SPFL League One; DUNFERMLINE 3 AYR UNITED 0: Date 22/02/14
Watch the goals on Pars TV
Dunfermline welcome Ayr United to East End Park for the third time this season. Jim Jefferies made three changes from the side that won at Forfar the previous Saturday. Out went Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin and Ryan Wallace and in came Ross Millen, Stephen Husband and Lawrence Shankland.
Ayr United's Michael Moffat was still suspended so they were unchanged from the starting eleven that had done so well against Rangers seven days before. Manager Mark Roberts named himself on the bench although he had not played since October.
Ahead of the game there was a minutes silence for club stalwart Joe Nelson who died the previous Sunday before the Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the east end and in just 20 seconds Josh Falkingham released a ball in the box for Shankland but there was just too much weight on the pass. Then play switched to the other end and Ryan Scully had to save from Craig Malcolm all within the first minute.
In the third minute an Alan Forrest shot was deflected wide left off Grainger and in the next Faissal El Bakhtaoui broke down the left but rolled his shot from 18 yards narrowly outside David Hutton's left hand post. In sixth minute a Callum Morris challenge on Robbie Crawford handed the visitors a free kick 30 yards out but that was curled wide right. The game continued to create opportunities and in eighth minute Ross FORBES opened the scoring for the Pars when he found the bottom right of the net with a well placed left footed shot 28 yard shot. 1-0
A Forbes corner from the right was headed over the crossbar by Shankland on the quarter hour but Mark Roberts team countered putting pressure on the Dunfermline defence without engaging Scully. There was a real let off for Ayr on 21 minutes when El Bakhtaoui cut back from the left byeline and somehow Shankland, right in front of goal, failed to convert.
Back at the other end Morris kept out two runners at the near post when an Ayr corner was sent in from the left. A Pars corner in 25 minutes was well met by Morris but his header was deflected behind for a corner on the other side. Millen sent that in from the left but Husband's header dropped outside the left upright.
Two Ayr corners three minutes later were successfully defended but the Honest men enjoyed a fair amount of possession before Falkingham forced a corner at the other end. The respite was only temporary with Malcolm, Forrest and Donald threatening to penetrate the home defence. Another corner was only half cleared with Malcolm crashing the ball back into the Pars box where Donald was unlucky with his head on.
Five minutes from the break Grainger was wide on the right to receive a Forbes pass but it was an Ayr boot that was first to the ball as it travelled along the six yard line. Then right on half time Forbes was allowed to pop another shot from 25 yards out that hit the right post and rolled along towards the left one where SHANKLAND had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball home. 2-0
The Pars led after the first 45 but it had been a fairly open game so far with plenty of opportunities from corners at both ends. Ross Forbes definitely the star of the first half.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Ayr United 0
The second half started tamely with not a lot to warm the spirits of either the home support or the 120 Ayr supporters at East End. Even a 52nd minute free kick taken by Forbes after Husband was tumbled 22 yards out failed to raise much of a cheer as it landed on the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Malcolm drilled a shot at Scully and then Donald had an effort deflected behind. Ayr collected two yellow cards as they kept Dunfermline away from goal but a Grainger run in 65 minutes forced a corner on the left that was followed by another from the right. Hutton fisted clear and Falkingham's first time effort went wide from 22 yards.
Husband picked out Forbes in the middle of the park and he tried a shot from distance that went wide right. Mark Shankland replaced Alan Forrest up front for the visitors but it was Brian Gilmour who was next to shoot at the Pars goal, his attempt just too high and wide.
A Lithgow foul on El Bakhtaoui earned the Pars a free kick on the left but Geggan just couldn't get enough on Grainger's delivery. Ayr made a double substitution in 77 minutes and sub Michael McGowan sent over a cross that created danger in front of the Pars goal but Ayr paid dearly as the home side broke and scored.
It was Forbes who sent SHANKLAND away down the right and he made ground before he smashed a fine finish past Hutton to make it 3-0. The goal made the final twelve minutes academic and the three points increased the gap between the Pars and Ayr United to 14 points and keeps them 11 ahead of third placed Stranraer who had a good win at Brechin.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Callum Morris, Jonathan Page, Danny Grainger; Josh Falkingham, Stephen Husband (Shaun Byrne 84), Ross Forbes (Alex Whittle 84), Andy Geggan (c); Lawrence Shankland, Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Ryan Wallace 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Jordan Moore, Lewis Martin, Ryan Williamson, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Forbes (8), Shankland (45, 78).
YELLOW CARD: Shankland (70), Morris (85)
AYR UNITED: David Hutton, Adam Hunter, Alan Lithgow, Scott McLaughlin (c), Gordon Pope, Robbie Crawford (Anthony Marenghi 77), Brian Gilmour (Michael McGowan 77), Craig Malcolm, Michael Donald, Kevin Kyle, Alan Forrest (Mark Shankland 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Roberts, Jackson Longridge, Michael Wardrobe, Shaun Newman (GK).
YELLOW CARDS: Hunter (59), McLaughlin (61), Kyle (79), Marenghi (82), Malcolm (83).
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Arbroath
Tuesday 25th February 2014, kick off 7.45pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm