Our Under 20s league campaign got off to a disappointing start as they suffered a 5-0 defeat away to Ayr United Under 20s at Cumnock Juniors Townhead Park.
For the game coach Hugo Faria named a strong starting team as it included starts for a number of players who have featured in the first team this season including Joe Gorman and James Daly and on the substitutes bench their was a place for Under 17s striker Euan Scott whilst Ayr United included former Airdrie youth team player Andy Johnstone in their starting eleven.
The game got off to a poor start for Airdrie and after eight minutes they found themselves 2-0 down thanks to goals from Ayr defender David Waite from the penalty spot and from Ayr striker Maclean Simpson. Our young Diamonds responded positively and on the 18th minute Ciaran Reilly had our first chance when he hit a shot from about 25 yards out but Ayr goalkeeper Lyle Avcii managed to get down low and turn the ball behind and from the resulting corner the ball was crossed into the box and Joe Gorman got away from his marker to send a powerful header goal wards but again Lyle Avcii made the save.
Our Under 20s continued to search for a way back into the game and on the 20th minute came extremely close when Ciaran Reilly hit a shot from about ten yards out but the ball clipped the post and went wide and two minutes later Conor Bell picked up a yellow card for a professional foul. Then on the 38th minute things got worse for Airdrie as after an altercation with an Ayr player which won them a free kick Dean Cairns picked up a yellow card for his part in it and after he was back in the box lining up to defend it the linesman raised his flag and the referee went into the box and this time showed Dean Cairns a straight red card. Before the end of the half both teams had chances but neither of them could convert them into goals and we headed into half time losing 2-0.
Before the half began both teams made substitutions as Airdrie brought Arran Ross on for Scott Thomson and Ayr brought Craig Brown on for Leon Murphy and on the 49th minute Ayr had the first chance of the half when they won a corner as from it the ball was crossed into the box and Maclean Simpson got onto the end of it with a header but the ball went wide. Shortly after this our Under 20s had their first chance of the half when Ciaran Reilly hit a shot from the edge of the box but the ball went just wide and eight minutes later Ayr had another chance when they hit a curling shot from the top of the box but Airdrie goalkeeper Matthew Kerr made the save.
On the 59th minute Ayr made their second substitution as Jamie Martin came on for James Hilton and a minute later Maclean Simpson scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-0. Shortly after this our Under 20s made another substitution as Jordan Duncan came on for Conor McLaughlin, Ciaran Reilly picked up a yellow card for a reckless challenge and Ayr made it 4-0 when Andy Johnstone drilled a shot across Matthew Kerr and into the back of the net from a difficult angle.
Our young Diamonds continued to search for a goal and on the 72nd and 75th minutes the impressive Robbie Leighton had shots saved by Lyle Avcii and two minutes later we made our final substitution as Euan Scott came on for Ciaran Reilly. Shortly after this our Under 20s looked to have a stone wall penalty for a foul on Robbie Leighton turned down by the referee and Ayr made there final substitution as Adam Caldwell came on for Colin Granger and on the 80th minute Luke McCowan scored the best goal of the game for Ayr when he curled a shot into the top corner of the net to give Matthew Kerr no chance and win them the game 5-0.
1 Matthew Kerr, 2 Craig Truesdale, 3 Dean Cairns (Captain), 4 Joe Gorman, 5 Conor Bell, 6 Calvin Cowie, 7 Robbie Leighton, 9 Ciaran Reilly, 10 James Daly, 11 Scott Thomson, 18 Conor McLaughlin
12 Arran Ross for 11 Scott Thomson, 14 Jordan Duncan for 8 Conor McLaughlin, 15 Euan Scott for 9 Ciaran Reilly
Substitute Not Used:
17 Callum Kinvig
1 Lyle Avcii, 2 David Waite, 3 Grant Thornurn, 4 Jamie Ballantyne, 5 Colin Granger, 6 Scot Granger, 7 Andy Johnstone, 8 James Hilton, 9 Maclean Simpson, 10 Luke McCowan, 11 Leon Murphy
14 Adam Caldwell for 5 Colin Granger, 15 Jamie Martin for 8 James Hilton, 16 Craig Brown for 11 Leon Murphy
Substitutes Not Used:
12 Nathan Baird, 21 Jamie Brotherston
Mr. Chris Gentles