MORTON Under-20s failed to gain any real ground on Development League West leaders Queen of the South after a 2-2 draw with Ayr United Academy last night at Cappielow.
Ton went into the clash with two games in hand over the Doonhamers at the summit of the table, but could only muster a draw with their opponents, who themselves sit just one place behind Andy Millen’s men in third place.
There was a notable lack of first team involvement from Ton as recent regulars for the 20s Kudus Oyenuga and Jon Scullion both missed the clash.
However, Scott Tiffoney and Lewis Strapp both played from the start as well as Jamie McGowan between the sticks for the home side.
United started quicker and had a decent chance inside the first 10 minutes through Maclean Simpson, but his toe-poke went just wide. Yet seven minutes later, they did take the lead.
Striker Sean McKenzie dragged the ball past his marker before turning and firing low beyond McGowan from just inside the box.
Tiffoney’s attempted reply from a free-kick before half-time was desperately unlucky as he disguised a cross, only to shoot and hit the outside netting.
McKenzie and Ben Armour both had decent chances for their respective sides, but it was 1-0 at the break. The second half began with Ton on the front-foot and Alex McWaters should’ve scored at the back-post but fluffed his lines.
But the youngster made amends with the equaliser on the hour mark after Armour had cracked the post following impressive work down the left by Tiffoney.
Tiffoney then thundered an effort off the crossbar as Ton looked to take the lead for the first time in the game, but it was Ayr who rallied and bagged their second after 81 minutes.
A terrific cross into the box from the right found sub Jack Sherrie at the back-post who rose above John Mitchell to power home a wonderful header past McGowan’s outstretched arm.
But just when it looked like Ton might suffer their first home loss of the campaign, McWaters popped up again on 89 minutes to side-foot a Tiffoney delivery into the corner for the leveller.
Both sides would no doubt have been happy with a draw, particularly the hosts after such a lacklustre first half.
Ton now have one game in hand over Queens as they attempt to close the gap back to three points once again.