SFL v Ayr United


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 1625, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Steve Conroy

One change for the Pars - Chris Higgins in for the injured Neil McGregor.  Brian Reid made three changes to the Ayr United side that knocked Deveronvale out of the Scottish Cup the previous week.  In came Ryan Boris, 17 year old Stephen Reynolds (on loan from St Johnstone) and Andy Aitken taking the places of Billy Gibson (suspended), Mark Roberts (injured) and Willie Easton (benched).

Dunfermline in all red outfits kicked off attacking the goal at the home end but it was Ayr who won the first corner in four minutes.  Ryan Boris got in a shot but captain Alex Burke blocked that and got it away. The visitor had a good chance two minutes later when Burke fed the ball to Graham Bayne on the top of the box and he released Willie Gibson on the right for a dangerous ball into the six yard box that Ryan Stevenson headed clear.

Another Ayr United corner in eight minutes was headed away by Steven Bell and the return was fisted clear by Smith well out of his goal on the edge of his box.  David Graham sent his cross behind after Bell`s pass to McDougall had set up a great crossfield pass to produce an opening for the former Hamilton man.

As a shower sent all but the best weatherproofed supporters heading for the cover of the stands behind the goals Greg Ross was penalised for his challenge on Reynolds but the ball into the Pars box was ably headed away. McDougall was brought down by Ryan McGowan on the left side just 10 yards out but Gibson blasted the free kick wildly over the bar to the delight of the anti Killie brigade.

In 18 minutes Gibson picked out Bayne on the edge of the Ayr box and his one two off Bell put the striker in for a shot on goal but his effort came off a defender with him claiming that a hand had been used illegally. A case of ball playing man however. At the other end Ross was starring blocking a Borris attempt and then performing a great diving header to pick out his keeper.

Dunfermline`s best was a McDougall shot on a Bell pass that Samson saved and a Gibson shot on the half hour the the defence squeezed out.  There were more jeers four minutes later when a Gibson drive from distance was easily taken by Samson.

Play was then uncomfortably towards the Pars goal and Ross had to clear as Reynolds threatened to finish some good stuff from Ayr. Eventually the chance dropped to Borris on the left side of the box and he curled his shot outside the far post.

Two minutes from the break Graham slid a nice ball through for Gibson to connect first time on the right but the 6`7" of Kevin James meant that the Ayr captain was able to intercept the cross ahead of the advancing Bayne.  The corner on the left was headed away by McGowan and Ayr finished the half with another corner that they sent to Gibson generating more frustration in the home support.

The Pars played some good football in the first half but they needed to test and beat Samson before they can register the win they so sorely want.

Half Time: Ayr United 0 Dunfermline 0

The Honest Men had the first opportunity of the second 45 when Dean Keenan brushed off the challenge of Higgins to shoot across the face of goal with just two minutes gone.  Graham came close at the other end sending a shot from 20 yards narrowly wide left.

Then in 52 minutes Ryan McGowan broke in to the Pars box on the right, rode two tackles and laid the ball off for Ryan STEVENSON who sunk the ball into the net with a low drive from 15 yards.  Ayr had their tails up and Reynolds sent an inviting ball into the box but continued out at the left post.

Higgins turned Connolly`s shot behind for a 59th minute corner that Dunfermline defended before Andy Kirk replaced Steven McDougall. Three minutes later Gibson got two chances to pick out a team mate from a corner on the right and eventually it was Alex Burke that he found but the Ayr defence blotted out his pass.

The Pars were creating more openings now and the travelling support behind Samson`s goal were roused. David Graham chipped over a ball towards Bayne but it ran away from him.  Borris powered a drive into Smith`s hands before Nick Phinn was introduced for Graham Bayne with 20 minutes to go.

A throw in deep down the left quickly taken by the Pars sub sent Graham in on the left side of the Ayr box but his good squared ball was touched away by James.  Ayr kept the pressure off their defence with another corner on the left and Smith at the near post kept Reynolds header out. Two more corners followed with Aitken directing a header on goal that slipped over the top.

In 78 minutes Phinn played the ball off Graham as he moved into the Ayr box, the ball broke to Andy Kirk but his shot was deflected inches past the right goalpost. Five minutes later a Gibson corner from the right nearly set up Kirk but he could only earn another corner and next time Dowie towered over his marker to raise the ref`s whistle.

McCann put in a good cross from the left that Phinn dummied allowing Kirk the chance but he only succeeded in finding Samson`s gloves.  Former Par Junior Mendes came on with four minutes remaining and Higgins was injured in his first challenge with the sub. With the central defender writhing on the deck in the Ayr half, the men in the black and white hoops homed in on the Pars goal and it took a good McCann interception to keep the score to one.

A Greg Ross cross was swept out by the home defence and the home support began heralding their side`s second home league win of the season. Their first win over the Pars at Somerset Park since 1992 ended Dunfermline`s eight match unbeaten league run that ironically started against Ayr back on 10th October.

AYR UNITED: Craig Samson; Ryan McGowan, Neil McGowan (Willie Easton HT), Kevin James (c), Andy Aitken, Ryan Stevenson, Stephen Reynolds, Kenny Connolly, Kenny Connolly, Alistair Woodburn, Dean Keenan (Junior Mendes 86), Ryan Borris.
SUBS: Steve Grindlay, Chris Aitken, Kevin Cawley.
SCORER: Stevenson (52)
YELLOW CARD: Aitken (61)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Greg Ross, Chris Higgins, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann; Willie Gibson, Steven Bell (Graeme Holmes 76), Alex Burke (c), David Graham; Steven McDougall (Andy Kirk 60), Graham Bayne (Nick Phinn 70).
SUBS: Scott Muirhead, Greg Paterson (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Bell (55), McCann (68)

WEATHER: 9ÂșC overcast

NEXT MATCH: (home) First Division v Ross County
Saturday 12th December 2009, kick off 3.00pm

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