It didn't take long for the game to spark into action and Nicolson came closest for United in the first half, but Neil Alexander made a superb save to block his point-blank header on the line, while Paul Sheerin had to clear off the line to prevent Cardiff doubling their lead. Dodds also made an excellent save as Thorne ran through unchallenged. 1-0 for the blues at half time.
Ayr came out unchanged for the second half, and took just two minutes to level matters. Sheerin's corner was met by the unmarked David Craig and he bulleted his header into the net to send the Somerset Road end into song. The joy was fairly short-lived however, as Peter Thorne put the Bluebirds back in the lead, despite the best efforts of the United defence on the line.
With around twenty minutes of the match remaining, manager Gordon Dalziel made four changes all at once, with youngsters Michael Dunlop, Martin Ferry and Stewart Kean, as well as former Clyde midfielder Craig Bingham, taking the field.
An excellent bit of work by James Grady down the right resulted in a pin-point cross and a header from the young striker - unfortunately it was straight at Alexander and the 'keeper parried clear. Bingham had the chance to make a name for himself when he was set up by the impressive Grady, but Alexander stood tall and made an excellent save from eight yards out.
In the dying moments Cardiff wrapped the game up. Kavanagh connected with a vicious volley that Dodds could only parry into the net to complete the scoring at 3-1.
Dodds, Lyle, Lovering (Dunlop), McManus, Campbell (Ferry), Craig, Nicolson, Chaplain (Latta), Annand (Kean), Grady, Sheerin (Bingham).
A programme was produced for the match.