The own goal was a bit of a horror show from Dowie. I'm not sure he needs to stretch for it and theres no way he can control where any touch is going to go. Nade did well getting the equaliser and on another day could have had a couple more. Unfortunately our missed chances hurt us as Ayr scored a couple of really nicely finished goals. They were 2 chances that they should never have had and they highlight our biggest problem all night.
Gallacher in goals did ok. He made a couple of good saves, particularly in the first half. Our back 4 didnt have a terrible game (Dowie's OG apart) and I thought Craig Barr had a really solid game. The problem came with who was in front of them. I thought we created a few reasonable chances and I wouldn't expect our guys to be clinical in front of goal this early in the season. Losing Hill was a serious blow as it forced Barr back into defence and left us with a midfield 2 of Prior and Wilson. Prior is a young, inexperienced player who gives us effort but who needs to develop. I thought Wilson was really poor in possession. His first touch was heavy, his passing was poor and he routinely played himself into trouble. There was no fluidity in our play and our wide men didnt really do enough. In the 2nd half we completely lost the midfield battle and the 2 Ayr goals came from players allowed a criminal amount of time and space. Carswell in the middle of the park is closing them down. Without Carswell? We looked disorganised and lightweight. I know he's not a big bruiser but his positional sense is usually very good and he's generally where he needs to be to break up the opposition attack. McCrorie did it well in the latter half of last season. Sparky did it for us in the first half of the season. We've got a serious problem if Gallagher and Carswell are going to be out. Barr can obviously push forward to give our midfield a bit of dig but it's reliant on Dougie Hill not being out for too long. I think we've got the makings of a decent partnership between Nade and Stewart. Nade won a lot of headers but the understanding and anticipation just wasnt there for Stewart to really make use of the knock downs. When he was punted wide left later in the 2nd half, that effectively finished it for us.
We were ok in the first half. The game changed when Ayr took control of the midfield in the 2nd half. It highlighted just how big a problem we have in the middle of the park. We need to hope it's a problem we can solve because tonight highlighted what happens when we're not in the midfield battle.