No points for Edinburgh City, but plenty encouragement for Gary Jardine to take after their 1-0 Betfred Cup Group G defeat to Ayr United at Somerset Park on Saturday.
Brian Gilmour’s early strike was enough to give Ayr the points in a game where both sides probably felt they could have netted more goals.
Jardine did get the improvement he was looking for from his players following the 3-0 midweek loss to Livingston, and acknowledged his players will have to adjust mentally, having dominated games in the Lowland League last term.
“We’ve dominated leagues we’ve been in after years of hard work and playing a certain way,” he said. “Now we need to take what was good and learn fast. Even in one game you can see how we’ve improved and, while we’re unhappy getting beat, we have improved and displayed that we can compete.
“We need to understand the game more. We’ve always been a team that wants to pass it but sometimes you just have to do the simple things.”
Jordan Hart was called into action within a minute, although Nico Gibson’s trundler was as straightforward as it was likely to get for the Ayr keeper.
Andrew Stobie had to exert himself a lot more at the other end to palm Craig McGuffie’s deflected shot round the post before Andy O’Connell flashed a header just wide.
The opener for Ian McCall’s side duly arrived when Brian Gilmour cooly chipped the ball over the advancing Stobie after being played through.
Ouzy See had the opportunity to level immediately after when Dean Cummings split the Ayr back line with a lofted pass, but the striker’s touch was heavy and he could only collide with Hart in trying to force the ball home. Jordan Caddow threatened soon after, but headed over after meeting Sean Muhsin’s deep free-kick.
See was involved in most of City’s best play in the attacking third. He slid Muhsin in with a reverse pass and the former Spartans man hit the target, but his effort lacked the power to beat Hart.
The League Two side were certainly holding their own as the half wore on, See again unfortunate to see his acrobatic volley blocked en route to goal after Gibson had broken down the left and picked him out.
There was still the need to be cautious at the back, and only a terrific point-blank save from Stobie prevented Jamie Thomas increasing the hosts’ lead just before the interval.
Ross Allum replaced See in the second half, and his sharp turn and shot from the edge of the area kept Hart on his toes.
Nicky Devlin should have made it 2-0 when a low ball across reached him in space at the back post, but he contrived to send the ball out the stadium and on to Somerset Road.
Thomas almost showed his team-mates how it was done with just over ten remaining, volleying onto the roof of the net after some good footwork before Mick Wardrope clipped the top of the bar.
Jardine’s men then had a golden opportunity to level when Allum sprung the offside trap and teed up Gibson, who was denied by a last-ditch block. The same player almost snatched a point at the death but sliced his shot into the side-netting.
Despite results, Jardine is enjoying every new experience City encounter.
“Glamour for us is games like this,” he said. “There’s history here, the stadium’s brilliant with the terracing – I love it! Playing away at different grounds is what it’s about for us.”
Ayr Utd: Hart, Devlin, Murphy, Crawford, Meggatt, Docherty, Thomas, O’Connell (Donald 45), Gilmour (Cairney 38), McGuffie (Wardrope 71).
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Gibson, Mbu, Paterson, McKee, McFarland (Guthrie 81), Muhsin, See (Allum 59), Cummings (McConnell 81), Donaldson.