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Ayr Thistle and Crosshouse played out a hard fought draw at KG5 this afternoon. Neither side gave an inch as both sides worked tirelessly to earn a point. However, the home side started the strongest of the two evenly matched teams. Lee McDonald fired two 20 yard efforts wide of the left hand post in the opening 10 minutes as the hosts looked to impose their authority on the game. In the 14th minute, Louis Kerr sent a scorching 25 yard kick that arrowed towards the top left corner but his strike clipped the top of the bar.
The visitors paid attention to the early warnings and in the 21st minute they created their first opportunity. Lee Craig wriggled free of Ben Davidson's challenge and sent a low shot that would have nestled in the bottom corner if it wasn't for Thistle keeper, Cameron Taylor, who scrambled across his line to turn the ball away for a corner. The resulting corner was blazed over by Niall McDaid on the half volley as the ball made it's way to him at the far post.
Ayr missed a gilt edge chance in the 27th minute when McDonald found himself unmarked 6 yards out but he nodded his near post header well wide. Four minutes later, the visitors punished McDonald for his horrible miss. Marc Leishman's teasing delivery from the right missed everyone and bobbled all the way to the far post where Lee Craig ghosted in and slammed the ball across the goalkeeper from 7 yards to give Crosshouse the lead.
That goal gave the visitors a huge lift and they seeked to double their lead. In the 38th minute, Marcus McCrindle shot straight at the goalkeeper from the edge of the box and Jaxon Russell's 20 yard free kick was beaten away by Taylor three minutes later.
Ayr levelled on the stroke of half-time through talisman Louis Kerr. Craig Lynch had seen his cross/shot tipped away by Hilderley in the Crosshouse goal but from the resulting corner the ball broke to Kerr who rifled the ball through a ruck of players from 10 yards.
Half Time: Ayr Thistle 1-1 Crosshouse BC
Crosshouse looked to instantly restore their lead in the second half but Russell's shot was turned behind by Taylor at his near post from 6 yards in the 48th minute. Chances were few and far between as both midfields began to cancel each other out as they were so evenly matched.
The next chance presented itself on the hour mark as Ayr all of a sudden upped the ante. Jordan Brown fired a 25 yard effort over and seconds later McDonald curled a terrific 20 yard effort inches away from the top corner. Ayr were rewarded for their pressure a minute later when Stuart Dalziel danced past 2 men down the far side to reach the by-line where his pinpoint cutback was converted by McDonald from 6 yards.
McDonald thought he had scored again in the 65th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside. Just as Ayr Thistle looked to be controlling things, back came Crosshouse. Ayr Thistle were repelling attack after attack from the visitors who camped in the opposition's half. Thistle's last ditch defending had saved them from Crosshouse getting a clear cut chance but in the 83rd minute the hosts breathed a huge sigh of relief when Leishman screwed an 8 yard effort wide with the goal gaping.
However, Crosshouse's perseverance paid off in the 87th minute. A long ball from the halfway line was launched into the Ayr box which wreaked havoc in the area, an old fashioned stramash resulted in Leishman poking the ball beyond Taylor for the equaliser.
The visitors nearly travelled up the A77 with all three points but Lee Craig headed his 10 yard effort into the side netting in stoppage time. An enthralling match that swung end to end with chances for both sides to win it but overall a draw was fair as no one deserved to lose a match full of commitment.
Full Time: Ayr Thistle 2-2 Crosshouse BC