THERE is nothing to hasten a realisation of one’s advancing years than a look at where the world was in 1993 to where it is now. If current technology has moved at a pace of knots in the 28 years since Kilmarnock and Ayr last fought out a league game, then it did not take long for a reminder to be served that there remain some constants in this world.
“Ayr United, Ayr United, won f**k all and never will” was the early soundtrack to accompany a derby that was lapped up by a crowd of 4000, keen to make up for all sorts of lost time.
By the time they left, the PA announcer was screaming about “only one team in Ayrshire” as second-half goals from Liam Polworth and Innes Cameron staved off the threat of frustration as Killie had went into the interval on level terms.
They had much to shout about from the off. Kilmarnock were the better team, forcing ten corners in the opening half but there was a familiar thread as the game wore on with the Rugby Park side’s profligacy notable. Chance after chance went abegging – Charlie Albinson, the Ayr United goalkeeper, saved from Cameron’s header while there was a clamour for an early spot-kick after Aaron Muirhead’s hand came off of Fraser Murray’s shot.
The excellent Burke was the catalyst for so much of Kilmarnock’s attacking play but as the hosts dominated the game without finding the breakthrough, there could have been a string in the tale as the opening period drew to a close.
Twice Ayr United striker Oluwatomisin Adeloye asked questions of Jason Naismith. The first incident drew a perfectly timed sliding tackle from the defender to stop the player as he bore down on goal but the second incident from a corner, ought to have won a corner for the visitors after Adeloye was flattened by the attentions of Naismith, who had both arms around him.
Kilmarnock got the breakthrough their play merited on the other side of the interval with Burke integral to the move. The winger drove down the flank before delivering the ball into the box towards Blair Alston. The midfielder couldn’t get a clean shot on it as he was challenged but the ball broke into the path of Liam Polworth who netted.
As Kilmarnock threatened to turn the screw, Hopkin put on Jonathan Afolabi, who signed a loan deal earlier in the day from Celtic, and Daire O’Connor who signed from Cliftonville this summer.
It was Kilmarnock, though, who looked most likely to add to the scoring as Cameron scorned another chance as he drew an effort wide of the target.
Cameron, who had missed a glut of chances, secured the points with four minutes of time remaining when he blasted his penalty into the bottom left-hand corner after Jack Baird had handled Alston’s shot.