SFL v Ayr United
DUNFERMLINE 0 AYR UNITED 1 Date: 20/02/10
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division
Attendance: 2429, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Calum Murray
Manager Jim McIntyre was without the injured Andy Kirk and suspended Graeme Holmes. New signing Ross Campbell was on the bench as Macca went with the same starting eleven as at Victoria Park the previous Saturday.
Ayr United had keeper Craig Samson missing as he served his one match suspension for seeing red at Palmerston in midweek. Steven Grindlay wore the number one shirt. Manager Brian Reid made two more changes preferring Chris Mitchell and Rocky Visconte to Dean Keenan and Kenny Connelly who found themselves on the bench. Interesting to see former Pars Tam McManus and Junior Mendes in the maroon of Ayr.
The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the town end and Greg Fleming was the first keeper to be deployed holding a fairly tame Visconte cross in just 35 seconds. Joe Cardle won a corner in third minute but a breakdown in communication meant Alex Burke delivered the ball in from the left straight to an opponent.
Bell and Graham then interlinked well on the right side of the Ayr box but the final pass from the blue boots was wayward. Then in sixth minute David Graham made space on the edge of the box to allow him a pop at goal but his attempt went wide right. Three minutes later Nick Phinn was offside when he accepted a Willie Gibson knock down that he sent over the crossbar from seven yards.
The match lacked goalmouth incident until 18th minute when Willie Easton sent McManus down the left but after beating off Andy Dowie at the second attempt his cross was easily headed away. Ayr continued to enjoy territorial advantage as Ayr succeeded in stopping the Pars get into their passing game.
David Graham forced a corner on the right in 25 minutes and this time Gibson found Phinn unmarked just ten yards out but as he blasted for goal Steve Bowey came flying in towards him to make a goal saving block.
Three minutes later Ayr earned a corner on the right but Fleming grabbed Easton`s cross in from the right. Then on the half hour Gibson sent a free kick on the left edge of the Ayr box to the inrushing Phinn but this time Grindlay held the ball on his line.
Ten minutes from the interval Grindlay palmed away a Cradle cross for his defenders to take away but then in 37th minute Rocky Visconte made ground down the left and shot towards goal but McMANUS took at touch that sold the keeper and the ball crept home at the left post.
In 41 minutes Visconte won a free kick 20 yards out on the left side; Chris Mitchell curled the ball round the three man Pars wall into the hands of Fleming. Two minutes later the Ayr supporters cheered as Gibson`s free kick from the right went directly to Mendes and then moments later overhit a cross from the right.
The visitors went in 1-0 up but had lived dangerously ignoring Phinn`s presence on the edge of the box at corners. That apart the Pars had rarely looked like scoring. There had been little to warm the home support and the second half had to be an improvement.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1
Ross Campbell replaced Willie Gibson for the second half and Dunfermline started positively with Ross sending over two crosses from the right and then Cardle cutting inside to release a shot that was deflected for a corner on the right.
Jim McIntyre`s men kept up the pressure and in 48 minutes Phinn`s shot from 18 yards was sent on by Graham but he hit the base of the left post from 14 yards. McManus was pulled back to police Phinn at 52nd minute corner and the Pars made nothing from that.
In 54 minutes two more corners on the right were kept away from Grindlay but Cardle`s interception on Bowey sent Bell in but Campbell was offside as he tried to poke the ball passed the Ayr defence.
Aitken crunched Phinn as he received a good pass from Bell on the attack to earn himself a yellow card on the hour. Nick required lengthy treatment before he hobbled off with a nasty looking injury to his right leg to be replaced by Jim McIntyre.
In 64 minutes a Graham ball in from the right was swept further left by Ross to Cardle but the ex Airdrie man`s shot was relatively easily held by Grindlay. There was a let off for the Pars as Bowey went through on Fleming but he managed to hit his effort at the big keeper and then McManus sent the rebound wide right.
Things looked bleaker for Dunfermline`s treatment room when Neil McGreogor was injured in a tackle with Ryan McGowan as the game entered its final quarter but Gerry Docherty`s magic sponge did its job.
Cardle saw yellow rather than referee Calum Murray pointing to the spot after he went down on the far right of the penalty box. Graham was producing more and more balls in from the right but it was a McCann ball from the other flank that picked out McIntyre but Grindlay was well down to block Campbell`s attempt to lift the ball into the net.
Ayr committed their final two subs and Calum Woods came on for Greg Ross but the clock was running down and it still looked like Ayr would hold out for their first away league win of the season and their first three points since beating Dunfermline at Somerset Park in December, Oh how the Honest men must love the sight of the Pars - their first league win at East End Park since 1992!
DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Greg Ross (Calum Woods 81), Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Willie Gibson Ross Campbell (HT), Steven Bell, Nick Phinn (Jim McIntyre 62), Alex Burke, David Graham, Joe Cardle.
SUBS: Gary Mason, Greg Paterson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (73)
AYR UNITED: Steven Grindlay; Chris Mitchell (Dean Keenan 51), Steve Bowey, Andy Aitken (c), Martyn Campbell, Willie Easton (Kenneth Connelly 81), Ryan McGowan, Rocky Visconte, Mark Roberts, Tam McManus (Danny McKay 81), Junior Mendes
SUBS: Alistair Woodburn, Trialist (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Aitken (60), McGowan (88), McKay (90)
WEATHER: Sunny 4C
NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Morton
Saturday 27th February 2010, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm