Ayr United 5 Stenhousemuir 2: Tough Tuesday at sea-side

Brown Ferguson
Brown Ferguson

Stenhousemuir fell to their second league defeat of the season after an abject performance against Ayr United in the Ladbrokes League One.

Ayr had the better of the first 45 and deservedly went in to the break ahead. The game was only four minutes old when the Honest Men took the lead through Jordan Preston. The on-loan Blackburn Rovers frontman was sent clear after an unforgivable error from Euan Murray and made no mistake as he slotted past Jamie Barclay for his sixth goal in an Ayr United shirt.

Preston was presented with a chance to double his tally on 15 minutes after a series of headers in the Stenny box. However, the striker could only poke his effort tamely into Barclay’s chance. This opportunity immediately preceding Stenhousemuir’s first effort of the match, an Alan Cook strike dragged wide of the post.

But the visitors were soon to put something between the sticks as Euan Murray atoned for his earlier error and brought the Warriors level from a corner. Murray didn’t seem to know much about the corner as it glanced off him and into the net. A poor goal for the hosts to lose.

The Ayrshire outfit soon regained the lead though, through the energetic Craig Moore. The move kick-started by the impressive Jordan Preston holding and then laying the ball out wide for Nicky Devlin. The Ayr right-back then found Moore on the gallop and man on-loan from Motherwell hammered it past Barclay and into the far left-corner, restoring the home side’s advantage just as Stenny were looking to assert some dominance on the game.

Ayr had a third ten minutes from the interval after more calamitous defending from the Stenny backline. Once again, the backfour allowed a lofted ball in behind and a lack of communication led to Stuart Malcolm heading past the onrushing Barclay. The keeper then tried to recover the situation but succeeded only in hooking the ball into his own net.

It didn’t take the hosts long into the second half before they added a fourth. One minute to be precise. Jordan Preston was sent running clear and once again made no mistake as he coolly struck past Barclay into the net. The Stenhousemuir backline once again punished for being far too square.

Ayr were rampant and unfortunate not to add to their tally. First, Preston glanced a header over the bar when he ought to have done better. Then, Alan Forrest nearly rattled in a goal of the season contender when he rattled a 30 yard volley. Unfortunately, for Forrest and Ayr, his effort struck the

crossbar with Barclay well beaten.

There was, however, time for Ayr to add a fifth late on through substitute Ross Caldwell. The former Hibs man raced onto a threaded Forrest pass and slotted confidently into the net for his second of the season.

The visitors did get the last say on the match when sub Liam McCroary looped a header past Greg Fleming. The goal only sent the visiting support into ironic cheers and will do little to ease Brown Ferguson’s frustration.