Ayr United 1 – 1 Morton
Shankland (21 pen) – Kiltie (71)
by Jonathan McQuillan
Ayr United and Greenock Morton shared a point once again as the two sides could not be separated for the third game in a row. However, the 1-1 scoreline perhaps doesn’t tell the full story as a resilient second half performance saw The Ton unlucky not to walk away from Somerset Park with all three points.
Ayr United started brightly passing quickly and getting the ball into the box. It only took until the 3rd minute of the game for Michael Moffat to get The Honest Men’s first shot away from outside the box but the ball going wide to the right.
Morton’s first chance fell to Lee Kilday who headed over the bar from a Charlie telfer corner.
Whenever Morton got hold of the ball, they looked to move forward but were frustrated by Ayr’s solid defence, who were quick to clear their lines and get rid of any danger as midfielder Chris Miller did his best to chisel a pass through.
Jonatan Johansson’s side came close to going ahead twice through a Gregor Buchanan header going wide to the left and Gary Oliver’s shot soon after going wide to the right.
The game was turned around on 20 minutes when Lee Kilday brought down former player Andy Murdoch in the box which saw Referee Willie Collum point to the spot.
Lawrence Shankland stepped up to take and sent Robby McCrorie the wrong way to score his 22nd goal of the season to make sure the match wouldn’t end goalless for the third consecutive time.
The Ton came close to draw level ten minutes later as Reghan Tumilty saw his strike from the right of the box whiff past the left-hand post.
Morton enjoyed a lot of play on the right-hand side throughout the night as Tumilty and Kiltie worked pass after pass to string apart the Ayr United defence.
Despite their best efforts Morton found themselves going in at the half time interval a goal down.
It was the second half where things seem to ramp up for Morton. Reghan Tumilty’s shot cracked the post early on and Gary Oliver saw his strike fall into the hands of Ayr Keeper Ross Doohan.
Morton had a penalty appeal of their own when Gary Oliver appeared to be brought down in the box but Referee Willie Collum signaled for play to continue.
The Ton then reaped the rewards of their perseverance in front of goal around the 70-minute mark as Reghan Tumilty’s free kick from the halfway line found Gregor Buchanan who chested it down for Greg Kiltie to net his second goal for the club, poking the ball into the net from four yards out.
Jonatan Johansson urged his men back up the park to nab the winner but despite their best efforts and a few scares including a Lawrence Shankland header brushing the post from the centre of the box the game would end 1-1 with both sides sharing a point.
The game puts an end to The Ton’s four away defeats in a row in the Ladbrokes Championship and could prove to be a pivotal point heading into the last remaining games.
Speaking to GMFC.net after the final whistle Ton boss Jonatan Johansson said: “I thought we had a very good second half, and even in the first we created a lot of chances on the counter-attack and threatened really well.
“We weren’t as clinical as we would have liked. Perhaps it’s a confidence thing, this can be a difficult place to come to and because we’ve had a few bad results it’s always going to be a bit hesitant.
“Then to lose the goal the way we lost it, I think Lee Kilday just slipped, it wasn’t a dangerous situation at the time put it gave Willie Collum a decision to make.
“After that they got a lift but he handled it fine and in the second half we came out and dominated and passed the ball about great and maybe should have won the game.”
2. Kilday 4. Buchanan 8. McAlister
14. Tumilty 32. R.Lyon 7. Millar 6. Telfer 3. Iredale
20. Kiltie 18. Oliver
Subs used: 10. Thomson (83 min for Oliver)
Subs not used: 15. Dykes, 17. O’Connell, 36. Hynes, 39. Watt, 44. Dallas, 1. Gaston (GK)
Booked: Iredale (66)
Ayr United (442): Doohan, Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, Murdoch, Kerr (Geggan, 68’), Crawford, McDaid (Forrest, 40’), Moffat (Moore, 73’), Shankland.
Subs not used: Docherty, Miller, Muirhead, Hare-Reid (GK)
Referee: Willie Collum
Attendance: 1,802 (238 away fans)
⭐️ Star Man: Gregor Buchanan