Accies website reporter Mark Gillespie was at NDP on Tuesday evening….
It wasn’t the return in front of the fans as hoped as Cammy Salkeld’s strike midway through the first half moved the visitors to the top of Group E. We had a lot of the ball throughout but the visitors soaked it all up on a very hot summer’s night at New Douglas Park.
We made two changes for a first outing in front of home fans since Accies v Killie last March. Brian Easton returned from the weekend, and Munro starting upfront. The visitors were unchanged from their home victory at the weekend.
It was a sharp opening, Brian Rice’s side trying to move it quickly on the break. Hughes and Munro keen to use their pace to get in behind the Ayr defence and build some early momentum. The visitors however had the first half-chance, on 10 minutes, Cammy Salkeld blasting high over after a Murdoch corner kick was half-cleared.
Accies soon earned a series of corners of their own, Munro’s looping header cleared off the line three minutes later from Hughes’ delivery. But after that encouraging start, the passes started to go astray and the visitors edged in front on 27 minutes. Muirhead’s long throw from the left was only half-cleared by the Accies defence. Salkeld had time to control and guide low right-footed past Hilton from the edge of the box.
We briefly lost concentration after the goal, and it could have quickly gone from bad to worse. Hilton was to the rescue on 29 minutes, gathering at the feet of Adeloye after a short back pass in the Accies defence. Easton then barged the Ayr striker a minute later just outside the box, with Muirhead’s set-piece free-kick deflected just wide of the post.
Accies weren’t able to seriously test Albinson at the other end, with shots from Lewis Smith and Hughes blocked. Another corner found Munro in the box but this time the header was snuffed out.
We were quick out of the dressing room to try and make amends in the second half. A first speculative shot by Munro on 54 minutes was spilled by Albinson but the Ayr keeper quickly recovered. Lewis Spence shot looped just over from 25 yards on the hour mark as Accies started to dictate the second half.
Lewis Smith had the beating of four Ayr defenders two minutes later as the visitors sat back, unable to get a shot away. For all the possession there just wasn’t that finishing touch.
It was the visitors who had the clearer openings in a midfield scrap. Reading almost capitalised on 75 minutes after a loose Accies header, firing wide of Hilton’s post. With numbers forward and David Moyo on for more cutting edge Accies just couldn’t find a way through the Ayr defence. The big striker glanced a glorious chance to equalise just wide after Hughes cross from the left with four minutes left. A late flurry of Accies attacks came to nothing as the visitors saw it out.
Young Adam McGowan, 17, came on for his debut with a few minutes remaining, thus becoming the 11th player to have started with us at age `10 and play at every level up to the first team.
Accies: Hilton, Stirling, Easton (c)(McGowan 87), Hamilton, MacDonald, L Smith, Spence, Hughes, Mimnaugh (Redfern 73), Munro, C Smith (Moyo, 73); Subs Unused: J Smith, Want, McGinn, Meikle, Gaffney
Ayr: Albinson, Houston, Reading. Baird, McGinty, Muirhead, McKenzie, Murdoch, Hewitt (Chalmers, 71), Salkeld, Adeloye (Fjortoft, 68) ; SubsUnused:Fraser, Kidd, Quate, McFarlane, Kane, Toshney
Goal: Salkeld, 27
Referee: Bobby Madden; Assistants David Roome and Gordon McCabe
Premier Sports Scottish League Cup, Group Stage
At New Douglas Park, Hamilton
On Tuesday 20th July 2021, kick-off 6pm
Hamilton Academical 0 Ayr United 1