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Kilmarnock and Ayr draw in friendly match

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Kilmarnock Academy FC
Ayr United Academy
U17's Friendly
Grange Academy
24 February 2014

Connor McMillianOn Wednesday evening the Academy 17s travelled up the A77 for a ‘friendly’ against Kilmarnock at Grange Academy with a 6.45pm kick off and this was a derby game which was frenetic from the start as both sides battled for local bragging rights at this age group right from the start.

After 15 minutes Killie’s Robbie Hogg tried an overhead effort which Louis Kerr dealt with comfortably. The game then went from end to end and it really was 100 mile an hour stuff with space and time at a premium however as the half wore on Ayr United gained the upper hand. Firstly Ayr were denied a stonewall penalty when Jai Holland turned his marker in the box and was upended. Then Craig McGuffie hit a swerving dipping free kick which Pearce Watt in the Killie nets did well to tip on to the bar and Killie cleared the rebound to safety. The half finished goalless but Ayr had probably just edged it.

Half Time: Kilmarnock 0-0 Ayr United

Two minutes after the restart Killie drove in a cross from the right hand side which caused mayhem inside the Ayr 6 yard box. Louis Kerr and several defenders put their bodies on the line to defend their goal and the ball was eventually cleared to safety after one almighty ‘stramash’.

In the 55th minute Ayr United’s Blair Anderson and Craig Kincaid of Killie epitomised the commitment being shown all over the park as they clashed heads going for a high ball, it looked bad but luckily both boys got up and resumed play.

On the hour mark Killie’s Adam Frizzell hit a 20 yard effort just over. However shortly afterwards Killie opened the scoring with a good goal as Ian Wilson lobbed Louis Kerr from 20 yards out to break the deadlock.

However Ayr United collectively rolled up the sleeves and with David Richardson, Kieran Millar, Craig McGuffie , Blair Anderson and Stuart Faulds winning the 50/50 challenges in the middle of the park they took the game to Killie again and were soon rewarded. With 20 minutes to go Craig McGuffie swung in a ‘Beckham like’ delivery from the right hand side. The swerving delivery evaded all defenders and attackers alike but Pearce Watt in the Killie nets couldn’t deal with the spinning ball and it nestled into the corner of the Killie net for the equaliser.

At this stage Ayr were on top and the Killie back line fouled Jai Holland again in the box and this time the referee had to point to the spot. Jai Holland took responsibility and blasted the ball high into the left hand side of the Killie net with Pearce Watt diving the other way to give Ayr the lead.  

Killie were stung now and the ‘Elite status’ of the Killie youth set up was not being reflected in the balance of play but to be fair they fought back looking for the equaliser. A corner was swung deep to the back post and headed back across goal to the edge of the Ayr box but Robbie Hogg volleyed over.

Ayr were then furious when the referee inexplicably gave Killie a penalty in the 85th minute. A cross was played to the back post, a Killie player headed down and Reece Lapham (who had been superb at the back with his defensive partner Lee Williamson) controlled on his thigh. However the referee pointed to the spot for handball even to the disbelief of the watching Killie parents. Killie striker, Andy Sibbald dually obliged to tie the game up from the spot.

Jai Holland then had one last chance when Kieran Millar played him in, he tried to lob it over the advancing Pearce Watt but the Killie keeper grasped safely and the referee blew a few moments later for full time.

Local Honours even but this game showed that the talent in Ayrshire is equally spread over the County’s two fine old Clubs.  It was also good to see Connor McMillan (pictured) back in an Ayr shirt and although he was he was pitched straight into a derby after recovering from an injury he was solid as a rock at left back all night.

Full Time: Kilmarnock 2-2 Ayr United
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