St Johnstone 1
Ayr United 2
Scottish League Cup (League Cup)

St Johnstone 

1 - 2

Ayr United

Scottish League Cup (League Cup)
Tuesday, July 25th, 2023
Mc Dairmid Stadium, Perth
Attendance: 2,669

Kucheryavyi (43'minutes) George Stanger (29)
Ben Dempsey (71)

Team Managers
Unknown. Lee Bullen

Starting Eleven
Unknown. Charlie Albinson .1
George Stanger .14
Sean McGinty .5
Finn Ecrepont .21
Ben Dempsey .8
Andy Murdoch .6
Jamie Murphy .15
Mark McKenzie .22
Nick McAllister .17
Franny Amartey .17
Fraser Bryden .30

None. Robbie Mutch .31
Patrick Reading .3
Dylan Watret .32
Oliver Pendlebury .16
Scott Tomlinson .24
Paul Smith .18
Sam Ashford .23

None. Patrick Reading for Finn Ecrepont (68)
Sam Ashford for Fraser Bryden (69)
Scott Tomlinson for Franny Amartey (86)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Nick Walsh (Referee)

Match Report

Saints welcomed Ayr United to McDiarmid Park this evening for a Viaplay Cup Group A match. This evening’s match was Saints first home game of the season and manager Steven MacLean decided to go with the same starting eleven which started the 4-0 win at Alloa Athletic on Saturday. A Mark McKenzie goal on 27 minutes saw Ayr United defeat Stenhousemuir 1-0 last Tuesday evening and manager Lee Bullen made three changes to his starting eleven for this evening’s cup match. Charlie Albinson, Nick McAllister and Finn Ecrepont came in to replace Robbie Mutch and Patrick Reading who both dropped to the bench whilst Michael Hewitt missed out completely.

Andy Murdoch got the match underway for the visitors but it would Saints who would have the better of the opening exchanges. On 2 minutes Max Kucheriavyi delivered a good ball into the box which was cut out by Ben Dempsey however, Stevie May reacted quickest to the loose ball as he put his effort over the bar.

Then a minute later great play by Kucheriavyi saw him hold off the challenge from an Ayr defender before picking out Cammy Ballantyne in the box however, the midfielder saw his header flash wide of the post.

Saints continued their good start to the match and on 9 minutes Luke Jephcott played in May but Charlie Albinson was out quick to deny the Saints forward. The loose ball broke to May but the Ayr keeper was up quick to again deny the Saints number seven.

On 15 minutes good play by former Saints player Jamie Murphy saw him skip past Tony Gallacher however, he was stopped in his tracks by Ballantyne as The Honest Men were awarded a free kick in a promising position. The free kick was taken by Murphy and it looked like he was going to send an in-swinging cross into the box however, he elected to have a shot at goal which hit the side netting.

2 minutes later a great ball by Gallacher played in Graham Carey who broke away from Nick McAllister as he took a touch as it looked like he was going to cross the ball into the danger area however, he lost his footing and the chance was gone.

Just before the half an hour mark Ayr took the lead. A foul on Fraser Bryden out wide on the left saw The Honest Men awarded a free kick. Murphy took the free kick as he delivered a perfect ball into the six-yard box for George Stranger who rose to plant a header high into the top corner of the net to put the visitors in front.

With 3 minutes of the first half remaining Carey won Saints just outside the box after he was fouled by Finn Ecrepont. Carey took the free himself however, he fired high into the North Stand.

Saints though levelled the match just before half time. Great play by Carey saw him get away from McAllister as he broke down the left before he sending over an inviting ball into the box which Kucheriavyi got on the end of to send a brilliant looping header over Albinson for his first goal for the club.

Kucheriavyi almost got his and Saints second in first half stoppage time as he was inches away from connecting with another Carey ball into the box.

On 49 minutes Carey play a delightful through ball to Jephcott however, the effort from the forward lacked power as Albinson comfortably gathered.

A minute later great skill by Carey saw him skip away from McAllister and into the box however, his effort was saved by Albinson. The ball then broke to Kucheriavyi but his shot was blocked by Ecrepont.

Saints continued to create chances and on 66 minutes Carey fed the ball to Kucheriavyi down the left channel and the Ukrainian sent over a dangerous delivery into the box which was cleared by Mark McKenzie. Steven MacLean’s men created another chance 2 minutes later as Ballantyne played in Jephcott however, his shot on the turn went wide of the mark.
The visitors were looking dangerous on the counter attack and they created a chance of their own on 70 minutes however, Tony Gallacher did well to get back to deny Ayr substitute Sam Ashford. Play continued and the ball broke to Dempsey who had a go from distance and his strike took a deflection off McKenzie to deceive Mitov as it hit the back of the net to put Ayr back in front.

Saints made their first change of the game on 77 minutes as Max Kucheriavyi was replaced by Taylor Steven as the Perth side looked to get back in the match.

However, a minute later Ayr came close to a third as a Murphy free kick from the left was head on by McAllister into the path of Ashford but the forward was denied by Mitov who made a good save.

With 9 minutes remaining Saints created a couple of chances to level the match as firstly Steven saw his effort blocked and then Saints captain Liam Gordon had a go but his strike was deflected behind for a corner by McAllister.

Ayr were given a great opportunity to extend their lead on 84 minutes as The Honest Men were awarded a penalty following a handball by Carey. Dempsey stepped up to take the penalty and the midfielder sent his effort towards the middle of the goal but Mitov made a good save with his legs to keep Saints in the match.

Saints made another change with 4 minutes remaining as Jackson Mylchreest came on to replace Luke Jephcott however, there was no late comeback from the McDiarmid Park side as Ayr saw the game out to take the points to move top of Group A whilst Saints crashed out of the competition.

Match report written by St Johnstone FC Web

Squad Statistics (as at July 25th, 2023)

2023-24 All Time
Charlie Albinson (GK)26 2 - 53 -
Finn Ecrepont20 2 - 17 -
Sean McGinty29 3 - 804
George Stanger22 3131
Andy Murdoch - 3 - 1536
Ben Dempsey23 31569
Nick McAllister22 1 - 471
Mark McKenzie22 3111710
Jamie Murphy - 3 - 3 -
Franny Amartey24 3 - 3 -
Fraser Bryden19 31354
Patrick Reading (sub)24 3 - 1143
Scott Tomlinson (sub) - 1 - 2 -
Sam Ashford (sub)27 3 - 575

League Table (as at July 25th, 2023)

Pld W D L Pts

No games played.