Defeat for Youth Team
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL 4 AYR UNITED 0
Hamilton Accies have arguably the strongest youth set up in the Scottish Football League and this was always going to be a difficult match for United's youngsters, who through illness and injury have been unable to field their strongest side in any match this season. The latest blow being the news before the game that recent signing Aaron Muirhead had been taken to hospital with a suspected hernia.
In the end it proved to be a comfortable victory for the home side who took full advantage of the rule allowing them to play 2 first team players under the age of 21 and they made their experience count in this fixture at Douglas Park on Monday night. They pulled the strings as Accies dominated this match from the kick off and it took only 5 minutes for debutant keeper Ally Caldwell to pick the ball out of the net when he was left exposed by a defence splitting pass for Paul McLeod to ram home.
United were on the back foot and the midfield were being overrun when a neat move down the right was finished in the simplest of fashions to give the home side a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes. It was 3-0 in the 37th minute with a long ball from defence catching out United at the back for the striker to bullet high past Caldwell.
United changed it about at half time with the introduction of Graham Mushet making his comeback after illness and it proved to be a much better second half for Ayr. For the first time in the game they look at threat. But in the 63rd minute Accies netted their fourth, with a looping header from a corner kick that beat Caldwell at the post.
Accies were still the dominant side and they were denied a fifth by the crossbar but United were carving a few openings now themselves at the other end and James McLachlan's shot went narrowly past.
Armstrong replaced Dunlop and Stewart Dalziel, also on the comeback trail after illness, replaced the hard working Stevie McMillan.who had made a good debut after missing the start of the season with a virus. The introduction of Dalziel added a more physical presence upfront and he almost scored with an early opportunity but his netbound shot was blocked by a lunging defender.
Caldwell, who had an impressive debut, then made two superb saves to turn shots over the bar while Ayr should have snatched a late consolation but Armstrong headed a Mushet corner wide from close range.
Accies youth set up sets the benchmark for others to follow with a number of players having come through their youth set up in the past couple of years to play in the first team. But while Ayr still search for that illusive first victory and with another difficult fixture at Cowdenbeath on Sunday, there are signs that some of the United players are striving to reach the far higher standards required to play at the pro-youth level.
Ayr United: Caldwell, McFarlane (Mushet HT), Kinnaird, Fletcher, Paterson, Dunlop (Armstrong 76), Donaldson, Thomson, McMillan (Dalziel 76), Woodburn and McLachlan.
Subs (not used) Hayes, Donald (GK)
In the SFA Youth Initiative, Ayr United 14's won all three periods to maintain their unbeaten start to the season at Dumbarton. They stuttered through the first period after taking an early lead but were totally dominant in periods 2 & 3 winning comfortably through goals from Marc Dyer (4), Cameron Marlow (4), Connor George (2) and Justin Grieg (2)
The Under 15's also maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign in their match with Stranraer at Maybole. Dale McLelland score the pick of the bunch of their 6 goals with the others goals coming from Jo Maxwell, Roddy Paterson, Alan Paterson, Mark Armour and an own goal
It was a case of mixed fortunes for the under 16's. In a free week, they played a 'friendly' match away to a combined under 16 and 17 age group Dumbarton side in which the Ayr youngsters won all three periods, scoring 5 goals in the process through Dale Moore (2), Jordan Kelly, Martin Brackenridge and Alex Boyle. However this match was not without severe cost. Influential midfielder Stewart Milligan had his leg broken after a reckless challenge early on while Jordan Kelly also suffered a severe injury when he collided with a post.
This Weeks Fixtures
Under 19 - Cowdenbeath v Ayr United
Under 16 - Ayr United v Queen's Park, Loch Park, New Cumnock. K.O. 2pm
Under 15 - Queen's Park v Ayr United
Under 14 - Ayr United v Stirling Albion, Carrick Academy, Maybole. K.O. 2pm
The Ayr United Football Academy are on the look out for new scouts as they establish a new scouting structure. They are particularly looking for scouts to operate in the Carrick and Stranraer areas and also in the Kilmarnock area. If you are interested, then please contact Head Scout Brian Taylor on 07944 846 206