UNLUCKY Arbroath must have been wondering how they left Somerset Park with a defeat after missing a second half penalty and hitting the woodwork during a second 45 minutes they completely dominated.
Desperate to make amends following last week’s hammering at Albion Rovers, the visitors more than competed with a team who were in the First Division last season and went all the way to the semi-finals of the CIS Insurance Cup.
But a combination of poor finishing, good goalkeeping and strong defending put paid to their hopes of clinching a second win of the season against the Honest Men.
And at full-time, Arbroath boss Paul Sheerin said: “I have no qualms about losing the game but it was a game of two halves.
“We played really well after the break and hit the post. It’s unlike Doris to miss the penalty to be fair and if we score that we have got a head of steam and who knows what could happen. It gave Ayr a lift again.
“It’s disappointing to turn in the 45 minutes we do in the first half and then let our fate change to play the way we do in the second half.
“It was backs-to-the wall stuff for Ayr in the last five or 10 minutes but you would expect that.
“They stood up to what we had to offer and when you are pressing for the goal there’s always a danger that you are going to lose one.”
The first opportunity came the way of the hosts in four minutes when a flashing header from 10 yards by Scott Robertson was well saved by Ally Brown.
Just three minutes later a chip from Daniel Rennie edged just over the bar from 16 yards.
Ayr then forced two corner-kicks in quick succession in eight minutes but they came to nothing.
A 16-yard cross-cum-shot from Rangers on-loan youngster Kyle McAusland scraped the bar and went over in 10 minutes.
Soon after the hosts soared into the lead with a vintage goal as McAusland sent a cross into the box where it was headed powerfully into the net from eight yards by MACKINNON.
United passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to double their advantage in 24 minutes when a superb cross into the box just evaded the outstretched leg of Robbie Crawford who was in front of goal.
Arbroath player boss and one-time United hero Paul Sheerin whipped a superb cross into the box and a header from Steven Doris was hooked away by a United defender in 37 minutes and a minute later a Mackinnon header from an Adam Hunter free kick was well saved by Bullock.
Half-time: Ayr United 1, Arbroath 0.
The Lichties got off to a frantic start in the second half and just a minute in, a rifling 14-yard shot from Sheerin glanced inches high and wide.
Nine minutes later a 16-yard rocket from home player/boss Mark Roberts was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Bullock.
A Doris cross into the box was scrambled away by the home defence in 61 minutes as Arbroath desperately tried to get back into the match.
Still the Gayfield men kept charging forward and in 67 minutes a teasing cross into the box from Kerr was pushed away by Brown.
A Sheerin shot from 22 yards was deflected wide by the home defence two minutes later before Robbie Crawford came desperately close in 70 minutes when his 18-yard shot glanced inches wide.
Controversy reigned two minutes later when player/boss Roberts pulled back substitute Lee Sibanda inside the box and referee Andrew Dallas pointed to the penalty spot.
However the resultant penalty kick from Doris was blocked by the legs of Brown.
A minute later an effort from the same player 10 yards out was saved well by the Ayr number one.
But you just knew it would not be Arbroath’s day in 83 minutes when a 20-yard rocket from Gribben crashed off the crossbar
Right on full-time Ayr made absolutely sure of the points when MOFFAT won a challenge with Alex Keddie just inside the Arbroath half.
He then rounded Bullock who had come well out of his goal to try and help before almost walking the ball into the empty net from all of four yards.