Inverness CT 1 - 2 Ayr United

League Match
Friday, May 5th, 2023, 7:45 PM at Caledonian Stadium
Attendance: 3,435
Referee: Don Robertson
Inverness CT  Ayr United

Goalscorers
Nathan Shaw (81)
Josh Mullin (35)
Mark McKenzie (88)

Team Managers
Billy Dodds Lee Bullen

Starting Eleven
Mark Ridgers
Wallace Duffy
Robbie Deas
Cameron Harper
Daniel Devine
Sean Welsh
Scott Allardice
Nathan Shaw
Daniel Mackay
Jay Henderson
Billy Mckay
Charlie Albinson
Mikey Hewitt
Frankie 4Musonda
Sean McGinty
Paddy Reading
Sam 3Ashford
Ben Dempsey
Andy Murdoch
Josh Mullin
Dipo Akinyemi
Chris Maguire

Substitutes
Cameron Mackay
Zak Delaney
Lewis Hyde
David Carson
Roddy MacGregor
Ben Woods
Aaron Doran
Austin Samuels
Steven Boyd
Aidan McAdams
Daire O'Connor
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson
Nick McAllister
Reece McAlear
Mark McKenzie
Fraser Bryden
Paul Smith
Carter Jenkins

Substitutions
David Carson for Wallace Duffy (45)
Austin Samuels for Daniel Mackay (45)
Lewis Hyde for Scott Allardice (73)
Zak Delaney for Daniel Devine (73)
Ben Woods for Sean Welsh (79)
Reece McAlear -> Sam Ashford (64)
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson -> Chris Maguire (76)
Mark McKenzie -> Josh Mullin (76)
Daire O'Connor -> Paddy Reading (86)
Fraser Bryden -> Andy Murdoch (86)

Bookings
Jay Henderson (17)
Charlie Albinson (90+4)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Mark Ridgers (GK) 236 apps -
Wallace Duffy 72 apps3 goals
Robbie Deas 112 apps2 goals
Daniel Devine 179 apps6 goals
Cameron Harper 117 apps9 goals
Sean Welsh 133 apps16 goals
Scott Allardice 99 apps7 goals
Nathan Shaw 43 apps10 goals
Billy Mckay 245 apps100 goals
Daniel Mackay 96 apps16 goals
Jay Henderson 20 apps4 goals
Zak Delaney (sub) 39 apps -
Ben Woods (sub) 8 apps -
David Carson (sub) 139 apps2 goals
Lewis Hyde (sub) 45 apps -
Austin Samuels (sub) 42 apps7 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Jay Henderson (21 years 78 days)
Oldest Player:Billy Mckay (34 years 203 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 158 days
Domestic Players:8 (72.73 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ben Woods (20 years 225 days)
Oldest Player:Billy Mckay (34 years 203 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 119 days
Domestic Players:12 (60.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones
Nathan Shaw reached 10 goals for the Club.

Ayr never read the script



The final game of the regular season would decide who went into the play-offs and who ended their league campaign now. It couldn't be tighter across the Championship on Winner Takes All Weekend.

David Carson was a surprise omission from the starting XI after his Cup suspension with Wallace Duffy retaining his place at right back. Billy Mckay was hoping to be a record breaker as he searched for his 101st goal for the Caley Jags. Only a win would be good enough for Inverness who could finish third or sixth, depending on results elsewhere. A win would end speculation and put Inverness in the play-offs. As it turned out we ended the season in sixth place and Ayr, Queen's Park and Partick Thistle will battle it out in the play-offs for a Premiership place alongside Champions Dundee.

Ayr United never read the script properly and deservedly took the plaudits in a 2-1 win at the Caledonian Stadium. A first half goal from Josh Mullin who looked close to being offside and Nathan Shaw in a crowded box with ten minutes left looked to be enough for the Honest Men. However Mark McKenzie ensured it would be Ayr's night with an 88th minute strike to shatter our hopes after such a strong finish to the season. Alas we fell at the last hurdle and now have a month to wait for a Scottish Cup Final appearance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a perfect evening for a game of football, Inverness failed to turn up for the first forty-five which Ayr totally dominated. Ayr had numerous efforts that went close from distance or Ridgers was able to fend away and they should have scored but for a timely if unintended block inside the six yard box. They did open the scoring though when Josh Mullin was given the benefit of a marginal decision to run through on Ridgers and tuck the ball away. No more than Ayr deserved to be honest as we were not at the races in the first half. With Carson and Samuels on in the second half, we were instantly more aggressive and had a number of efforts. Samuels had a half blocked shot cleared off the line by Musonda. He was also close to connecting with a low ball into the box. Carson did connect with one but volleyed it a couple of yards wide. Shaw slotted in after good pressure in a crowded box as we saw a glimmer of hope. Delaney headed over from ten yards following a corner as we pushed for a winner. Alas it came at the other end when O'Conner teed up Mark McKenzie to slot home from twelve yards as Ridgers moved to cover the other side of his goal line. Samuels had the ball in the net after Albinson pushed away a shot, but he was adjudged offside by a less than impressive standside linesman. Game over, too little too late and another season in the Championship incoming. Meh!

FULL TIME 1-2

Inverness paid the price for a jaded looking first half as Ayr went about their business with intent. The benching of Carson was not the most popular decision Dodds has ever made and he should carry the can for that. We could not muster anything of note in a shocker of a first half and Ayr could have been three up at the interval. Nathan Shaw offered us some hope but it was too little too late and we suffered a late sucker punch as Ayr celebrated. Looks like our heavy schedule eventually took it's toll or did we really look like a team that wanted to go up a league? Much better second half with Carson and Samuels getting stuck in, but half of the team in that first half could have sat in the stands and watched. Maybe they did as Ayr were all over us like a rash in the first forty-five.

Match report written by tm4tj



None.

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Dundee 36 17 12 7 66 40 26 63
2. Ayr United 36 16 10 10 61 43 18 58
3. Queens Park 36 17 7 12 63 52 11 58
4. Partick Thistle 36 16 9 11 65 45 20 57
5. Morton 36 15 12 9 53 43 10 57
6. Inverness CT 36 15 10 11 52 47 5 55
7. Raith Rovers 36 11 10 15 46 49 -3 43
8. Arbroath 36 6 16 14 29 47 -18 34
9. Hamilton Academical 36 7 10 19 31 63 -32 31
10. Cove Rangers 36 7 10 19 38 75 -37 31