Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 Ayr United 1

Last updated : 07 January 2006 By Footymad Previewer

Ayr United left Inverness with their heads held high after holding their SPL hosts to a shock Tennent's Scottish Cup 1-1 draw. It means the Highlanders must go to a replay at Somerset Park on January 17

Home boss Craig Brewster freshened up his starting 11 by including defenders Stuart McCaffrey and Stuart Golabek amid his five changes from their draw at Aberdeen, while Graham Bayne missed out to a groin strain.

The Honest Men were without suspended midfielders Raymond Logan and Paul Weaver. Also sidelined through injury and illness for United were Martyn Campbell and John Maisano.

Russell Duncan came close as early as four minutes when he tested Ayr keeper Mark McGeown with a 20-yard shot which was tipped over the top.

The visitors' first chance arrived when a great run on the right by Paul Hyslop was knocked over the top at the back post by Craig Conway.

These two players combined again,.and only Mark Brown, who was well positioned in goal, prevented Conway swerving the ball beyond him into the net.

Barry Wilson was then sent clear by Liam Fox, but his cross for young Rory McAllister was cut out by United skipper Dougie Ramsey.

The division two side were far from overawed by the opposition in the first half, and were not afraid to attack when given the chance.

Ayr forced another save from Brown when James McKinstry's near-post drive was held after a fine cross was sent in by Conway after 31 minutes.

Two explosive minutes early in the second half brought the tie to life. Inverness broke the deadlock when McAllister prodded the ball home after Wyness smashed Ross Tokely's cut-back on to the crossbar.

Then, straight from the restart, Ayr forward Gareth Wardlaw raced on to a through ball and finished low and calmly past Brown.

The shock leveller was just reward for United's bold efforts and play in this cup clash. After 79 minutes, substitute Andy Reid forced a fine save from Brown after a darting run into the box as the Ayr went for a late winner.

Caley Thistle's Stuart Golabek squandered a golden chance to win the tie, but he shot wide from just eight yards.