There won’t have been many Ayrshire derbies down the years to have topped the Sunday drama which ensued before a packed main stand at Somerset Park. Ayr looked to have finally subdued their old foes after 120 pulsating minutes, but an astonishing Jack Whittaker double in the final two minutes turned it all around to fire Killie into a Cup semi-final.
Victory must have been all the sweeter for the visitors in a match which swung to and fro. Ayr had even missed from the spot in the final minute of normal time and this was a tough way to go out. Agonizing in fact, but neither side deserved to lose in the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
A goalless first half didn’t seem to point to the fireworks which were to follow. Killie had shaded things for the opening period, and passed up several clear cut chances. They should have been ahead at the interval.
Their best prospects came when they got the ball quickly up to Innes Cameron. The big forward held the ball up well and built a platform for the attack with Whittaker and Scott McLean getting into good wide areas in support.
A couple of good Cameron layoffs within the opening 20 minutes had carved out sights at goal for McLean and Lewis Morrison but neither’s effort was able to trouble Lyle Avcii in the home goal.
At the other end there were slimmer early pickings with James Hilton having a couple of efforts off target, the second when he had a better chance to test Devlin MacKay from the set piece on the edge of the box.
It seemed mostly one way traffic towards the Ayr goal, and towards the end of the half it looked like Killie were beginning to turn the screw. Whittaker got to the bye line on 42 minutes but his cut back seemed to avoid everyone, before McLean had more time than he thought but couldn’t threaten Avcii in the final chance of the half.