1950/51 - Nearly That Ellusive First Cup Final

Last updated : 11 January 2007 By Honestman
Season 1950/51 was so nearly United's first ever cup final season. It had started well with good wins the League section of the League Cup highlighted by a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on 30th August 1950. United repeated the scoreline a few weeks later in the ‘B' division match before which Ayr had met Dundee United ina two legged League Cup Quarter Final which the Honest men convincingly 3-0 at home and 2-1 away.

These results brought United to a Scottish League Cup semi – final match against Motherwell at Ibrox on 7th October which the Lanarkshire club won by 4-3. The score was even more sickening as United were 3-2 up with seven minutes to go.

Semi-Final Programme Cover

League results had gone well and showed good away wins over Arbroath and Alloa although there had been some dour draws at home. However, by early December when United travelled to Tannadice Park, Dundee they had not been beaten since the opening game of the season in the league. The 3-1 defeat at Tannadice on 2nd December was only revenge for Dundee's United losing in the cup competition.

It heralded an uncertain spell in league form, however, for Ayr and despite good wins over St Johnstone and Kilmarnock in the new year derby, there were further defeats at the hands of Dunfermline away on 30th December and the 2nd January match against Stenhousemuir. Fortunes changed again for Ayr in January and more league defeats were recorded until the match against Queens Park at Hampden Park on 24th February.

In between times there had been Scottish Cup wins for Ayr against Stirling Albion and Queens Park (both away), the match having attracted 23,000 people. Having dealth with the minnows in the early rounds United now had have another cup skirmish with ‘A' division Motherwell in the Quarter Final. The match on 10th March 1951 at Somerset Park eneded in a comendable 2-2 draw and a reply had to be endured at Fir Park on 14th March. For the second time in the season the claret and yellow of Motherwell recorded a close win – 2-1 after a last minute after extra time winner.

This furtehr cup disappointment clearly had a psychological effect on the team as they lost two of their next three league matches and only drew the other – althopugh it has to be said that one of these defeats was againt the eventual champions, Queen of the South at Dumfries. They came bouncing back with an all to late 8-0 win over Dunfermline on 7th April 1951 and then a good win over Hamilton at Douglas Park. By the time United lost 2-1 to Albion Rovers and recorded a 2-2 home draw with Dundee United in the final league match Queens had already won the league and United had to settle for third.

Two Ayrshire Cup matches saw Ayr concede the trophy to Kilmarnock in early May.

Bedford Programme Cover
May 1951 was Festival of Britain time and football was not to be left out. United had set up four friendlies againt English opposition. They travelled south for the first match againt Luton Town on 12th May 1951. The match was notable as it was United's first ever match against English opoosition. Ayr lost 4-2 although the game hung in the balance until late on.

The English air was clearly not to Ayr United's liking and they suffered consecutive defeats to non-league Bedford by 1-0, Plymouth Argyle by 2-1 and a horrendous 5-1 defeat at the Goldstone Ground, home of Brighton and Hove Albion.