United End Mediochre Season

Last updated : 04 May 2008 By honestman
Another season and another slice of optimism was dented by a 7-1 friendly defeat by Queen of the South. The arrival of Neil Watt towards the end of the previous season nevertheless filled Ayr with cautious optimism that a promotion place could be achieved.

An away defeat by promotion favourites Ross County, followed by a 5-0 drubbing by Livingston in the CIS cup was not the start that was expected. It become worse when United lost 3-2 at home by newly promoted Queen's Park.

However, it was a cup, 2-1 win away to Hamilton in the Challenge Cup, that renewed Ayr's fortunes and successive league wins against Berwick Rangers, Alloa Athletic and Forfar Athletic without so much as a lost goal, coupled with two good draws against Brechin City and away to Cowdenbeath saw a run of six wins from nine league and cup matches.

If a Challenge Cup win began United's good run it was a Challenge Cup defeat that ended it. The semi-final defeat nevertheless wasn't unexpected as it came against first division Dunfermline Athletic and then by the narrowest of margins. A draw against Airdrie and then a 4-1 home defeat by Raith Rovers saw manager Neil Watt leaving the club citing a difference of ambition between himself and the Board.

Brian Reid took the helm and wasn't able to steady it with Ayr managing only one win in seven matches culminating in a 4-1 slaughtering at home to the Blue Brazil - Cowdenbeath. Another defeat the following by 3-0 away to Peterhead left Ayr 3rd bottom of the league going into the Christmas programme - not where they expected to be!

Manager Brian Reid launched an attack on the players at Somerset Park warning them that if he was preperaed to release players who did not want to put in winning performances and that there would be a clear out in the new transfer window.

The harsh words did not seem to have the desired effect and worse was to come before the festivities as only a point in a 1-1 draw with Queen's Park was earned, leaving Ayr in the relegation play off spot, level with Brechin City. ironically United travelled to Brechin on 29th December with both clubs level on points. The 5-1 defeat for Ayr confirmed their plight and they languished in relegation play off spot at the turn of the year. After the manager demanded an apology from the players for such a dire display, a 4-0 victory at home to Berwick Rangers, but a 2-0 defeat at Cowdenbeath dampened any optimism. A 3-1 win over Alloa at home after going down to an early own goal restored confidence. A further 3-1 win against Queen's Park and the news late in January that plans for a new stadium had been approved by the Local Council brought new optimism for the new year. A player sent off, two late controversial penalities and three goals for Peterhead on 9th February stalled the push for the play off's.

Ayr United continued to make stuttering progress out of the relegation zone and tantalizingly close to the promotion play off's but defeats to Raith Rovers and Peterhead early in April ended that dream. nevertheless relegation was also avoided for Ayr to make a mid-table finish.