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United ended Dunfermline's 100 per cent Championship record with a 0-0 draw at Somerset Park on Saturday. Both goalkeepers had a quiet afternoon in the scrappy stalemate that was short of clear cut chances.
Ayr went into the game with one change to the starting 11 as Jordan Houston came in for the suspended Aaron Muirhead. Dario Zanatta was meanwhile back on the bench for the first time since coming off injured against Annan Athletic just under a month ago.
Dunfermline got the match underway and were in the driving seat during the opening stages. Dom Thomas sent a great cross in with seven mins gone, but Patrick Reading managed to get a touch on it to deny Fraser Murray an easy chance. Shortly after, Murray recorded the first shot on target of the game, but United keeper Viljami Sinisalo saved with ease.
The Honest Men took some time to find their rhythm, but around 15 mins in, the game evened out.
Ayr got on the break on 27 mins as Bruce Anderson freed Luke McCowan down the left. McCowan sent a low cross into the box, but Pars keeper Owain Fon Wilson dived in to hold before the ball reached Michael Moffat for an attempt on goal.
The visitors had a penalty claim denied on 27 mins when Thomas was brought down by Joe Chalmers at the edge of the box. Rather than a penalty, referee Craig Napier awarded a free kick in a dangerous position which Murray lifted way over the bar.
Both sides continued to cancel each other out and limited each other to just a couple of minor chances, keeping the scoreline firmly at nil each at half time.
Yet again the Pars had a stronger start to proceedings as the second half got underway. Murray and Kyle Turner combined down the right to set Kerr McInroy up for an effort from close range, but Sinisalo did well to hold.
United stepped up their game and created their best chance so far on 62 mins. Reading stormed down the left and found Anderson who sent an inch perfect pass to McCowan. But as the winger homed in on goal, Josh Edwards executed a great tackle to stop him from getting a shot away.
With 20 mins to go Sam Roscoe got on the end of a free kick in the box but had his header back across goal dealt with by the Pars defence. Moments later, Dunfermline had a free kick cleared themselves when Jack Baird held a Thomas effort from the right.
Both sides made changes that brought more attacking options on the park, Zanatta and Innis Cameron coming on for the Honest Men, but neither found a breakthrough.
Dunfermline had a final push with a free kick on 89 mins. Thomas delivered and his effort was defended out to Iain Wilson whose shot from 23 yards was held by Sinisalo. Another free kick found Ryan Dow, but the midfielder headed the ball past the right post and it finished all square at Somerset Park.
Ayr nudged up to fifth in the Championship table with a five point deficit to new leaders Raith Rovers.
All Images are © David Sargent, Alan Graham and Ayr United FC and may not be used without permission