Ayr United and Raith Rovers grabbed points off each other again in the Scottish Championship, this time in a 1-1 draw.
There was just 11 days since the last fixture between Ayr United and Raith Rovers, a 0-0 draw at Stark’s Park and the game in Ayrshire would also end with nothing to separate the two sides after second half goals from Aaron Muirhead and Kyle Benedictus.
The home side looked to press the visitors at every opportunity, however, you could see both teams looked up for it. With 15 minutes played, Raith had an effort go well over from the returning Lewis Vaughan who had initially taken the ball down on the half-volley.
The game started to get a bit scrappy with lots of the game being played in midfield. Both teams weren’t afraid to put a foot in with a tackle.
Ayr had a couple of efforts before the break. One through Joe Chalmers who stepped up to take a free kick that hit the roof of the stand rather than the net. Muirhead also had a shot go just wide of the post.
The visitors came close to making the breakthrough early into the second half when a corner was met by Frankie Musonda but his header went an inch over the bar. It was clear Raith Rovers had come out the better side and they broke the deadlock through Benedictus. The big defender got on the end of a Daniel Armstrong corner after being left unmarked in the box.
Regan Hendry had another chance for Raith that whistled wide but moments later an equaliser came for Ayr United through Muirhead. The visitors failed to clear their lines from the corner and Ayr’s number four pounced to slam the ball home.
Ayr substitute Michael Moffat found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper in what was a big chance to put his side in front but he hit a tame shot straight at the keeper.
Both teams continued to try to find a winner. Ayr keeper Viljami Sinisalo held onto the ball well to deny Vaughan a goal from a Raith free-kick at the edge of the box then Tom Walsh had an effort for the Honest Men.
The game ended in another stalemate between the sides, keeping Ayr United in the Championship’s seventh place while Raith sit second, five points separating Raith and eighth-place Morton. Here are three things we learned.
For the second time in less than two weeks, no winner could be found when these two sides went head-to-head. Corrie Ndaba hardly put a foot wrong for the home side in defence, who stopped a run of three consecutive home defeats, taking four points from three challenging fixtures in the last week.
Leading by example
Raith captain Benedictus put in a Man of the Match performance for the visitors where he got on the scoresheet as well as winning almost every header and ushered out the attacking presence up top for Ayr throughout.
Progress under Hopkin
After an emphatic 3-1 victory over promotion chasing Dundee midweek, Ayr manager David Hopkin will have been pleased to have followed it up with another positive performance. In his post-match interview, he praised the staff that had been there before for setting up the foundations of a good squad that he just needs to tweak slightly.
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