson shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.

Hart then smothered a shot from 10 yards by Kirkpatrick in 57 minutes.

United were unlucky in 68 minutes when Mark Kerr sent a 25-yard drive crashing just high and wide.

The visitors were given a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul on Crawford in 72 minutes but it came to nothing.

United were then awarded a penalty in 77 minutes following a foul inside the box on David Ferguson. However Moore ballooned the resultant spot-kick wildly over the bar.

A header six yards out from Forrest was well saved in 86 minutes.

Jamie Renton shot home for Alloa in 86 minutes but it was chalked off for offside as the Wasps held on to win.