Saturday 23 February 2019
Ladbrokes Championship
HT   0 - 0
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Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic | Team Lineups

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Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic | Match Report

Honest Man

Ross Doohan

A lacklustre United fell to their 6th defeat of the season to a resurgent Pars side at Somerset Park with a single penalty goal separating the sides.

Manager McCall made two changes from the side that started at Greenock, with Steven Bell taking the captains armband over from Ross Docherty and Nicky Cadden starting in favour of Declan McDaid.

Ayr’s first chance came in the 3rd min and it fell to Shankland.  On the counter-attack, Moffat found Smith with a crossfield pass and the United right-back played the ball to Crawford in the box.  Crawford controlled the ball to Shankland, but the striker leaned back and lifted his shot over the bar.

4 mins later and it was the Pars turn to try and open the scoring. Connolly picked the ball up on the left of the Ayr box and laid it off for Vincent. The midfielder, with his back to goal, slipped the ball to Blair but his shot from 18 yards went wide.

Dunfermline only had to wait another 90 seconds for another chance. Blair squeezed the ball through but neither Anderson or Vincent was able to connect with Doohan palming the ball wide.

Dunfermline had started at a high tempo and had the higher percentage of possession for the opening 15 to 20 mins of the match, but Ayr then drew themselves more and more into the game. Dominance swung Ayr’s way and Dunfermline sat deep to prevent United from converting possession into goals.

Neither team created any changes of any note with both backlines appearing comfortable in nullifying any forward movement. This said Dunfermline would have been feeling the happier team reaching halftime without conceding.

Dunfermline altered their tactics in the second half, their midfield diamond sacrificed for a straight 4 across the middle to prevent Ayr using their wingers and wingbacks with the success they had in the first half. This did indeed alter the flow of the game.

If the first half had been a leaden affair, then the second was to turn out even worse, with neither team getting up a head of steam.  Although Ayr managed a few forays into the Pars’ box, these never resulted in any chance of note and the home fans were becoming restless as attack after attack was repulsed.

It appeared that neither side had the potential to provide the one spark of genius or luck that would break the deadlock and that the game had 0 v 0 written all over it. Then misfortune struck.

Ayr lost possession on the halfway line and Thomson played the wide to Williamson who charged forward leaving McDaid in his wake. Michael Rose made up ground and got back to cover, sliding in to block Williamson’s powerful cutback from the line but the ball slammed off his raised arm.  Referee David Munro had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Longridge to take the spot-kick and he drilled it into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal with Doohan going the opposite direction. 0-1 to Dunfermline on 70 mins.

Ayr now faced an uphill struggle to salvage something from this game but although they pressed higher and harder up the park, the Pars’ defence remained resolute for the remaining 20 minutes and they held on to record the win.

If not for a late equalizer at Falkirk, Ayr would have dropped to third place in the league, but as it is, they remain in second place, equal on points with Dundee United.

Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic | Match Timeline

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Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic | Match Stats

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Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic | Media

All Images are © David Sargent and Ayr United FC and may not be used without permission

Match Highlights
Ian McCall Interview
Stevie Crawford Interview