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Time Running Out for Ayr's 17s to Retain League Trophy

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With time running out and matches running short, Ayr United's under 17's will keep battling until the last minute of the last match in order to retain the Scottish league trophy they famously won last season.

Ayr under 17′s entertained Annan Athletic on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Academy and although still mathematically possible, Ayr had all but given up hope of retaining their Scottish title and were more realistically chasing the runners up spot. 

With two games remaining, they needed all six points and at the same time amass a fair amount of goals in order to overtake Partick Thistle’s better goal difference so the team was set up in an effort to achieve this where all out attack was the order of the day.

The game kicked off in wet and windy conditions which were to worsen as the game unfolded which was making it difficult for both sets of players to find any real rhythm and play was scrappy for most of the game.

However, Ayr’s goal chasing line up was certainly hemming Annan back in their own half and throughout the game the visitors were rarely seen as an attacking force. 

Despite having the lion’s share of possession, the home side were struggling to find the back of the net where a mixture of dogged defending, good goalkeeping and poor finishing kept the score line level until the 29th minute, when Adam Fraser headed home from close range after a cross from Tyler Campbell, to give Ayr the break they were looking for.

The pattern of play up to that point suggested that once Ayr got their noses in front they would run away with the game and get the goal tally they required. This was not to be the case though as Ayr continued to press, create oppurtunities galore, but failed to add to their slender lead and as the teams turned around, the score remained 1-0.

As the second half got under way, the conditions deteriorated and there was a real danger of the game being abandoned. Throughout the storm, the home side continued to push forward and manufacture countless chances, all to no avail as the Annan defence continued to repel the bombardment. Although, it has to be said, they were leading a charmed life as the woodwork was struck on four separate occasions.  

Andy Clark in the Ayr goal was a virtual spectator but had to look sharp with a couple of efforts which served as a reminder to Ayr that they were still only one in front.

Eventually, in the 70th minute, Ayr found the net for the second time and it came from a cool finish from Sean Robertson, pictured above, after Ewan Bain had put him in the clear. That was closely followed by a third as Sean Robertson again, finished off a fine Neil Slooves through ball to put Ayr 3-0 ahead.

With 17 minutes left on the clock and clear signs that the travelling team were tiring, there was still a belief that a few more goals could be added. But Ayr continued to misfire in front of goal and chance after chance went amiss.

In the final seconds it was 4-0. Andy McCormack, who had pushed forward, found himself racing to beat the Annan goalie to a through pass. Andy won the race and expertly rounded the keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.

Head Coach Davie White found it hard to be critical of his side after the game as they had worked their socks off in atrocious conditions to win 4-0. But on a day when his boys were chasing goals and managed to create a huge amount of opportunities, he was left wondering if they had done enough to overhaul Partick Thistle’s superior goal difference. Time will tell, with one game remaining at home to Montrose in two weeks time.