By George Connolly
United are hoping to land in top spot with a win over The Wasps as the fans remain confident.
Ayr United take on Alloa Athletic tonight at Somerset Park. The Honest Men came out 2-0 victors when the two teams met at Indodrill Stadium in September thanks to a Lawrence Shankland double. If Ayr are victorious tonight, they could go top of the Scottish Championship but only if current leaders Ross County fail to beat Falkirk away from home.
Ayr will be looking to continue their winning form after a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle in Glasgow. Alloa will be aiming to go five games unbeaten tonight in all competitions following their 0-0 draw at the weekend against Inverness.
Previous meetings do not point out a clear winner of tonights game. In the last four games between the sides Alloa have won twice and Ayr have won twice. In all four of these games only one has has not ended 2-1. The 2-0 win in September sent Ayr up back to the top of the Scottish Championship, at that time leap-frogging Inverness. They will hope to do the same tonight but this time go in front of Inverness’ Highland rivals Ross County. The Wasp’s last won at Somerset Park in February with a 2-1 win. Shankland was on target for Ayr that day but goals from Jamie McCart and Ross Stewart led Alloa to victory. The Honest Men have not won at home against Alloa in five attempts and will be looking to fix that record tonight.
Robbie Crawford is set to make his 200th Ayr United appearance tonight and Craig Moore is set to make his 100th. Ayr have the upper hand in the head to head between the two sides. The Honest Men have 57 wins while Alloa have 27. There has been 23 games that have ended in a stalemate.
Radio Clyde’s Andrew McLean believes that Ayr have the upper hand going into this one. He says: ” I’ve seen nothing to suggest their good form will let up anytime soon, especially against an Alloa team that’s only won one Championship game all season. For those reasons, my prediction is that it’ll be a comfortable 3-0 win for the Honest Men”.
He also praises Ayr’s star striker Shankland and Manager Ian McCall: “Lawrence Shankland continues to grab the headlines week after week with his impressive goalscoring record, but behind him is a hard working and compact unit that has been well drilled by Ian McCall”.
Lawrence Shankland has not been short of praise from the fans either this season. Kerr Crate from The Bell Rock Ayr United Supporters Club says that Ayr’s number 17 is the “best player I’ve ever seen in an Ayr jersey”.
He thinks Ayr will win 3-1 although does not rule out Alloa. He says: “They’ll believe they can come down and get a result tonight”. He also praises Ayr striker Micheal Moffat. The 33-year old has scored five goals in the league this season and Crate believes that “he does not get enough praise”.
That thought is echoed by a spokesperson from Global Wasp’s News who says: “Last meeting with Ayr, Shankland was the difference. If Alloa can snuff out his threat, they are capable of a win”. If the striker scores twice tonight he will reach the fifty goal mark for Ayr United.
Global Wasp’s News also believes Alloa’s “Neil Parry in goal could be key”. They also add that “(Dario) Zanatta on loan from Hearts is performing well and along with (Alan) Trouten and (Connor) Shields could be The Wasp’s best chance of nicking a goal or two”. Their prediction was slightly different however, predicting a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 win to Alloa.
Kieran Mooney, a contributor to the Alloa match day programme also praises Trouten, Shields and Zanatta. He says: “Zanatta has played up front and works tirelessly harassing defenders,” and that “the trio of Trouten, Cawley and Shields has been working a treat”.
Mooney thinks tonight’s match “will definitely be a massive task” but with “a little bit more composure at the last moment, we could be able to hurt Ayr”. His prediction for the game takes into account Alloa’s good record against Ayr. He explained: “We have not been free-scoring but defensively sound. Our record is decent at Ayr. Let’s be optimistic and go for a draw, 1-1”.
Fans of both sides gave us their predictions and you can too, just vote in the poll bellow.
The game kicks off at 7.45pm with a minutes silence before the game to remember those who lost their lives by the events in Leicester at the weekend. There was a last minute change to the match officials. The match will now be officiated by David Munro instead of Euan Anderson. He will be assisted by Brian Templeton and Jordan Paterson.