Nothing could separate Ayr United and Queen of the South as they played out a Scottish Championship stalemate to set the stage for a tense final day.
A number of Ayr fans unveiled a banner as the game kicked off telling the players to prove them wrong in response to the position they found themselves at the bottom end of the table A much-improved performance from the Honest Men after a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Arbroath, Queen’s had chances of their own but neither could score.
The match was very scrappy with the ball frequently finding itself in the air. Queen of the South’s Connor Shields had the game’s first effort, dragging a low effort wide. David Hopkin’s men struggled to get to grips of the game with lots of the opening quarter played in their own half. Michael Moffat up front for Ayr looked like an isolated figure.
Stephen Dobbie curved an effort towards goal on the half-hour mark but PJ Morrison in the Ayr goal was equal to it. Shields then scuffed a shot wide. Joe Chalmers unleashed a powerful strike with 10 minutes until half-time at the other end but that clinical edge was lacking at both ends.
Queen’s defender Gregor Buchanan almost put the Doonhamers in front with 20 minutes to play before Ayr attacked dangerously at the other end, winning a corner. Moments later Morrison parried Rhys McCabe’s effort to safety before Josh Todd fired a shot inches over the bar for the hosts.
Todd again saw his half-volley from just yards out go into the keepers arms after Aaron Muirhead’s long throw caused chaos in the opposition box, the game’s best chance. Ayr continued to press Queen of the South before Mark McKenzie fired wide from a few yards out after the ball fell to him from a Muirhead throw.
Nick Walsh blew the whistle and the game ended in a draw ensuring it comes down to a battle between Ayr, Arbroath and Morton on the final day of the season to see who finishes in the relegation play-off spot. Here are three things we learned.
Down to the death
Three teams will be facing an anxious wait to find out their future but a victory against Inverness is pivotal for Hopkin’s side. They have their fate in their own hands but only just due to goal difference. Even a draw might not be enough for Ayr with Arbroath and Morton facing each other at Gayfield.
Needing a goal
Ayr had lots of the ball in the second half and crosses whipped in but there was a tendency to take too many touches. Ayr have scored once in their last five matches and need to find goals from somewhere.
Queen of the South have secured their place in the Championship for next season which is quite the feat considering they had won just once before a 2-0 win over Raith Rovers on December 29. A large rebuild likely awaits though with almost all the players at Palmerston out of contract.
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