Ayr United 3
Kelty Hearts 0
Scottish Cup (Fourth Round)

Ayr United
3 - 0
Kelty Hearts 

Scottish Cup (Fourth Round)
Saturday, January 20th, 2024
Somerset Park
Attendance: 1,623

Roy Syla (62)
Ahkeem Rose (79)
Mark McKenzie (90)

Team Managers
David White

Starting Eleven
1. Charlie Albinson
5. Sean McGinty
20. Roy Syla
14. George Stanger
3. Patrick Reading
15. Jamie Murphy
17. Nick McAllister
8. Ben Dempsey
16. Anton Dowds
11. Logan Chalmers
18. Paul Smith
1 Gourlay
2 Corbett
5 Thomson
6 McKay
3 Paterson
8 Lyon
18 McAllister
16 O'Donnell
11 McCluskey
9 Johnston
19 Bavidge

31. Robbie Mutch
32. Dylan Watret
38. Elicha Ahui
24. Scott Tomlinson
22. Mark McKenzie
30. Fraser Bryden
9. Ahkeem Rose
10 Cunningham
14 Biabi
15 Owens
17 Owens
20 Campbell
23 Moore
24 Sylla

Mark McKenzie for Paul Smith (76)
Ahkeem Rose for Jamie Murphy (76)
Fraser Bryden for Anton Dowds (87)
Scott Tomlinson for Logan Chalmers (90)
11 McCluskey for Cunningham 80'
9 Johnston for Biabi 76'

Nick McAllister
Roy Syla

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Colin Steven (Referee)

Photography by Dave Sargent

Match Report

KELTY HEARTS saw their Scottish Cup hopes come to an end as three second half goals sent Ayr United in round five this afternoon.

After a scoreless first hour, during which the visitors more than held their own, Michael Tidser's side fell behind when Roy Syla's low drive from 20 yards found the back of the net.

Two substitutes, Ahkeem Rose, in the 79th minute, and Mark McKenzie, in time added on, gave the scoreline added gloss for the Championship hosts in a game that Kelty contributed plenty to.

However, whilst they enjoyed some good spells on the ball, chances were at a premium and, when they did arrive, they didn't take them, with Alfie Bavidge sending their best wide just moments before Syla's opener.

"I thought for large spells we were really good in the game, without creating anything clear-cut," Tidser said.

"I know Bav's got a chance at the back post, but if you make a mistake, you get punished at this level. I've played 250 games at this level, so I know what it's like.

"But, listen, I can't be too critical of the lads. I've said that. There was a lot of young lads out there who have not played against Championship teams, so I thought they showed real composure, and a wee bit of character, to try and control the game for spells.

"I don't think 3-0 is a reflection of the game. As I said, a mistake, and then the game stretches, but you just take your medicine and get on with it."

Player / boss Tidser had a busy week following last weekend's draw with Annan Athletic, losing two players on permanent deals, whilst securing two loan signatures.

After Jamie Walker and Tiwi Daramola departed, Brody Paterson, from Hartlepool United, and ex-Dunfermline man Brad McKay, from Falkirk, arrived until the end of the season.

Both of the new arrivals were handed starts, with Billy Owens dropping to the bench, and Tidser not naming himself in the match day squad at all, in two changes to the Kelty line-up.

Ayr went into the game under the caretaker charge of Davie White after former Pars favourite Lee Bullen, after two years in charge, left Somerset Park earlier in the week.

The Honest Men came into their first-ever meeting with Kelty second bottom of the Championship following last week's stalemate at basement side Arbroath, whilst their opponents sit sixth in League One.

Ahead of the game, Tidser vowed that his side would try and play their usual game, and attempt to attack their opponents, as they plotted a second last 16 place, having previously achieved that feat in 2022.

They showed intent early, even although nothing ultimately came of it, when Bavidge displayed clever play to dummy a pass forward and spin his marker and drive into the box.

However, chances were at a premium and, when they did arrive, they couldn't take them.

McKay was immediately at the heart of things at the other end, defending well to deflect an Anton Dowds shot to the near post out for a corner, before Logan Chalmers curled over from the edge of the Kelty box.

In the 14th minute, though, McKay produced two moments of excellence in a matter of seconds when he produced two blocks from Paul Smith, before Kyle Gourlay, whether he knew much about it or not, did well to block from close range as Dowds tried to force the ball home.

Sean McGinty headed over at the far post from a Smith free-kick but, as the half wore on, Kelty gained more of a foothold with the ball.

Lewis O'Donnell and Reuben McAllister were particularly impressive, always showing for the ball and happy to take it in tight spaces and move it on.

Kelty's possession slowly began to frustrate some of the home crowd, and Stefan McCluskey wasn't too far away for the visitors in the 37th minute, sending a decent drive from around 20 yards narrowly over.

In the final minute of the first half, Jamie Murphy turned the ball wide - under pressure from the visiting defence - from Paddy Reading's cross, but Tidser's men were well worthy of going in level at the break.

Home dangerman Chalmers, on loan from Dundee United, tried to lift his team early in the second half.

After fizzing a low ball across the face of goal, which Dowds couldn't get on the end of, he soon found himself in space on the right.

After cutting into the box on his left foot, Paterson blocked his first attempt, before Gourlay smartly pushed the follow-up over the bar.

Shortly afterwards, Kelty had a golden chance to take the lead when Bavidge diverted Adam Corbett's cross wide from close range, before Paterson showed great feet to cut inside and curl off-target from the edge of the area.

Just after the hour, though, they suffered a blow when Ayr went ahead.

Jason Thomson struggled to clear a high ball played forward, under pressure from the home attackers.

The Honest Men won it back on the left-side of the box and the ball was played to Syla at the edge of the box, who left Gourlay standing with his drive into the net from 20 yards.

Kelty tried to find a way back into it, with Craig Johnston diverting wide from a corner kick, but they had keeper Gourlay to thank for keeping them in the tie when he pushed out a Chalmers effort, after the Ayr man had been found well with a cross-field pass.

With 11 minutes to go, though, Ayr did find the second goal they were looking for when substitute Rose, who had been on three minutes, finished well on the turn from around 12 yards out after the visitors couldn't clear a low ball into their box.

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, Fraser Bryden struck the woodwork after Chalmers had an effort saved, but in stoppage time, McKenzie curled home a third to end Kelty's cup hopes and send the Honest Men into round five.

Match report written by Dunfermline Press

Squad Statistics (as at January 20th, 2024)

2023-24 All Time
Charlie Albinson (GK)27 18 - 69 -
Roy Syla23 171171
Sean McGinty30 2611035
Patrick Reading24 27 - 1383
George Stanger23 211211
Nick McAllister23 181642
Jamie Murphy - 225225
Ben Dempsey24 1526810
Paul Smith21 17 - 50 -
Logan Chalmers23 196309
Anton Dowds27 167167
Scott Tomlinson (sub) - 7 - 8 -
Mark McKenzie (sub)23 23213711
Ahkeem Rose (sub)25 225225
Fraser Bryden (sub)19 214537

League Table (as at January 20th, 2024)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Dundee United 20 13 5 2 44
2. Raith Rovers 21 13 5 3 44
3. Partick Thistle 21 10 6 5 36
4. Airdrieonians 20 8 3 9 27
5. Morton 20 7 5 8 26
6. Dunfermline Athletic 19 6 5 8 23
7. ICT 21 5 6 10 21
8. Queen's Park 20 5 5 10 20
9. Ayr United 20 5 5 10 20
10. Arbroath 20 5 3 12 18