SPFL League One: AYR UNITED 0 DUNFERMLINE 2: 31/01/15
Dunfermline Athletic beat Ayr United to win for the first time in seven League One matches. Second-half goals from Andy Geggan and David Hopkirk gave the Pars a first away league success winning at the same venue in October.
John Potter made four changes from the side defeated at Cappielow the previous Saturday. Gregor Buchanan returned from suspension, new signing from Annan Athletic David Hopkirk started and into the team again came Lewis Spence and Jim Paterson. Out went Ross Millen, Josh Falkingham, Alex Whittle and Andy Stirling.
Ian McCall made a couple of changes to his starting eleven, Scott McLauchlin and Dale Shirkie replacing Robbie Crawford and Ryan Donnelly. Former Bolton youth team player Adam Blakeman lined up at let midfield and Craig Murray on loan from Aberdeen on the opposite flank.
After Buchanan undertook his captain's responsibilities, the visitors kicked off and creasted the first opportunity of the game right on three minutes. As a former Ayr United favourite Michael Moffat was still booed by the home crowd when he fed the ball to Hopkirk on his left. He continued the move by picking out Paterson on the overlap but his cross just evaded Andy Barrowman and Ayr cleared.
The Fifers won the first corner of the match but when Hopkirk delivered that from the left it was esasily cleared. McAusland's chip into the box was headed on for Hopkirk but between the two of them they failed to get a shot on target. Paterson was well up again to deliver another dangerous ball in from the left but this time central defender Jon Paul McGovern headed away.
Andy Geggan forced a corner on the right in 19 minutes but again Ayr cleared, in the follow up Hopkirk fed the ball back towards goal but it deflected off a defender and was held by David Hutton.
The new signing was again nicely position in the centre of the park behind the front two when Spence switched the ball to Byrne who then cleverly picked out his team mate. Unluckily the shot from 25 yards cannoned off Morgyn Neill and there was only a corner to show for it. Geggan came close at the far post when the ball arrived from the left and before the attack broke down a Buchanan blast from Byrne's pass was parried behind by Hutton for a corner that the keeper subsequently held.
In 29th minute Barrowman tried a lift over the keeper but his effort dropped outside the right goalpost. Ayr's replies were restricted to speculative kicks up the park and the home fans had been left to solely admire their team's defensive qualities up until a sharp shot in 33rd minute. Brian Gilmour tested Ryan Scully with a good effort from 25 yards out but the keeper parried the shot and his defence mopped up.
Ayr tried to mount a sustained attack but Buchanan headed clear and it was back to the other end. Byrne and Hopkirk again combined impressively and another Pars corner followed. Buchanan got up to the ball at the back post but McGovern headed the net bound header off the line. Geggan tried a follow up but was thwarted.
Next McAusland ran on to a Geggan pass but his cross into the box was defended. Barrowman got the ball tied up in his feet when he failed to accept a 40th minute chance. This was shaping up as another first half in which Dunfermline did everything but score. Byrne drove a shot narrowly wide before in 45th minute Ayr won their first corner of the game. Neill turned Blakeman's cross behind and in added time there was one further chance for the Honest Men but Forrest sent that wide.
A good first half from John Potter's team but at the break nothing on the scoresheet.
Ayr United 0 Dunfermline 0
Half time substitution for the Pars: Jim Paterson off, Alex Whittle on. Ayr started with intent but it was soon the Pars on the offensive and a 48th minute corner still failed to engage the Ayr United keeper. Another three minutes later did however call upon Hutton to earn his crust tipping over a powerful Buchanan header.
Whittle was mightily relieved when on 52 minutes he touched a cross in from the left straight to Gilmour and the Ayr man could have scored just as easily as he turned the ball over the crossbar from 15 yards out.
Ten minutes into the second half Moffat's cross from the left was headed behind by Michael Donald. Geggan came closest at the two corners that ensued before at the other end Murray skied a good opportunity to score. Moffat then broke down the right and he flashed the ball across the face of goal but with no luck as only Barrowman ended up in the net.
Josh Falkingham was introduced as Shaun Byrne was withdrawn in 57th minute. Forrest made a lively break towards the goal only to be stopped by a robust tackle by McAusland and Murray and Buchanan had a push at each other as the Ayr man objected. Then when Spence broke into the left side of the opposition box his shot was blocked and a corner followed.
The corner was taken short by Hopkirk to Spence and when the ball came in GEGGAN powered his header into the net for the 66th minute opener. 0-1
Dunfermline got a lift from the goal and pushed up again. This time McAusland received the ball on the left and his shot broke off the arm of Neill but no penalty. Hopkirk and Spence tried a repeat of their previous corner success but this time Barrowman's header at the near post went wide.
There were frayed tempers as Gilmour and then McLachlin were yellow carded. Whittle's cross picked out Moffat on the edge of the penalty box but he could not get enough on his attempt to chest the ball down.
An 80th minute double substitution for Ayr brought on Robbie Crawford and Ryan Nisbet in place of Blakeman and McLauchlin. Dale Shirkie was wide right to delived a good ball into the box and although Ryan Scully saved it he was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Ryan Goodfellow.
Craig Beattie came on for the home side as they mounted a concerted effort to find an equaliser. A free kick from the left was neatly plucked out the air by Goodfellow in 89 minutes and then in the first minute of added time David HOPKIRK put the result beyond the hosts as he finished well from a cross in from the right.
A first win in eight games and a very happy team and fans at the final whistle.
AYR UNITED: David Hutton, Nicky Devlin, Jon Paul McGovern, Morgyn Neill, Michael Donald; Craig Murray, Brian Gilmour, Scott McLaughlin (Ryan Nisbet 80), Adam Blakeman (Robbie Crawford 80); Alan Forrest; Dale Shirkie (Craig Beattie 85).
SUBS NOT USED: Craig McCracken, Ryan Donnelly, Paul Slane, Shaun Newman (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Gilmour (67), McLauchlin (70)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully (Ryan Goodfellow 85); Andy Geggan, Gregor Buchanan (c), Lewis Martin, Jim Paterson (Alex Whittle HT); Shaun Byrne (Josh Falkingham 57), Lewis Spence, Kyle McAusland, David Hopkirk; Andy Barrowman, Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Millen, Andy Stirling, Ryan Thomson, Allan Smith.
SCORERS: Geggan (66), Hopkirk (91)
REFEREE: Mat Northcroft
WEATHER: Fine 4C
NEXT MATCH: Benefit match Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline Athletic
Saturday 7th February at Central Park, Cowdenbeath, kick off 2.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm