Betfred Cup Group G
Berwick Rangers 0 Ayr United 7 (Moffat 21, 36; McCowan 26, 70; Doolan 35, 86; McGuffie 42)
The new season starts with a comprehensive home defeat at the hands of Championship side Ayr United. Backed by a reasonable away support given the time of year The Honest Men arrived looking to adjust to life after Lawrence Shankland, the prolific goal scoring machine who left for Dundee United in the close seaosn, and safe to say today was the sort of day that will having them saying Lawrence Who? Doubles for Mike Moffat, Luke McCowan and recent arrival from Partick Thistle Kris Doolan along with one from Craig McGuffie eased Ayr to victory and the three points.
The first twenty minutes were relatively uneventful with neither side causing any real problems for the other, Ayr applying the majority of the pressure without causing any major scares. That was to end in the 21st minute when a decent move led to Moffat opening the scoring for the vistors. The next twenty one minutes would see the roof cave in with a further four goals conceded including Doolan's first for his new club.
Five nil at half-time meant the likelihood of a penalty shoot out had severely dwindled.
The second half saw Ayr take their foot of the pedal a bit and we enjoyed the odd bit of possession going forward with a few half chances created. A final two goals for Ayr gave their fans something to bang their bloody drum about towards the end, the final one taking an eternity to cross the line.
I don't think we realistically went into this game expecting to take much from it but had hoped it wouldn't be the drubbing it turned out to be. For a team that were pretty much introduced to each other prior to the game it's hard to take a lot from it and that's going to be the nature of the Betfred for us, it's really about getting a team and a style together for the opening Lowland League game against Bonnyrigg. So did we learn anything from today? Brennan had a few decent saves, Gary Windrum some decent runs and seems happy to try and take his man on and we look to be trying to get the ball out wide and to pass it around. I think Euan Smith is wasted at Centre Back and will be of much more use to us in midfield, hopefully a situation that will be resolved when Cieran Chalmers is fully fit, we need at least one more striker and right back looked a bit of an issue today with Ayr causing a lot of problems down that side.
Considering it was a drubbing I haven't come away full of doom and gloom fearful for the season ahead. Obviously we need to see it come together more over the next two weeks which isn't going to be easy against higher league opposition and we can only hope that the players realise there isn't huge expectation on them during the group games and that their confidence doesn't take a battering.
Berwick: Brennan, Wright, Forster, Waugh, Cook, E Smith, Lumsden, A Smith, Healey (Jack, 84), Barr, Windrum (Purves, 83)
Subs not used: Rose, Chalmers, Fletcher (GK)
Ayr: Doohan, Muirhead, Harvie, Kerr, Roscoe, Geggan (Ferguson, 61), Moffat (Ross, 67), Doolan, McCowan, McGuffie (Forrest, 71), Kelly
Subs not used: Murdoch, McKenzie, Docherty, Hare-Reid (GK)