Joe Chalmers got the opener after 12 minutes before Ross Docherty equalised for the Jags nine minutes later. Aaron Muirhead would restore Honest Men boss Mark Kerr’s lead five minutes into the second half before Brian Graham got Thistle level again 20 minutes from time.
Both sides start their League Cup campaigns next week as competitive action gets underway for League Two, League One and Championship sides respectively. Thistle have St Mirren in Paisley next Tuesday whilst Ayr travel to Albion Rovers. This was more minutes into legs ahead of these ties.
There were early chances aplenty for some of the new signings at each club. First was Tom Walsh, angling a shot wide of Thistle keeper Jamie Sneddon’s post before Ian McCall’s Dundee United loanee Declan Glass came close with a long-range effort.
It was pinball stuff in the opening 10 minutes, Patrick Reading next to test the home goal with a shot missing the net by inches. For a pre-season friendly, this one started at a very high intensity.
One of the new signings did get the opener and what a strike it was. Chalmers cracked his free kick from the edge of the area off the underside of the bar and in, a tough skill made to look easy by the former Celtic trainee. Docherty was next to score, getting the break of a Jags corner and firing past Aston Villa loanee Viljami Sinisalo with a top corner shot.
This turned into a bit of a scrap after the opening 20 minutes of fast-tempo football. Ayr’s new keeper Sinisalo was on-hand to prevent the next opportunity heading goalward, making a great stop from Graham as the first half neared its end.
It had been an entertaining first 45 and the first five minutes of the second presented a third goal. Muirhead broke down the right, beating Sneddon at the near post as the ball creeped in through his legs.
Kerr and McCall of course made changes as the second half wore on but the speed of the game didn’t drop. Each side was still pressing forward where possible, looking for that decisive goal.
Thistle would get it, Graham turning in an effort from close range, despite the Ayr backline’s best efforts to keep it out. A draw didn’t seem to be on the minds of either side as they both searched for a winner in the last ten minutes.
Frustratingly for McCall, one of his better players in Glass was withdrawn with a knock, the Thistle boss no doubt hopeful it’s just a minor bump for the Dundee United loanee. Overall though Ayr and the Jags will be pleased with this workout as the game finished 2-2. Here are three things we learned.
The new signings
Several new signings took part in this one, both Kerr and McCall’s sides undergoing major work over the summer. There were positive displays too, new guys on the block like Chalmers and Docherty getting on the scoresheet.
Perhaps the standout for Ayr was Patrick Reading who was brilliant at left-back whilst Glass showed some great skill in Thistle’s midfield.
Both look strong
As competitive action dawns for both these sides after a lay-off since March, they appear to be in decent shape heading into their League Cup group stage openers.
A high-intensity tempo was adopted for most of this match and players on both sides managed to get vital minutes under their belt which will please each Kerr and McCall.
Looking to build
Ayr and Partick Thistle have been very active in the transfer market and their teamsheets from the Firhill clash would suggest their business isn’t done yet.
Both named trialists as part of the substitutes bench as the managers examine potential players for their teams ahead of next week’s competitive start.