Ayr United and Livingston drew a blank in a dull affair at Ayr’s Somerset Park. It was Ayr who came closest to scoring with a legitimate penalty call and a chance cleared off the line, the Lions however were not the without their own efforts, but lacked the bite to take the chances.
Ayr United had the first meaningful effort of the match, Michael Moffat marginally missing a cross just in front of the goals, in a chance that would have certainly got in had contact been made. Jonathon Tiffoney then had a chance to open the scoring 7mins later, finding himself in yards of space but his shot went just wide.
It wasn’t until almost 20mins into the game that the Lions began to show some threat, several crosses into the area failed to trouble the keeper before debutant Mark Fotheringham clattered a long range effort off the top of the cross bar, after getting to a cleared Bobby Barr cross.
Ayr United continued to threaten, with McNeil smothering a close range effort from the impressive Moffat.
Livingston responded quickly through a Fotheringham effort which was cleared for a corner. Ayr United then came close to scoring an own goal, Lions winger Bobby Barr putting in an excellent cross which was cleared just over the bar by the Ayr defence. The Lions efforts continued with Fotheringham having an effort saved by Kevin Cuthbert before Bobby Barr went too far past the keeper resulting in a goal kick for the home side.
Livi defender Craig Barr then came close to headering the visitors into the lead, but saw his effort from a Fotheringham free kick sail wide.
Ayr United threatened again through Moffat, but McNeil just beat the attacker to former Lion, Andy Geggan’s through ball.
The chances continued with Marc McNulty heading a Bobby Barr cross just over and Jason Talbot putting a dangerous cross into the feet of Iain “Beanie” Russell, but Cuthbert beat Beanie to the ball.
Tiffoney had another effort for the home side before the interval, sending an effort across the face of the goal with the keeper too far away to make any difference.
The second half continued much in the same fashion, Craig Barr clearing a dangerous cross off the line before Fotheringham had an effort saved at the other end. Minutes later, McNulty was dangerously in on goal from a Bobby Barr cross but the ball was caught in his feet.
Young Livi stalwart Stefan Scougall then sent a fantastic shot just wide from a well placed Bobby Barr pass. Bobby Barr’s excellent contribution to the game continued as he had his own effort deflected by the Ayr United keeper, who managed to smother the ball before young striker Marc McNulty reached it. The Livi onslaught continued with Fox sending a low effort just wide of the right hand post.
Ayr United weren’t without their chances, McNeil again having to sprint and retrieve the ball from the feet of Moffat before Michael McGowan went an effort just over the cross bar with a header.
There were calls from players and fans alike for a penalty as Kyle Jacobs fouled just on the edge of the penalty box, but referee Steven McLean gave a freekick just outside the box and the resultant effort was well over by Moffat.
Substitute Gareth Wardlaw then saw his header at the back post from a Alan Trouten cross go wide. Ayr United again had another effort cleared off the line in the 32nd minute, with many fans having believed the ball was in.
The game evened up as the game came to a close, Fotheringham having another shot saved by Cuthbert and Moffat finding McNeil in equally good form. Ayr then came close with 5mins remaining, the ball sailing over from 15 yards after a corner. Scougall then came close at the other end, seeing his effort from a corner go just wide.
Despite the surprising number of chances the game was a dull affair with the majority of the battle taking place in the midfield. Both teams had plenty of chances but struggled to take them largely helped by off form strikers and on form keepers. It was yet another draw for the Livi Lions, who are finding scoring increasingly difficult, but are starting to improve at the back.
Ayr United: Cuthbert, Robertson, Smith (Burke 90), Malone, Tiffoney, Trouten, Geggan, McKernan (Wardlaw 59), McGowan (Robertson 80), Moffat, Roberts
Subs not used: McWilliams, Connolly
Livingston: McNeil, Ky.Jacobs, Talbot, Fotheringham (Sinclair 88), C.Barr, Watson, Fox, Scougall, McNulty (Deuchar 76), Russell (Boulding 68), B.Barr
Subs not used: Docherty, Jamieson
Ref: S McLean
Match report by Chris Naismith