Fleming dives to rescue as labouring Ayr scrap to a win
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