Yet again Mother Nature caused havoc with the local sporting fixtures at the weekend, with the recent cold snap meaning only a handful of football games went ahead.
With both teams clinging onto the coat-tails of Railway Cup qualification prior to kick-off coupled with northern bragging rights, it was Liam Cooper’s second-half strike that proved decisive, ensuring that holders Ayre cannot make the Railway Cup final four.
After one minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of Ramsey club stalwart Graham Alexander, Ayre United looked a shadow of the side that won the treble last season.
This while Ramsey have lost key personnel to FC Isle of Man who have played a critical role in the Blues’ recent resurgence. This was reflected in what was a first half that lacked any real quality.
Ayre started brightly by charging down some clearances, Cameron Torr providing their attacking outlet on the right. But on 17 minutes the visitors were dealt with a setback, captain Jamie Callister withdrawing through injury.
Ramsey forced a number of corners but couldn’t capitalise on these opportunities, although they did go close via Matthew Montgomery’s audacious overhead kick before the danger was cleared.
Just before half-time, the Blues thought they had taken the lead when Graham Kennish’s effort looped into the net only to be ruled out for offside.
After the break, Dylan Pickles smashed an effort narrowly wide, then on 47 minutes the hosts did find the net properly which proved decisive.
Christopher Duggan launched the ball into the box where Darren Hudgeon flicked it into the path of Cooper who fired home a low, diagonal shot into the net for his maiden goal for the first team.
Injuries continued to mount, Duggan withdrawing for the hosts.
As the Tangerines searched for an equaliser, Harry Best was put through but drove his effort straight at goalkeeper Eamon McKiernan. Best was freed again on another occasion, this time on the left, forcing the stop-stopper into another save.
Ramsey went close to doubling their lead when Jack Gilbert steered wide following a counter-attack.
At the other end of the pitch, the Andreas side continued to press and went close again when John Shields’ free-kick found Christian Penswick whose effort went narrowly off target.
But the Ballacloan side looked to put the game out of reach. Matthew Jauncey’s strike deflected wide, then on another occasion Gilbert again was put clear and was about to pull the trigger, only for Penswick to produce a timely challenge.
McKiernan again pulled off an important stop when saving at the feet of Best, the shot-stopper coming out the worse and was another player rendered hors de combat.
Ramsey ran down the clock in added time and neither side couldn’t capitalise.
Once the final whistle had blown, it was Anthony Cooper’s men who painted the north blue and white with a famous victory.