Scottish Challenge Cup - Quarter-Final
St Mirren2Ayr1

St Mirren 2-1 Ayr United

John Sutton knocks in the winning goal for St Mirren
Sutton knocks in a scruffy winning goal for St Mirren

John Sutton scored twice in the final seven minutes as St Mirren came from behind to beat Ayr United and reach the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Andy O'Connell fired the stubborn visitors ahead on 68 minutes.

But Sutton restored parity when he volleyed in a long ball from Stevie Mallan and soon after the big striker poked in from a Kyle Magennis pass.

Lawrence Shankland hit the crossbar and had a header disallowed for shoving as the hosts finished strongly.

The Paisley side are the third Championship side into the last four after delivering manager Jack Ross his first win in five matches since his arrival from Alloa.

The first half really didn't do too much to set the pulses racing, although Ayr keeper Greg Fleming did well to save good efforts from Sutton and Kyle McAllister, before the visitor's Scotland under 21 midfielder Alan Forrest had the best chance 10 minutes before the interval.

A great run by Craig McGuffie ended with Forrest free inside the box but his effort lacked conviction and Saints keeper Scott Gallagher got down to save.

Mallan tested Fleming again seven minutes after the break, but it was the visitors who took the lead after a terrific driving run again from McGuffie ended with a slide rule pass to substitute O'Connell eight yards out and he knocked in his first goal for the club.

However, Sutton turned the game on its head, grabbing his fifth and sixth goals of the season, which could breathe new life into the Buddies' season.

What the managers said

St Mirren manager Jack Ross: "I thought we dominated possession and territory, without creating a lot of clear-cut chances.

"There's still a lot of things we need to improve on but I'm really pleased that the players have a reward for their efforts.

"There was a wobble after we went behind but we made a couple of changes and we carried a bit of fortune with both goals.

"Hopefully, this is a catalyst for us to start winning games on a regular basis."

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "It must have been a rubbish match to watch because we didn't play at all like we can.

"I'm just gutted for all the players and the fans. We were so in control after we scored and looked like the team who might get a second on the counter.

"There were a couple of decisions in the lead up to both goals that were just wrong. The ball was clearly out and the linesman doesn't give it and for their second it's a clear corner and they give a bye kick. It's just wee Ayr United, so I don't suppose anyone cares."

Line-ups

St Mirren

  • 12Gallacher
  • 2Naismith
  • 6MackenzieBooked at 29mins
  • 15BairdSubstituted forWalshat 72'minutes
  • 3Irvine
  • 42Magennis
  • 10Mallan
  • 29McAllisterSubstituted forStewartat 88'minutes
  • 7ClarksonSubstituted forShanklandat 57'minutes
  • 17Morgan
  • 9Sutton

Substitutes

  • 1Langfield
  • 11Gallagher
  • 14Hutton
  • 16Walsh
  • 18Mclear
  • 19Stewart
  • 25Shankland

Ayr

  • 1Fleming
  • 2DevlinBooked at 53mins
  • 22Balatoni
  • 26McKennaBooked at 18mins
  • 3BoyleSubstituted forMeggattat 26'minutes
  • 14CairneyBooked at 61mins
  • 23Docherty
  • 8CrawfordBooked at 90mins
  • 21McGuffieSubstituted forDonaldat 77'minutes
  • 12Harkins
  • 10ForrestSubstituted forO'Connellat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Rose
  • 6Murphy
  • 11Donald
  • 15O'Connell
  • 18Meggatt
  • 19Hart
  • 20Wardrope
Referee:
Crawford Allan
Attendance:
2,199

Match Stats

Home TeamSt MirrenAway TeamAyr
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home11
Away8
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home11
Away9

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