Sunday 19th March 2016 saw Ayr United Ladies in SWFL2 League Cup action for the first time, hosting East Fife Violets at Prestwick’s Oval in round one.
After a heavy league defeat the week before, Ayr were determined to start out on the offensive which seemed to suit the tempo of the game, as East Fife looked content to pass the ball between themselves but showed very little in attacking moves going forward.
United settled down quickly and were unlucky not to open the scoring when Barbour shot just over the crossbar. After last weeks injury laden game requiring many positional changes, Wake was restored to her natural right back position and she was soon playing the ball into the strike-force of Barbour and Thomson.
Barbour latched onto a pinpoint ball from Wake and successfully managed to hold off two defenders to slot the ball home to open the scoring for Ayr.
United continued to attack forward and were rewarded, when once again Wake sent Thomson in on goal, as she coolly scored to the goalkeepers right giving the Ayr ladies a comfortable looking 2-0 lead.
However, just as it started to look like Ayr were going to cruise this encounter, a slip up at the back allowed East Fife back into the game just prior to the half time whistle.
Ayr looked bright when they came back out for the second half and once again Barbour was unlucky not to increase the lead, but the East Fife goalkeeper did well to punch her shot away.
By now East Fife were pushing for an equaliser and were duly rewarded for their actions when a loose ball was struck well and with it just out of reach of United goalkeeper Docherty, the scoreline was tied at 2-2.
As the Ayr side became slightly unnerved by the turnaround in scoreline, the visitors were soon to add another.
The Ayr defence were slow to clear their lines, conceding a cheap corner, which was well taken by East Fife resulting in a headed goal to give the lead to the visitors. Ayr by now looked rattled and just couldn’t get a grip on the game, a far cry from the team on display minutes earlier.
With time running out, Scott was sent through on goal and lobbed the goalkeeper from distance, getting Ayr deservedly back on level terms but disaster struck in the dying second as East Fife grabbed a late winner with another headed goal from yet another corner.
This goal sealed the game for East Fife and despite a rally in the final seconds from Ayr, their desperate search for another equaliser, the home side just could not find the goal to send the tie into extra time.
“This was a real roller-coaster of a game,” said Head coach David Danaher, “We were cruising at 2-0 but in football, that is said to be the worst score line to become complacent on, and that came home to roost today. Fair play to East Fife, they fought back valiantly, but the game was in our hands and it was ours to lose. We wish East Fife the very best of luck in the next round.”
Full time: Ayr United Ladies 3 – 4 East Fife Violets
Reported by Marc Roseblade
Pictured: Ayr United Football Academy