Jan 27 2012 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
EDDIE MALONE insists Ayr won't have to pick themselves up for Hampden – despite throwing away a two goal lead.
But he was adamant the 2-2 draw felt like a defeat after United let victory slip through their fingers.
Home debutant Adam Dodd gave Ayr the lead with a sublime free-kick and Malone prodded home the second from close range right on the tea break.
But Ayr let Accies storm back and were lucky not to lose when Greig Spence rattled a shot off the post.
Malone revealed: "We switched off at their first goal and then lost another soon after. We did well to regain our composure and not lose.
"However, giving away a 2-0 lead feels like a defeat. But it won't upset our plans for Saturday.
"Even if you were beaten 8-0 you would still look forward to a semi-final at Hampden."
Dodd hopes his stunning strike has done enough to book himself a crack against Kilmarnock.
He quipped: "The lads were giving me stick at Falkirk after I knocked the ball into my own net but thankfully it was offside.
"Hopefully my goal makes up for that. I practised a lot of free-kicks from the right hand side at Blackpool and learned a lot from Charlie Adam.
"Hopefully, I have done enough to impress the gaffer. I have never played in a cup tie as big as this one and a derby into the bargain."
Boss Brian Reid felt the windy conditions took their toll and moaned: "Every time we play here it seems there is a gale blowing but individual mistakes cost us.
"Dodd acquited himself well. It was a great free-kick with his cultured left foot. Hopefully he can play his part from now until the end of the season."
Ayr had the wind at their backs but in only seven minutes John Robertson had to scramble a Lee Kilday shot off the line.
Spence then dragged a shot wide as Ayr waited in vain for an offside call.
Ayr took the lead in spectacular fashion in 32 minutes when 18-year-old Blackpool loanee Dodd lifted a free-kick over the wall and into Tomas Cerny's top left hand corner.
And they looked good right on the interval when Michael McGowan swirled in a corner which flew off the shin of Kilday in a crowded box and allowed Malone to stab home from a couple of yards.
Disaster struck Ayr less than a minute after the restart. Jonathan Tiffoney's passback was intercepted by Jon McShane who rounded Kevin Cuthbert before crossing for Spence who knocked the ball home from close range,
Accies drew level in 53 minutes when Danny Redmond, on loan from Wigan, darted into the box and drilled home a low angled drive.
Shaky Ayr had a real let-off two minutes later when Spence crashed a shot off the post.
Fortunately, Ayr steadied the ship to grind out a point. And with drop zone rivals Raith and Queen of the South both drawing as well, it's as you were at the foot.
Ayr – Cuthbert, Tiffoney, Malone, J. Robertson, Smith, Geggan, Dodd, McKernon, Moffat (Tomsett 71), Roberts (Wardlaw 71), McGowan. Subs: McWilliams, McManus, R. Robertson.
Hamilton – Cerny, Kilday, Hendrie, Canning, Mensing, Redmond, Crawford (Devlin 90), McAlister, McShane (Ryan 75) , Neil, Spence. Subs: Hutton, Gordon, McGlinchey.
Referee – Charlie Richmond.
Crowd – 1310.