By Blair McNally
Ayr United started life after Mark Kerr with a victory, sending Morton into the Scottish Championship relegation play-off spot with a 2-0 win at Cappielow.
The first real chance of the match came 30 minutes in for the visitors. A lovely exchange on the edge of the box between Tom Walsh and Luke McCowan opened up space for the latter to have a pop at goal, however, he failed to capitalise on Morton’s slack defending.
Morton were next to threaten 10 minutes later. An exquisite Aiden Nesbitt lob found Sean McGinty at the back post but he failed to adapt, connecting with his weak foot, passing into Viljami Sinisalo’s arms.
10 minutes after half time, the game burst into life with an impressive opener. A well-worked corner was returned back into the box by Walsh, finding Aaron Muirhead at the back post. The stand-in midfielder headed back into the box, leaving Cammy Smith to fire into the net from six yards.
Morton were given a chance to level with 10 minutes to go. Nesbitt found the ball at his feet with a glorious chance eight yards out but he failed to take advantage, leading to a yelp after he struck narrowly wide. In the end, it was to be Smith’s day at Cappielow as he doubled Ayr’s lead with five minutes left on the clock.
An Ayr counter-attack left Morton exposed at the back. Walsh exchanged the ball into substitute Michael Moffat who made no mistake of finding Smith. He kept his calm and blasted high into the top right corner. Ayr held on for three points, responding well to the departure of Kerr as boss last weekend. Here are three things we learned.
Both teams find themselves in the bottom half of the Championship table. Throughout the match composure was limited, opting to clear the ball at the first opportunity with both teams happy to keep the ball in the air. The second half stayed the same for Morton with Ayr grabbing a foothold in the game, making the difference.
A much-improved Ayr side showed why they have been a top-end Championship team in recent seasons. After Kerr departed last weekend, interim manager Davie White made a few tactical tweaks to ensure a needed response, Muirhead moving into midfield from defence a particularly shrewd one.
A failure to pick up form is starting to prove costly for the Cappielow side as they fall down the table. With no wins in 10 matches and sitting ninth in the table, March will be vital at a make or break time of the season at Morton.
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