Well Well Well – Honest Men stuff SPL club with a fearsome foursome
by Marc RosebladeThis was Mark Roberts first game in charge at Somerset Park and one that his visitors fully expected to win without much trouble, but they didn’t account for the breath of fresh ‘Ayr’ that has been injected into the division two side.
The Steelmen hadn’t counted on the Honest Men putting on a show in the sunshine, but a show they put on and what a show it was!
Heading onto the glorious Somerset turf for the first time this season, the Honest men strutted out the tunnel in their new seasons kit with a new management duo in charge and several new players to showcase before the welcoming fans in the Somerset terraces.
Motherwell, European Champions League Qualifying bound, turned out by looking like they expected a stroll in the seaside sunshine and a wee kick about in a nice wee stadium before heading home with a easily earned victory under their belt.
Oh, how it all went wrong for the SPL side.
Motherwell started the better of the two teams in the opening half hour but despite Jamie Murphy chopping an changing wings, his influence and magician style touch could conjure up a goal.
Ayr had no such unfortune and looked like scoring every time they headed up field.
With the newly paired Michael Moffat and Ross Robertson playing up front, the Ayr side looked dangerous, strong and wickedly fast as they broke through and challenged for every ball in the Motherwell defensive zone.
Being backed up by wonderkid Mark Shankland and new signing Anthony Marenghi, the Ayr side looked youthful and full of expedience in the chase for dominance in the attacking midfield area of the field. Motherwell looked flat and unable to deal with the Ayr players in these zones and at the end of the match the scoreline told you the same thing.
Jamie Murphy had a couple of early half chances to try and break the deadlock but his efforts were snatched at and drifted harmlessly wide of the trialist Ayr United goalkeepers goal. The keeper probably hoped for a better workout against an SPL side in the hope of producing a couple of outstanding saves and make a name for himself in search of a playing contract. these saves were never to materialise as his goal area was never really threatened.
Marenghi for Ayr was making a nuisance of himself in the midfield area and some nice fancy footwork was leaving his opponents bamboozled. This trickery was to help lead to his new clubs opening goal. His pass played in Moffat on the right wing whose crossed ball was met by the flying Ross Robertson to head home on 20 minutes.
It was the perfect tonic for the new management duo of Mark Roberts and assistant Davie White as they welcomed the lead on their own soil but if they looked pleased with themselves at this point, the smiles on their faces would get wider as the match proceeded.
The 1-0 lead only lasted eight minutes though as it was soon increased to two goals as Micheal Moffat stole home when he picked up on a defensive blunder to nick the ball in the penalty area before slotting past Darren Randolph, giving his side a comfortable 2-0 lead in under 30 minutes of the 2012-13 pre season matches played.
Ayr have had a cracking record against SPL sides in cup competition in recent years, Motherwell obviously hadn’t bothered to read the history books to recollect Ayr’s winning record over SPL clubs at Somerset Park. Unfortunately for them, they were about to become yet another statistic in Ayr’s fabulous record of victories over the top tier teams.
With Stuart McCalls half time team talk obviously still ringing in the players ears, they were nearly caught out within a couple of minutes of the restart as youngster Mark Shankland tried his luck from the edge of the box only to see it deflected over the bar. From the resultant corner, man mountain Martyn Campbell strode into the penalty area to rise and head home a third goal for the Honest men.
It was a truly inspirational performance for the home side. Along with many others in attendance, the scoreline was becoming a bit of a shock for all watching fans and the game had plenty of life left in it yet to play.
The match was open from side to side and front to back but Ayr were in control as Motherwell struggled to find any rhythm to their play and for a side that will find out their Champions League opponents this coming Friday, the cohesion in the playing staff was non existent.
Ayr were to rub more salt in the wounds of the Motherwell when another new Honest man scored a simply stunning curling goal from just inside the box that he took when standing still and angling his shot top corner bound. Despite the efforts of Randolph in goal, the ball bulged the net, much to the delight of the Ayr fans in the Somerset Road stand directly behind the goal.
Motherwell could have suffered a more indignant scoreline had it not been for some strange penalty claim decisions by the referee. On two occasions the ball struck the hand of Motherwell defenders in full view of the referee but for some reason only known to him, he decided against a spot kick for the home side.
Despite this, the match finished with second division side Ayr running out easy winners over the side that finished third in Scotland last season.
For Ayr, this was a real shot in the arm for the players and new management staff as they head into the new season.
For Motherwell, this was a shot in the foot as they prepare for not only the SPL but also a European campaign.
Ayr United 4
Marc Roseblade is a Contributor for Examiner.com, Football Speak, Yardbarker, OurGameMagazine, 90Soccer and various online sports and published outlets across the globe. Other soccer related roles he is involved in include matchday commentary and PR for Ayr United Football Academy. All quotes are obtained first-hand unless otherwise stated. You can follow NotJustScottishFootball on Twitter @myscottishfitba