Forfar Athletic 1 Ayr United 0 (Pre-Season Friendly) 30th June 2018

Forfar Athletic got their pre-season schedule off to the perfect start with a 1-0 win at home to last season’s League One winners Ayr United.

Jamie Bain’s smart lob midway through the second half was the difference between the sides in the opening fixture of their respective pre-season schedules.

Summer signings Gary Fraser, Thomas Reilly, Darren Whyte, John Baird and Ross Meechan all started, with Willie Muir making an appearance from the bench along with a trialist.

The first half saw both sides struggle to get into a rhythm and very little chances were carved out on a hot afternoon at Station Park.

The Honest Men had the first opportunities early on with Alan Forrest firing over from the edge of the box before Daniel Harvie struck low at Marc McCallum from the same distance.

Harvie forced another save from McCallum in the 20th minute as he connected with a Declan McDaid corner.

The game started to come to life in the last five minutes of the first half with Craig Moore striking an effort at McCallum, while at the other end Gary Fraser and John Baird combined for Darren Whyte to test Ellis Hare-Reid from 20 yards.

Baird saw a shot of his own blocked by a defender after Dylan Easton found the player/assistant manager with a low cross on the stroke of half time.

Ayr made four changes at half time as the Loons stuck with the same XI and it almost paid off shortly after the restart when Easton struck a long distance effort over the bar.

Last season’s League One Player of the Year Lawrence Shankland fired past the post in the 48th minute after coming on as a half time sub for the Honest Men.

Eight minutes later Easton couldn’t beat the wall with a 25 yard free kick and the follow up was sent low and just wide by Eddie Malone.

The deadlock was broken in the 64th minute with a long ball forward; Jamie Bain found himself racing clear and took the ball down with a deft touch before delicately lifting it over the advancing Hare-Reid and into the back of the net.

Baird came close with two efforts in quick succession following this as Forfar looked for a quick second.

Willie Muir was called into action for the first time in the 73rd minute when Shankland burst through the defence but the summer signing did well to turn his shot round the post.

Neither side really troubled the opposition keepers following this with Bain and Ayr’s James Hilton failing to find the target in the closing stages.

The result will give the Loons a boost ahead of their second pre-season fixture next Saturday when they host another Championship side in Greenock Morton.

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum (Willie Muir 58), Ross Meechan, Eddie Malone (Trialist 58), Andy Munro, Michael Travis (Sam Clark 80), Darren Whyte (Murray Mackintosh 58), Jamie Bain, Thomas Reilly, John Baird, Gary Fraser (Ben Starkey 85), Dylan Easton (Jack Allan 85)

Ayr United: Ellis Hare-Reid, Daniel Harvie, Michael Rose, Andy Geggan (Stuart Faulds 46), Michael Moffat (Lawrence Shankland 46), Robbie Crawford (Craig McGuffie 46), Craig Moore (Luke McCowan 46), Alan Forrest (James Hilton 70), Declan McDaid (Finn Ecrepont 70), A. Trialist, B. Trialist (Leon Murphy 70)

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