SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 4 AYR UNITED 2: 06/12/14
No Lewis Martin, Chigozie Ugwu returns. Andy Stirling (19) 1-0; Allan Smith (22) 2-0; Scott McLaughlin (27) 2-1; Shaun Byrne (30) 3-1; Alan Forrest (56) 3-2; Allan
Manager Jim Jefferies made one change for the visit to East End Park of Ayr United. He made one change, Lewis Martin was out with a groin strain incurred in training on Thursday but Chigozie Ugwu was fit to return. No Michael Moffat since he was expecting to become a Dad any minute. Mark Roberts made three changes from the team that he fielded against Forfar Athletic last time out. For the Honest Men in came Martin Campbell, Kevin McKinlay and Paul Slane.
Andy Geggan filled the right back slot with Ross Millen lining up on the left side of central defence as the visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. The Pars created two good opportunities in fourth minute. First Andy Stirling's trickery took out the marking of Michael Donald but his left footed delivery from the right was defended.
That was followed by a good ball in from Geggan after Allan Smith had robbed Ayr of possession on their own 18 yard line. Ugwu just failed to get high enough to head in the inviting cross.
Play stopped for an injury to Slane before Smith made a break but his shot from the left side of the box was deflected for a corner off the heel of defender Adam Cummins. When Millen sent the ball in from the right, Ryan Thomson met it with a glancing header ten yards out but unluckily saw the ball sail wide left of target.
What would hopefully be that all important first goal duly came the Fifers way. It was made and executed by Andy STIRLING. The winger cut in on the right side of the box, beat his man and drove the ball low on target. The power of his effort meant that Kevin McKinlay could only deflect the ball past his keeper David Hutton. 1-0
The Pars increased their lead three minutes later when the Ayr keeper failed to clear a straightforward pass back from McKinlay. Allan SMITH charged down the clearance and slotted the ball into an empty goal. 2-0
Scott McLAUGHLIN got Ayr back into the game just five minutes later. Craig Beattie chested down the ball and the Ayr man grabbed the chance and sent a fine finish from the edge of the box past the outstretched Ryan Scully. 2-1
The action continued with another Pars goal just three minutes later. This time a Millen free kick from the right midway into the opposition half was headed out by Cummins only as far as Shaun BYRNE and he took a touch before smashing his left footed shot from 25 yards out into the right side of the Ayr United net. 3-1
Immediately there was another good chance for Dunfermline. A Millen free kick from the left side appeared to be travelling across goal and out on the right when Smith pounced on to it as everyone thought it was heading out. His cut back set up Buchanan but this time the keeper's luck was with him and he stopped the ball on the line.
In 41 minutes a short taken corner from Smith to Falkingham fed Millen. His cross into the crowded box was bravely punched away by Hutton and then he dealt the same way with a subsequent Millen corner.
Again it had been a first half that Dunfermline had dominated. They had managed 7 shots to Ayr's one and three corners to Ayr's none. A two goal lead meant that the home fans were quietly confident at the break. Surely a two goal lead could not be surrendered for a second week?
Dunfermline 3 Ayr United 1
Ayr as could be expected of them, came out full of intent for the second 45 but it was a strong run by Stirling that forced a 48th minute corner in front of the home support. Millen's cross was defended but the Pars kept up their challenge with Mitchell having to dive in in front of Thomson when Smith caught another ball that looked destined to go out at the right byeline.
A good run from Whittle nearly brought about another breakthrough on 53 minutes but when he tried to play in Smith on the left side of the box, the striker's marker was close enough to put him off his shot and he fired wide left.
Then in the space of a minute there wrere to be two more goals. Ayr were to narrow the gap to one for a second time only for Dunfermline to go up the park and restore their two goal advantage. In 56th minute Craig Beattie fired the ball into the Pars box only for the ball to break off Buchanan and into the path of sub Alan FORREST who stuck it past the helpless Scully.
Dunfermline made an immediate reply. Ugwu was wide right to pull the ball back across the Ayr box. Smith failed to finish as the ball sped over but Thomson to his left gathered and squared for SMITH to finish from eight yards. 4-2
The effort in crossing appeared to cause an injury to Ugwu and he was replaced by Lewis Spence before play resumed. Next it was Buchanan who made Hutton save as he got close to a Millen free kick launched in from deep.
Spence picked out Geggan with a great pass in 78 minutes but the captain's cross travelled all the way through the Ayr box. Tempers were roused after a Slane tackle on Buchanan, Whittle had a word with the Ayr no.11, Spence was peacemaker and Geggan told Falkingham to calm down!
Smith made Hutton pull off a save with his feet and sub Sorel Chemin crashed the ball into the sidenetting. There were appeals for a penalty after Geggan's overhead attempt was kept out but after a further couple of Ayr yellow cards, the match ended with Millen's free kick being held by Hutton.
The result coupled with Morton's defeat at Stranraer lifts the Pars to second on goal difference, two points behind leaders Forfar Athletic. For Ayr the result meant that is now nine matches against Dunfermline without a win.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully, Andy Geggan (c), Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne; Josh Falkingham, Ryan Thomson, Andy Stirling (Sorel Chemin 83); Allan Smith (Ross Forbes 88), Gozie Ugwu ( Lewis Spence 59).
SUBS NOT USED: Faissal El Bakhtaoui, John Potter, Scott Mercer, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Stirling (19), Smith (22), Byrne (30), Smith (57)
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (86)
AYR UNITED: David Hutton; Martin Campbell, Adam Cummins, Kevin McKinlay; Nicky Devlin (Andrew Muir 85), Brian Gilmour, Jon-Paul McGovern, Scott McLaughlin, Michael Donald (Alan Forrest 51); Craig Beattie (Ryan Donnelly 83), Paul Slane.
SUBS NOT USED: Dale Keenan, Robbie Crawford, Shaun Newman (GK)
SCORERS: McLaughlin (27), Forrest (56)
YELLOW CARD: Gilmour (43), Cummins (76), Donnelly (91), McGovern (92)
REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Cold, damp 7C
NEXT MATCH: William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Replay
Dunfermline v Stranraer, Tuesday 9th December 2014,
kick off 7.45pm. East End Park
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm