Disappointing opener for Lichties

United's Mark Shankland breaks out leaving Lichties' Pat Martin and Graham Bayne in his wake.
United's Mark Shankland breaks out leaving Lichties' Pat Martin and Graham Bayne in his wake.

Losing to Ayr United on Saturday in their first league game did not set the kind of example that Arbroath boss Paul Sheerin needs.

The 3-0 defeat at Gayfield has given the boss some food for thought in what was an uncharacteristically lacklustre Maroon performance.

Mr Sheerin said: “I’m really disappointed with what we’ve offered, certainly at home in the last two games. And application is the most frustrating thing, which for me as a player was always a given. Nothing less than what the ball’s offering and what you’re giving will be your reward.”

Both Arbroath and Ayr came flying off the blocks at the first whistle, but it was the Honest Men who gradually ground the Lichties back into their own half.

Keeping the lion’s share of the possession and with only occasional forays from the Arbroath forwards Ayr boxed their hosts in effectively.

Michael Moffat looked keenest to open his team’s scorecard for the season and after just a handful of minutes he rattled the woodwork with a storming volley from the edge of the box.

Not to be deterred Arbroath had a decent few minutes, Colin Hamilton had a decent chance from a set piece on the Ayr perimeter but sent it skyward.

New face Lari Yao had a good run a minute later, but lack of communication and support saw his effort peter out and Michael Travis headed a prime ball clean over the cross bar from a corner a short while later.

MOFFAT got his wish on the 13 minute mark when Craig Malcolm slotted one through a gap in the Lichties’ back line and he pounded it into the net to make it 1-0.

Barely taking a breather, five minutes later MOFFAT was back in the box the victim of a foul and in the confusion of the set piece made it 2-0.

Arbroath hit a slump allowing Ayr to continue to dominate the play until the interval.

Half-time: Arbroath 0. Ayr 2.

Ayr’s aggression cost them a couple of free kicks with Gordon pope collecting a yellow on 24 minutes and Adam Hunter receiving his on 53 minutes, but Arbroath made nothing of the free kicks.

In the second half youngster Alan Forrest came on for Ayr United in place of Josh McCarthur and immediately caused problems for the hosts.

On the 62 minute mark FORREST sealed Arbroath’s fate with a clinical strike which punched through the Arbroath defence.

Arbroath started to pick up the pace, immediately swapping Ross Chisholm for Alan Cook and a minute later Paul Sheerin came on for Lari Yao.

Sheerin looked nearest to closing the gap a few minutes later, but the angle was too tight. and it skimmed across the goal mouth.

Still battling on 77 minutes Steven Milne came off for Pat Martin but it was too little too late for the Lichties.

The final whistle blew and Arbroath found themselves taking an early dip at the bottom of the table alongside Brechin.