Peterhead need something just short of a miracle going into Saturday’s second leg against Ayr but unfortunately The Blue Toon just couldn’t overturn the deficit and ended up losing 2-1 on the day and 6-2 on aggregate.
Both teams traded possession in the opening five minutes and won corners but were unable to trouble the keepers at either end.
First real chance came after six minutes, Steve Noble’s corner to the back post was headed back across goal by Ryan Strachan to Rory McAllister in space who shot over the bar in a crowded penalty area.
Ayr broke up the other end and won a free kick on the edge of the box, Scott Ross receiving a yellow card for a challenge on Ross McRorie. The cross was headed at goal by Ross Docherty but Graeme Smith managed to hold on.
Peterhead looked the more likely for the next ten minutes but were unable to really challenge Ayr keeper Greg Flemming, Simon Ferry slicing a shot well wide from 20-yards.
Craig Moore had a flick on at the near post from six yards on 24 minutes which went across the face of goal and just narrowly wide of the far post.
One minute later, Ayr took the lead when Robbie Crawford slotted the ball home from inside the 18 yard box.
Peterhead came back minutes later when Leighton McIntosh put what looked like a cross into the box from the right channel which totally deceived Fleming and sailed over the Ayr stoppers head and into the far corner of the net. It will be one for the dubious goals committee however, with the ball seemingly taking a nick off of Michael Donald on its way in.
Just after the half hour mark Nathan Blockley hit a good effort on the full volley which forced a diving save out of Flemming down low to the keepers right.
On 38 minutes, Michael Donald’s through ball put Craig Moore in but the ball got caught under the attacker’s feet as he failed to get a shot on target.
Rory McAllister had a pop at goal from a free kick 25 yards out, the striker got it up and over the wall but the effort didn’t have enough power as Flemming got down low to make a comfortable save. This was the last chance of the half as the sides went into the dressing rooms level on the break, but with Peterhead still three goals behind on aggregate.
Ayr got the first chance of the second half as Robbie Crawford broke into the box but dragged his shot wide of Graeme Smith’s far post.
On 56 minutes Ayr’s Michael Donald had a shot which was well saved by Graeme Smith but from the resulting corner Ayr took the lead again as Nicky Devlin got in front of Smith on the six yard box for an easy header into the net.
McAllister had another attempt from a free kick just before the hour mark, very similar to the one in the first half. The attempt this time had enough power but went flying over the cross bar.
Jordan Preston had a good change five minutes later for the home side but after beating two players to get in a good position his shot bobbled off the surface and went easily into the waiting arms of Graeme Smith.
A big error by Scott Ross nearly let Ayr get further in front as he missed a defensive header at half way which let Preston get in behind and play the ball through to Ryan Stevenson in a two on one situation but the former Heart’s man shot wide of the near post from 18 yards.
Rory McAllister was given a yellow card for a late challenge on Ayr’s Ross Docherty at the edge of his own 18 yard box. Ryan Stevenson hit a low curling shot to the bottom right corner which brought a great save out of Graeme Smith before the ball was then cleared out for an Ayr corner.
Peterhead needed to come out swinging in the second half which they simply did not manage to do as Ayr looked the more dangerous even when leading 2-1 and coasting.