Ayr United Ladies victory earns Quarter Final berth Ayr Ladies took the initiative in their opening League Cup match on Sunday, emerging 3-0 victors over visiting Stranraer to progress from the second round and march into the quarter finals.
For the second game in a row, the Honest Lassies proved too strong for their South West rivals.
An opening half goal from Robyn Cairns separated the teams at the break and a double from Rachel Scott.
After a weeks break in league play, the ladies were itching to get back into competitive play and keep their recent run of 3 victories going by adding another. By the end of play in this match, they were to go home with a smile on their faces and a place in the League Cup quarter final in the bag!
Ayr nearly got off to a quick-fire start just 100 seconds into the game with the post denying Chanelle Hillhouse from opening the scoring but the signs were there that they could repeat the 5-0 victory they managed earlier this month against the same visitors.
Despite this, and other early chances, the Honest lassies failed to capitalise on their dominance and nearly paid for their lack of clinical finishing when Sloan, McBlain and Gillespie were all called upon to clear the ball from dangerous attacks on the home sides goal. Goalie Docherty was also being tested and done well to clear a 1-on-1 situation with the Stranraer attacker bearing down on goal.
It says a lot for the Ayr players that they have faced some stiff opposition this season but weathered some fairly hefty storms during their games thus far and came out the other side with points in the bag by getting the goals when they count. That’s what they did here.
Ayr always looking dangerous, it would seem that a goal was not far from emerging. On 34 minutes, the opener did come when Robyn Cairns sent a low rasping strike across goal, into the bottom right hand corner to give her side a 1-0 advantage.
As time run down on the opening 45 minutes, Ayr were playing shooty-in at the Stranraer keeper, who to her credit was having a fine game between the sticks.
Gillespie tried her luck but the keeper saved the strike. Scott tried to add another after dancing round two defenders but she also saw the keeper stop her shot. As the final few seconds of the first half were being played out, both Scott and McBlain headed over to keep the score at 1-0 as they eventually entered into the break.
It was to be the turn of Stranraer who would count themselves unfortunate not to grab an early goal in the second period, as only the quick reactions of keeper Docherty for Ayr saved the blushes of the home side with an excellent save to keep the scoreline at 1-0 after only 120 seconds of play in the second half.
Chance after chance was to be created by Ayr but strikes from Scott were to be saved or to fly over the bar.
However, the strikers perseverance was to pay dividends on 80 minutes as she fired home, into the bottom right hand corner to double the Ayr lassies lead, and much to her own delight that finally she managed to get the ball past the impressive Stranraer keeper who had up to that point kept her at bay.
Basabe-Kerr and Smith were starting to inflict some pain on the visiting teams back-line as they played the ball in behind the defenders, crossing into dangerous areas and generally twisting and turning the back-line into knots. It was to be Basabe-Kerr to initiated the third and final goal from this form of movement as she played the ball into Barbour who laid it off for Scott to stroke home, giving the Ayr side an unassailable 3-0 lead with 2-minutes left to play.
Relief was felt all around by the Ayr squad when the final whistle shrilled out at The Oval, as the Honest lassies knew that luck and hard graft had played as much a part of this victory as skill and clinical finishing had.
“This was a real hard battle today,” said Head Coach David Danaher, “And hats off to Stranraer for making this a real competitive match.”
“On another day we could have been four or five up in the first half. Although we could also have been down two or three so it was one of those games that we’re simply thankful that we eventually got the victory and progressed to the next round of the cup.”
The progression in the cup will see them face one of the following: Elgin City, Dundee United, Raith Rovers, Renfrew, Westerlands B, St Roch’s or Bayside Ladies. Quarter final draw will be made this coming Tuesday April 26th. Ties to be played May 15th.
The ladies now face the prospect of to free weeks as league duty resumes next week but Ayr being the free team. Nothing with remove them from holding onto second spot in the league tough as they sit four points in front of third placed Pollock United.
Having been narrowly beaten earlier in the season by East Fife, they also find themselves free the week after as Scottish Cup duties take place.
Reported by Marc Roseblade
Ayr United Football Academy