Flem­ing dives to res­cue as labour­ing Ayr scrap to a win

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES CHAMPIONSHIP -

AYR UNITED have been ex­ist­ing down among the bot­tom-feed­ers of the Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship for so long this sea­son, you half-ex­pect the shirts of the play­ers to have deep-sea coral on them.

In the per­ilous waters they in­habit, though, Ian McCall’s re­silient troops con­tinue to pad­dle to safety.

And if we get any more dodgy mar­itime mus­ings into this piece, the Coast­guard might have to be scram­bled to save it from drown­ing in its own clichés.

It was Greg Flem­ing who came to Ayr’s res­cue on Satur­day as his in­stinc­tive heroics be­tween the sticks safe­guarded a pre­cious three points amid a late flurry that saw a spir­ited, 10-man Dum­bar­ton try their best to sal­vage some­thing.

Hav­ing turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 ad­van­tage ei­ther side of half-time, Ayr’s po­si­tion of au­thor­ity was strength­ened when Dum­bar­ton sub­sti­tute Garry Flem­ing, who had been on the pitch for only six min­utes, was or­dered off it for a teeth-shud­der­ing chal­lenge on Ross Docherty.

In­stead of press­ing home the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage, though, Ayr found them­selves cling­ing on at times and it was Flem­ing who earned his salt with two de­ci­sive blocks.

Robert Thom­son and Gre­gor Buchanan were left hold­ing their heads in gasp­ing dis­be­lief as Flem­ing flung him­self here and there to deny both from close range.

“I was just do­ing my job,” said the mod­est Ayr cus­to­dian, who cer­tainly put in a good shift at the of­fice.

Hav­ing moved four points clear of bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble St Mir­ren while hoist­ing them­selves level with Dum­bar­ton, Ayr have a chance to move out of the rel­e­ga­tion play-off place to­mor­row night with a game in hand against Dundee United.

While the Tan­nadice side have stut­tered in the league of late to slip down to fourth place, they will have been given a much-needed shot in the arm thanks to their vic­tory in the Irn-Bru Cup.

“Maybe they’ll have a bit of a cup hang­over,” sug­gested Flem­ing with a smile.

What­ever hap­pens in the City of Dis­cov­ery to­mor­row night, there won’t be much time to dwell on af­fairs as Ayr travel to St Mir­ren on Satur­day for the prover­bial six-pointer.

GREG FLEM­ING: Made se­ries of saves

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