Saturday 31 March 2018
Scottish League One
HT   1 - 1
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East Fife v Ayr United | Team Lineups

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East Fife v Ayr United | Match Report

It was Ayr who came out stronger and went ahead in just over 3 mins when Shankland found Forrest with a ball into space down the left. Forrest stormed forward to the edge of the penalty area before turning inside the advancing keeper MacKenzie, then slotting home with his right foot from 11 yards.

It was all Ayr, and just 2 mins later a slide tackle by Boyle in the centre circle recovered the ball for United, Shankland reprised his earlier pass, and this time Moore surged forward only to see his diagonal drive from just inside the box well saved by MacKenzie.

On 10 mins it was Shankland’s turn to try his luck but his drive from 25 yards was comfortably saved by the keeper at his right post.

With striker Duggan at the forefront of their attacking moves, East Fife slowly started to work their way into the game, with some neat close passing and sudden speedy breakaways.  15 mins into the action Duggan had his first attempt, forcing Ruddy into a good save with a shot from the edge of the box. Ruddy was called into action just a minute later when a ball in behind the United defence found Dunsmore whose effort, low to the left-hand post, was well saved by the United keeper.

Ayr were still looking relatively comfortable but, out of the blue, East Fife drew level. Duggan carried the ball to 25 yards out before deciding to hit a speculative drive. The ball viciously swerved and dipped before skipping off the artificial turf in front of the bemused Ruddy and into the net. 21 mins gone, and it was 1 – 1.

The Fifers’ tails were up, and they became more and more confident, Duggan going close with a whipped shot in 24 mins and Livingstone pulling out a save from Ruddy on 31 mins. 

Ayr shook off the shock and tried to regain the lead but couldn’t get the ball into the net with Forrest and McDaid, twice, going close.

After a half-time heat up United came out with a purpose and immediately put pressure on the East Fife defence.  A Forrest run down the left created space which allowed him to cut the ball into the centre to Boyle whose shot was frantically blocked and cleared.

3 mins into the half and Ayr cleverly worked the ball down the centre to Shankland who fought hard to break clear of surrounding defenders before being up-ended by Allardice some 20 yards out. From the freekick Moore curled the ball around the wall and off the bar to the relief of the home fans.

Then came the sucker punch. With Ayr back in control and pushing forward, Dunsmore played the ball from his own half over the heads of the United defence to that man Duggan who had sprinted in behind. The striker then lifted the ball over the despairing arms of Ruddy whose valiant effort only managed to flick the ball higher from where it dropped agonisingly into the net. 52 mins on the clock and East Fife were in the lead 2 -1.

United looked shell-shocked and before they could recover their composure East Fife almost scored a third. A speedy move forward followed by some quick passing at the edge of the box released Watson down the right from where he played the ball across the face of the United goal. With Ayr failing to intercept, the ball reached Duggan at the back post but, with bookies opening their cash pots to pay out on his hattrick, defender Reid launched himself and somehow turned the goal-bound shot wide.

Suddenly Ayr were wide awake, focussed and determined to get something out of the game. Breakaways apart, East Fife were now set on strong defence and seeing out the match, their keeper taking an interminable period for kick-outs while throw-ins were preceded by enough time for beard growing. However, Ayr were not to be denied.

On 70 mins Shankland chested the ball down to Moore near the edge of the box but his powerful drive swerved and rose wide. It was a nervously frustrating time for the vociferous United following, but they didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser.

One minute later East Fife put themselves under pressure when keeper MacKenzie failed to clear a pass back from the halfway line and Ayr substitute Moffat’s probing forward pass was awkwardly turned behind for a corner by Page. From the corner on the right, fellow substitute McGuffie curled the ball to the front of the 6-yard box for Bell to dive in and head home. 2 – 2.

United went forward with waves of attacks, McGuffie torturing the East Fife defence on the right and Forrest making surging runs down the left, with Shankland, Moore and Moffat looking dangerous in the centre.

On 87 mins Ayr were awarded a corner on the right after Forrest’s run to the line had been blocked by a sliding challenge from Dunsmore.  As the ball was swung in East Fife’s Watson rugby tackled Bell in the box, dragging him to the ground, and referee David Lowe pointed at the spot.

Up stepped Moore and slammed home his 25th goal of the season. Cue celebrations both on and off the pitch, and a mini-pitch invasion to boot.

Next week its away again as Ayr face Airdrieonians at the Excelsior Stadium.

East Fife v Ayr United | Match Timeline


East Fife v Ayr United | Match Stats

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East Fife v Ayr United | Media

Match Highlights
Post Match Interviews
Interview with Craig Moore