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League 1- Play Off Promotion Triumph for Ayr

The 2015-16 season was the 101st season of competitive football which saw the Honest Men promoted to The SPFL Championship after finishing astn_Rangers (h) 19 Aug 2015 (CC) runners up in League One and winning the Championship Play-offs and sealing first promotion at Somerset Park since 1955-56 after defeating Stranraer in the final.Ayr United manager Ian Mc Call had already stated that season 2015/16 would be a more successful season than the previous one and that Ayr United would at least challenge at the top. Well winning the Ryedale Cup at Gretna pre-season wasn’t exactly what he was referring to, but it was a nice start for the club and supporters.

Early cup wins against Albion Rovers in the Petrofac Cup and Brechin City in the League cup were welcome, the former bringing a second round encounter with Rangers which did end in defeat as did the 2nd Round of the League Cup against Premier league side Ross County. Early league results were inconsistent but by mid September Ayr were putting a consistent winning run together including a 2-0 win at Dunfermline, a 5-2 win against Stenhousemuir and a 5-0 slaughtering of newly relegated Cowdenbeath in early October.

United were league leaders when the wheels came of the wagon in early December and into January when injuries to prominent players began to have an adverse effect on a slim player pool. By the time that United recovered Dunfermline Athletic had developed a good lead at the top of the table and the Honest Men were in a battle for second spot with Peterhead. There were still erratic results ranging from superb 4-1 victories against Stenhousemuir and Cowdenbeath in successive home games in March to disappointing defeats at home to Peterhead and then away to relegation threatened Brechin City and Forfar Athletic.

Manager Mc Call continued to play down Ayr promotion prospects particularly after successive defeats against Cowdenbeath and Albion Rovers in April which threatened Ayr’s second spot.

This was ultimately secured with conclusive and successive 4-0 home wins against Peterhead and Stenhousemuir in late April, securing Ayr’s play-off place.

Ayr United faced Peterhead in the play off semi-finals playing the first leg in the Blue Toon in early May recording a tie winning 4-1 victory. A 2-1 win at home in the second leg was a formality by this time and a final place against Stranraer was established. A 95th minute equalising goal by Ross Docherty gave Ayr a valuable away draw in the first leg, which ultimately proved valuable when the teams played a goaless draw at Somerset Park in the second leg after extra time.

A penalty shoot would decide who gained promotion and the Ayr fans were soon singing the praises of goalkeeper after he saved the first three penalties leaving United to creat a promotion winning 3-1 lead in the shoot out. Championship football was coming to Somerset Park in 2016/2017.

Between drawing at Brechin City on 7th November and drawing at Stranraer on 11th May, Ayr United recorded their longest drawless run in the club’s history. The 26 drawless matches comprised 23 in the league, one in the Scottish Cup and two in the play-offs. Ross Docherty broke this sequence in the play off semi final at Stranraer, for which the Ayr United following were enternally grateful.

Date

Opponents

H/A

Competition

Score – Ayr First

Attendance

Programme Issued

Comments

07/07/15

St Mirren

A

Friendly

1-0

 

No Issue

Behind closed doors at Ralston, Paisley

11/07/15

Annan Athletic

N

Raydale Cup

3-1

 

Yes

Combined Programme

12/07/2015

Gretna

A

Raydale Cup

1-0

 

Yes

Combined Programme.  Ayr Win Cup

15/07/2015

Rangers

A

Friendly

0-2

 

No Issue

Behind closed doors at Murray Park, Glasgow

18/07/2015

Coleraine

H

Friendly

0-1

 

Yes

 

21/07/15

Hibernian

H

Friendly

0-0

 

No Issue

 

25/07/2015

Albion Rovers

H

Petrofac Training Cup

3-1

1,003

Yes

 

1/08/2015

Brechin City

H

Scottish League Cup – 1st Rnd

2-0

976

Yes

 

8/08/2015

Albion Rovers

A

League 1

0-3

781

Yes

 

15/08/2015

Brechin City

H

League 1

2-1

1,074

Yes

 

19/08/2015

Rangers

H

Petrofac Training Cup – 2nd Rnd

0-2

7,468

Yes

 

22/08/2015

Stranraer

A

League 1

2-1

882

Yes

 

25/08/2015

Ross County

A

Scottish League Cup – 2nd Rnd

0-2

 

Yes

 

29/08/2015

Forfar Athletic

H

League 1

2-2

1,243

Yes

 

01/09/2015

Stenhousemuir

H

League 1

5-2

 

Yes

 

12/09/2015

Dunfermline Athletic

A

League 1

2-0

3,596

Yes

 

19/09/2015

Airdrieonians

A

League 1

2-1

1,141

Yes

 

26/09/2015

Peterhead

H

League 1

1-1

1,304

Yes

 

03/10/2015

Cowdenbeath

H

League 1

5-0

1,171

Yes

 

17/10/2015

Forfar Athletic

A

League 1

2-2

745

Yes

 

24/10/2015

Stenhousemuir

A

League 1

1-0

767

Yes

 

31/10/2015

Stranraer

H

League 1

3-1

1,415

Yes

 

07/11/2015

Brechin City

A

League 1

1-1

541

Yes

 

14/11/2015

Albion Rovers

H

League 1

1-0

1,389

Yes

 

21/11/2015

Airdrieonians

H

League 1

3-0

1,403

Yes

 

28/11/2015

Dunfermline Athletic

H

Scottish Cup 3rd Rnd

0-1

 

Yes

 

05/12/2015

Cowdenbeath

A

League 1

 

 

Yes

Postponed

12/12/2015

Dunfermline Athletic

H

League 1

1-2

2,076

Yes

 

19/12/2015

Peterhead

A

League 1

0-3

612

Yes

 

26/12/2015

Brechin City

H

League 1

2-1

1,485

Yes

 

29/12/2015

Cowdenbeath

A

League 1

2-4

 

Yes

 

02/1/2016

Stranraer

A

League 1

0-1

1,178

Yes

 

16/1/2016

Cowdenbeath

H

League 1

 

 

Yes

Postponed

23/1/2016

Albion Rovers

A

League 1

3-1

427

Yes

 

30/1/2016

Stenhousemuir

H

League 1

 

 

Yes

Postponed

06/2/2016

Peterhead

H

League 1

1-2

1,155

Yes

 

13/2/2016

Dunfermline Athletic

A

League 1

2-3

3,319

Yes

 

20/2/2016

Forfar Athletic

H

League 1

2-1

763

Yes

 

27/2/2016

Airdrieonians

A

League 1

1-0

1,000

Yes

 

01/3/2016

Cowdenbeath

H

League 1

4-1

856

Yes

 

05/3/2016

Brechin City

A

League 1

0-1

491

Yes

 

08/3/2016

Stenhousemuir

H

League 1

4-1

889

Yes

 

12/3/2016

Dunfermline Athletic

H

League 1

0-2

2,190

Yes

 

18/3/2016

Forfar Athletic

A

League 1

1-3

614

Yes

 

26/3/2016

Stranraer

H

League 1

2-1

1,244

Yes

 

02/4/2016

Cowdenbeath

A

League 1

0-1

429

Yes

 

09/4/2016

Albion Rovers

H

League 1

0-1

1,044

Yes

 

16/4/2016

Stenhousemuir

A

League 1

4-0

652

Yes

 

23/4/2016

Peterhead

A

League 1

4-0

617

Yes

 

30/4/2016

Airdrieonians

H

League 1

0-3

1,594

Yes

 

03/05/2016

Peterhead

A

Championship Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg

4-1

807

Yes

 

07/05/2016

Peterhead

H

Championship Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg

2-1

1,848

Yes

 

11/05/2016

Stranraer

A

Championship Play Off Final 1st Leg

1-1

1,652

Yes

 

15/05/2016

Stranraer

H

Championship Play Off Final 2nd Leg

0-0

4,581

Yes

Aggregate 1-1.  Ayr United win 3-1 on penalties

Pos

Teams

Pld

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pts

Promotion, qualification or relegation

1

Dunfermline Athletic (C, P)

36

24

7

5

83

30

+53

79

Promotion to Scottish Championship

2

Ayr United (P)

36

19

4

13

65

47

+18

61

Qualification to Championship play-offs

3

Peterhead

36

16

11

9

72

47

+25

59

4

Stranraer

36

15

6

15

43

49

-6

51

5

Airdrieonians

36

14

7

15

48

50

-2

49

6

Albion Rovers

36

13

10

13

40

44

-4

49

7

Brechin City

36

12

6

18

47

59

-12

42

8

Stenhousemuir

36

11

7

18

46

80

-34

40

9

Cowdenbeath (R)

36

11

6

19

46

72

-26

39

Qualification to League One play-offs

10

Forfar Athletic (R)

36

8

10

18

48

60

-12

34

Relegation to Scottish League Two

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