Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 3 Ayr United 2: 19/10/19

The Pars returned to East End Park after the international break with Paul Paton also back after missing the last two matches at home to Alloa Athletic and away to Morton. Tom Beadling dropped to the bench where Gabby McGill also returned.

Opponents Ayr United made one change from the side that lost at home to Inverness Caley Thistle last time out, 37 year old Mark Kerr brought in to relegate Jordan Houston to their subs bench. Other former Pars facing their old team were Andy Geggan and Michael Moffat.

Ayr United do not seem to be overly distracted since manager Ian McCall’s departure and sat joint top level with Dundee United on 18 points from the first eight league fixtures, going into this match. The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was the Pars who produced the first shot of the game, Ryan Dow’s third minute shot being deflected wide right for a corner.

There were loud appeals for a penalty when Josh Edwards sent the ball over from the right, Kevin Nisbet appearing to be pushed off his header attempt by Daniel Harvey. No decision from referee Alan Muir but clearly cause for complaint by the Pars striker.

Nisbet was taken our rather sorely five minutes later when Aaron Muirhead crudely stopped him benefiting from a neat Paton pass. A yellow card for the former Falkirk defender, Nisbet was able to continue after physio’s treatment but Greg Kiltie drove the 25 yard out free kick into the Ayr wall.

First real threat from the Somerset Park side came in 14 minutes when Moffat sent Luke McCowan away down the right. His cross was good but Alan Forrest could not meet it at the far post.

Two McCowan corners were then sent over from the right. Geggan met the first forcing a good save from a Cammy Gill down at the base of his left hand post. The second was headed into the far sidenetting by centre half Sam Roscoe.

Ayr began to get a disturbingly good period of passing play together and the East End Park support watched as their side found it hard to gain much possession. Harvey tripped Kiltie to hand the Fifers a 27th minute free kick on the right. Edwards crosses and three times Ayr cleared through Geggan, Roscoe and Docherty. Play stuck in the Ayr half and good play between Dow and Nisbet allowed the latter to pick out KILTIE who dragged the ball left away from the committed Ross Doohan to tuck away the opener from close range 1-0.

The lead could have doubled immediately with two great chances for Nisbet. Kiltie’s through ball put the former Rovers man in on the right side of the box but this time Doohan did well to turn the ball over his bar. Then from the resultant corner the Pars striker time his run in from the left to meet the ball with a powerful header that just cleared the crossbar.

In 37 minutes Kyle Turner took on Geggan and having turned on him on the left side of the box hit a low cross towards the awaiting Kiltie and Nisbet in front of goal but the Ayr defence cleared. A Kelly shot was deflected for an Ayr corner five minutes from the break but that was easily cleared but then Kelly had another pop that went wide right.

Dow to Kiltie on the Dunfermline right but the cross was cleared by Muirhead. Back to the other end and under tremendous pressure from a Geggan cross, the Pars defence and keeper made several good blocks before eventually the ball ended up in the net. It looked like Forrest’s header was the decisive touch but it was an unfortunate Lee ASHCROFT who caused the ball to cross the line 1-1.

A cruel blow just as it looked like Stevie Crawford`s men would take in an interval lead.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 Ayr United 1

On loan Rangers player Jordan Houston replaced Mark Kerr before the second half resumed and Josh Coley came on for Harry Cochrane after Ayr started the better. A Forrest ball in from the left was just too strong for McCowan and Gill did really well to fist away a cross destined for the head of inrunning Geggan.

There had been an intensifying threat from the Ayr left this half and in 57 minutes Alan FORREST cut into the top corner of the Pars box and despite Aaron Comrie’s best attempts, the 23 year old hit an unstoppable effort into the far side of the Pars net. 1-1

Nisbet was then again toppled in the box but no penalty and he was then subbed for Andy Ryan in 61 minutes. Two minutes later an equaliser had East End rocking. It came from a fantastic Lee ASHCROFT volley from 25 yards out. 2-2.

Andy Ryan reacted to a quickly taken free kick by Paton but his shot from an acute angle on the right was turned behind by Roscoe. Ayr survived the corner but the Fifers were pushing hard for a winner.

Comrie evaded a wild Harvey tackle to get in behind on the right but the defence cleared Dow’s attempt.

Ayr countered through Forrest his ball across the top of the six yard box evading all and Edwards hooked the ball out for a 72nd minute corner that Geggan headed wide.

Turner had a right footed shot blocked and Andy Ryan a header saved from under the crossbar. In 79 minutes Ryan created another great chance to be the hero. The second half sub beat off Muirhead on half way and combined with Kiltie before getting a shot away but it was wide of goal.

Tom Beadling replaced Kyle Turner after he picked up a yellow card but it was Ryan again who played the ball on to Kiltie. The ball broke for Paton whose hammered shot was blocked.

Nine minutes from time and the result was going either way. Gill made a terrific save from a powerful Kelly shot and that allowed for three minutes later a winner to duly arrive at the right end.

Kiltie played a superb ball into the right side of the Ayr box where RYAN evaded the offside trap to find the far corner and make it 3-2

A Forrest cross this time from the right was defended. A Kelly cross was blocked by Comrie for a corner on the left. That produced a cracking shot from Kelly at the quickly taken setpiece but the quality of the shot was matched with a quality save from Gill.

With the match in time added on Dunfermline defended comfortably. In the third extra minute Paton furious at a Geggan challenge. Yellow was shown to Ayr man, Paton with blood streaming from his eyebrow was treated by physio. Another head band but the final whistle came soon after the resumption and it was to be a well deserved first Pars league win of the season at home.

Three vital points on a day when none of the morning’s top four were to win. Up to seventh and on to tackle Dundee United at Tannadice next.

DUNFERMLINE: Cammy Gill: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin, Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow, Paul Paton (c), Harry Cochrane (Josh Coley 51), Kyle Turner (Tom Beadling, 79): Greg Kiltie, Kevin Nisbet (Andy Ryan 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Gabby McGill, Danny Devine, Stuart Morrison, Ryan Scully (GK)
SCORERS: Kiltie (29), Ashcroft (63), Ryan (84)
YELLOW CARD: Turner (78)

AYR UNITED: Ross Doohan: Andy Geggan, Aaron Muirhead, Sam Roscoe, Daniel Harvie: Ross Docherty (c), Mark Kerr (Jordan Houston HT), Stephen Kelly, Luke McCowan (Kris Doolan 82), Michael Moffat, Alan Forrest.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Moore, Craig McGuffie, Finn Ecrepont, Mark McKenzie, Ellis Hare-Reid (GK)
SCORERS: Ashcroft (o.g. 43), Forrest (57)
YELLOW CARD: Muirhead (9), McCowan (68), Docherty (77), Geggan (90+3)

REFEREE: Alan Muir
WEATHER: Overcast 11C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Dundee United Saturday 26th October 2019, 3.00pm kick off at Tannadice

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