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Ayr victorious over Gers at Murray Park

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Rangers FC
Ayr United
U17 Club Academy Scotland
Murray Park
11 January 2015
Ayr United 17s travelled to Milngavie on Sunday morning to take on Rangers at Murray Park. The boys travelled full of confidence given their league form and were to prove a match for their ‘Elite’ counterparts. The game kicked off with Ayr playing into the strong wind and driving rain while most of the spectators were trying to shield themselves from the elements. Rangers started with a very strong side hoping to build a lead at half time aided by the elements. The first incident of the match saw Leon Murphy take an early knock on the left hand side but he shook this off to continue.
Rangers put Ayr under early pressure forcing three corners in succession and from the third corner a Rangers effort went past the left hand post when the second ball fell to a Rangers attacker inside the box. After this early let off allowed Ayr to grow into the match and they won a couple of corners of their own. The first effort on target in the match was from Rangers but Louis Kerr gathered the 25 yard effort comfortably as it was straight at him. After 30 minutes the Rangers no 11 went close with a volley which deflected off an Ayr defender for a corner.Jai Holland
Two minutes later Jai Holland delivered a free kick into the Rangers box which David Anderson got his head on but he couldn’t direct the header on target. David Richardson then won a strong challenge in the central midfield area and Jai Holland took the ball on and hit a 20 yard effort that flew just over the top. Ayr then produced a great move involving Adam Caldwell from right back who played a great ball to Kieran Miller who in turn found Ayr’s sole striker, Jarod Keifer, who let go a smart shot on the turn which McCrorie in the Rangers nets saved well.
Both goalies were in good form (despite the conditions) as at the other end Ayr custodian Louis Kerr dived full length to tip a 25 yard effort past the post from the Gers no 7. The first half finished goalless but both sides deserve great credit for trying to play football and entertaining the watching spectators in such horrible conditions. Ayr would be happier with the first half finishing all square as they had the wind behind them for the second half.
After 10 minutes of the second half Jamie Martin came on wide right of the Ayr midfield with Kieran Miller being replaced. Rangers now went close to opening the scoring from a corner as the rain got even heavier! Both teams however continued to play football in what can only be described as almost ‘blizzard like conditions’. On the hour mark Adam Caldwell delivered a quality cross from the right and Jai Holland headed down for the corner of the net. The replacement Gers goalie dived to make a great block and showed superb reactions to get back up and save Jarod Keifer’s effort from the rebound at his left hand post to pull off a brilliant double stop.
Jamie Martin now broke through a couple of challenges out on the right hand side just inside his own half and drove forward only to be stopped by a very brave challenge on the edge of the box by the Gers 14. Chrissie Campbell now entered the fray to replace the hard working Leon Murphy. In the 67th minute the Gers 15 hit a rasping low half volley which Louis Kerr must have seen late as it came through a ruck of players but the big Ayr goalie dived to his left to tip round the post and keep the scores level. Stuart Faulds now further freshened up the Ayr midfield replacing David Richardson who had put in a power of work for his side in the engine room.
Rangers then opened the scoring when ex Ayr United Academy player Balfour (ex found space in the central area and picked out the number 17 up front with a lovely threaded pass. The Gers striker advanced in on Louis and although the brave goalie got a touch the ball was in the Ayr net and the home side were in front. In response Ayr just rolled the sleeves up and forced a corner. Jamie Martin then had a great chance inside the box but his shot was deflected over by a Gers defender.  From the corner kick Stuart Faulds made a clever front post run and turned the ball home to level the match.
Ayr were on top now and with time running out Jai Holland (pictured above) picked the ball up 25 yards out and with his left foot fired an unstoppable drive into the top right hand corner to put Ayr in front . This was Jai’s last action of the match as Evan Malley came on to replace Jai and immediately caused some panic in the Gers rearguard with fresh legs and a clever run. A nervy few moments then ensued but the lads saw the game out and the referee blew for full time.
These lads top their own Development League West section but today proved that they are a match for the top ‘Elite’ squads from the Premiership Clubs and they will be a credit to the Club when ‘4 star status’ is achieved.
Full Time: Rangers FC 1-2 Ayr United
Ayr United: Louis Kerr, Adam Caldwell, Nathan Baird, David Anderson, Connor McMillan, Kieran Miller, David Richardson, Callum Smith, Leon Murphy, Jai Holland, Jarod Keifer. Subs: Stuart Faulds, Chrissie Campbell, Jamie Martin, Lyle Cameron, Robbie Graham, Evan Malley
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