Ayr outfoxed by resurgent Loons

Martyn Fotheringham - nets a double as Forfar defeat Ayr.
Martyn Fotheringham - nets a double as Forfar defeat Ayr.

Forfar Athletic put the wind up Ayr United’s promotion hopes and enhanced their own in a thrilling encounter at Station Park on Tuesday evening.

The Loons twice came from behind to outfox an excellent visitors side in a game that was played at pace and with passion from the first minute.

Playing with the wind in the first period, the Honest Men twice came close to taking an early lead, Gallacher brilliantly saving from Michael Moffat and then a Mark Roberts flick striking the crossbar.

At the other end, Ryan Dow screwed a shot wide after great work down the right by Ross Campbell and a good lay-off by Paul McQuade.

Ayr took the lead against the run of play in 36 minutes, Roberts breaking clear down the left and crossing for Alan Trouten to scramble over the line.

Forfar levelled courtesy of a superb Ross Campbell strike from a Chris Templeman lay-off five minutes in to the second period.

Mark McCulloch was inches away from giving the Loons the lead with a clever chip before Ross Campbell’s great solo run was ended with a block, Deasley’s follow-up effort somehow scrambled away from the line.

Then came a moment of controversy, as referee Gary Hilland made a midden of dealing with what was a straight-forward situation.

Deasley trickery on the left flank had three players trailing in his wake until centre-back Martyn Campbell blatantly blocked him from going any further.

A yellow card to the centre-back, who had already been carded, and a foul to the Loons was the obvious decision, but dithering Hilland wandered about the half-way line lost as to what to do while a number of players clashed in the aftermath of the incident.

The bungling ref picked out a player from each side to caution, and allowed the centre-back to get away with as cynical foul as you’re ever likely to see.

Meanwhile, the action continued at pace and Ayr were back in front in 70 minutes, Scott McLaughlin wheeling and sending a great show wide of Gallacher into the net from the edge of the box.

But, just as it was looking like another of these nights for the home side, enter the Fox!

Substitute Martyn Fotheringham got a great ovation when he took the field and he paid the home faithful back in buckets with two priceless strikes.

The first was an absolute corker, a free-kick from 25 yards curled high over the wall and into the postage-stamp corner of the net for the leveller,

The winner soon followed, a short corner on the left allowing Foxy the angle to flight over a dangerous ball which eluded everyone in the area to nestle in the corner of the net.

Having gone through a sticky spell, the victory was a welcome tonic for the Loons, who now travel to Ayr United on Saturday in a bid to record a five-day double over United.