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Ayr and Kilmarnock serve up derby cup cracker

Ayr United 3

Hilton, 51, Ballantyne, 59 (pen), McGowan, 96

Kilmarnock 4

McLean, 46, 57 (pen), Whittaker, 118, 120
  • 3-4
  • Sunday, 22 January 2017
  • Somerset Park, Ayr
  • Under 20´s
  • SYFA Cup, Quarter Final

Mark Gillespie | YFS North Ayrshire Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author [email protected]

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.

  • Half Time:
  • Ayr United
  • 0-0
  • Kilmarnock

Ayr will have been happy for the half time whistle but the momentum continued to build into the second half as Kilmarnock began to win the midfield battles and play with more energy and purpose.  The rewards finally came just a minute in, as 11 found space in the box to direct a low header into Avcii’s far corner, from Dean Hawkshaw’s corner kick delivery.

From there you would have thought the visitors would kick on, but instead it sparked some life back into the home side. Soon enough Ayr were back level on 51 minutes and in true sucker punch style.

A high ball through seemed catch to Killie rear-guard out of position for Hilton to gather down on the edge of the box. He shrugged off the last challenge before chipping a sublime finish past MacKay for the leveller.

The tit for tat was to follow again. Firstly Killie restored their advantage 6 minutes later, after handball was awarded against David Waite, and McLean duly stepped up to send 1 the wrong way. 2 minutes later and Ayr were awarded a spot kick at the other end, Craig McGuffie went down in a tangle with Iain Wilson in the box. The referee pointed to the spot to consternation of the visitors, and captain Jamie Ballantyne calmly stepped up to level the match with half an hour to play.

The stage was set for a grand finale but further opportunities were at a premium as the clock ticked down. One dramatic final minute opportunity arrived from the spot for Ayr with Wilson penalised for bringing down sub Leon Murphy in the box.

The defender received his second yellow card, but this time MacKay kept his side in the cup standing up well to save Ballantyne’s spot kick. Extra time.


  • Full Time:
  • Ayr United
  • 2-2
  • Kilmarnock
Ayr looked to make the extra man count with Killie reorganising at the back, and playing a midfield three. And 6 minutes in the home side got their noses in front as sub Luke McGowan found space just inside the area. His curling right foot finish gave Ayr one foot in the semi-final. 2 minutes later and Hilton could have made sure after a great cut back by Sean McKenzie. The visitors looked out of ideas and perhaps energy. With nothing to lose they threw men forward for the closing 15 minutes, and sure enough there was to be another twist to come. With everybody bar the keeper up for Hawkshaw’s corner Whittaker somehow found space and composure inside the box to slot the sensational leveller. And with virtually the last kick a heroic victory was complete as he bundled home Adam Frizzell’s cross at the far post. Great entertainment for us few neutrals. A large travelling support celebrated a remarkable derby win, with Paul Stephenson's now relishing a home semi-final against Rangers on February 26th.

Final Result: 3-4


Ayr United
1 Lyle Avcii
2 David Waite
3 Grant Thorburn
4 Jamie Ballantyne (c)
5 Nathan Baird
6 Stuart Faulds
7 Adam Caldwell (Sub, 14 Luke McGowan, 70)
8 Kieran Balfour
9 Sean McKenzie
10 Craig McGuffie (Sub, 17 Leon Murphy, 77)
11 James Hilton
Subs 12 Colin Granger
15 McLean Simpson
16 Scot Granger
18 Jamie Martin
21 Jamie Brotherson
1 Devlin MacKay
2 Taylor Queen
3 Sam Lidington
4 Dean Hawkshaw
5 Iain Wilson
6 Lewis Clark
7 Jack Whittaker
8 Adam Frizzell
9 Innes Cameron
10 Lewis Morrison ( Sub, 12 Jack Paterson, 55)
11 Scott McLean
Subs 13 Curtis Lyle
14 Thomas Dempsie
15 Oliver McDonald
16 Paddy Queen
17 Kenny Barr
18 Thomas Brindley
Star Player
Ayr United
James Hilton provided the main spark up front for the hosts, scoring with a delightful chip.
Scott Mclean grabbed a double for his side and was at the heart of the Killie danger.
Magic Moment
Ayr United
McGowan's fine finish looked to have given Ayr a foothold in the semi final.
Whittaker's heroics helped them to win the game in extra time.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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