Nothing could separate Ayr United and Greenock Morton as they played out to a goalless draw at Somerset Park in a game where neither goalkeeper had much work to do.
Jim Duffy’s side made two changes from last week’s victory over Hamilton. While Morton made three from their side that lost narrowly to Raith.
Ayr started on the front foot with Tomi Adeloye looking like a nuisance. It was quite a fiery opening period with lots of cheap fouls at both ends. After 8 minutes, Adeloye found a yard of space inside the box and fired narrowly by the post. The hosts tried to play passing football at every opportunity with Daire O’ Connor a key link between midfield and attack.
Morton rarely tested Charlie Albinson with any real efforts with the Honest Men defending well. Gavin Reilly fired well over after 24 minutes after the ball broke to him just inside the box.
O’Connor had an effort on target saved before Gozie Ugwu struck an audacious strike from distance which made Albinson divert out for a corner with halftime approaching but both sides defended extremely well in the first half and allowed very little room for any clear cut efforts.
James Maxwell came on at the break for Ayr after O’Connor picked up a serious injury at the end of the first half. The visitors started the second half the sharper but a defensive mistake almost let Ayr through on goal but last-ditch defending denied Cameron Sakeld.
Maxwell fired over for Ayr then Reilly did similar from the edge of the box minutes later for Morton.
It was turning into a ding dong battle in Ayrshire with both teams seeing their fair share of possession. Oksanen drilled a low effort wide for the visitors before Ayr shuffled the pack with talisman Michael Moffat joining the play. Morton changed it up with Gary Oliver coming on for Reilly as both sides sought that all-important goal.
The ever-lively Ugwu headed wide with about 20 minutes to play then Sakeld was very unlucky not to be breaking the deadlock as his shot hit the crossbar.
With the clock ticking down, Adololye’s neat footwork earned him a gilt-edged chance for the Honest Men but the effort went narrowly over after the defenders narrowed the angle.
Maxwell and substitute Mark McKenzie both had late chances but it would finish with nothing between these two sides.
Here are three things we learned as Ayr and Morton drew at Somerset Park
Stability under Duffy for Ayr
Ayr’s league form has picked up since the departure of David Hopkin and so has the style of football with it evident that caretaker boss Jim Duffy has tried to get the players to play the ball on the ground more rather than playing it high and long. The Ayr chairman wasn’t in attendance for this match but 7 points from a possible 9 so far in the league for Duffy has got to put him in with a shout for a permanent role.
Clinical touch lacking
Perhaps on paper, this game was always going to be tense given the mixed bag start to the season for both sides. Ayr would’ve come in as favourites with Morton on the back of a four game losing streak, however despite both sides actually playing some neat football at times, neither side could penetrate enough firepower to score a goal. In Ayr’s defence, losing Daire O’Connor at half time was a huge blow as so much of the positive play had gone through him in the opening 45 minutes.
Defences on top
Both defences put in real solid shifts which ensured that the majority of the efforts at goal were either over the bar, wide or easy enough for the goalkeeper to save. Clean sheets galore so that will be positives for both management teams as they look to climb up the table on what is looking like an ever so competitive and tight cinch Scottish Championship once again
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