SFL First Division: AYR UNITED 0 DUNFERMLINE 2: 11/04/00
PARS BACK TO SECOND
You always know it’s going to be a good day when you can see Arran as you travel south on the A77. The cool April evening left a touch of cloud on the top of Goat Fell but the isle was clearly visible. What happened to Dunfermline’s form in the opening 45 minutes was also under a cloud.
The poor first half was polished off by what must be the worst choice of music for half time “entertainment” in Scottish sport.
The Pars were still without the services of Moss, French and Hampshire. Owen Coyle exchanged his starting place with Lee Bullen and the Pars started with their backs to the 600 travelling fans.
The first 20 minutes yielded nothing for Dunfermline. Missed passes and hoofs up and down Somerset Park produced no goal mouth incidents and little to shout about. On 8 minutes Scott Thomson did look as though he might have handled in the penalty box but the incident was dismissed by the referee who produced an erratic interpretation of the rules. The yellow cards dished out to the visitors were harsh whereas the scything of Stewart Petrie by the Ayr right back could have earned more than just yellow.
On 21 minutes Dair, Bullen and Petrie combined to penetrate the Ayr defence; 5 minutes later it was Crawford to Petrie and across for Bullen but neither chances proved any real danger.
With 29 minutes gone Crawford passed wide for Bullen who laid the ball off to Doesburg. The tall Dutchman carried the ball into the penalty box and squared to Eddie May. Unfortunately Marius Rovde, the Norwegian keeper, saved May’s attempt.
Dunfermline had woken up and Stevie Crawford was unlucky when his diving header was pushed out for a corner. Crawford fed the ball out right to Doesburg in the 34th minute and his cross was knocked down by Bullen but there was no one there to fire in a shot.
Ayr had their sorties in attack but most of their shots went straight to Kris Mampaey.
It was a fairly unimpressed Pars support that endured the prolonged interval with Ayr taking an age to return to the park. They wasted no time whatsoever on the resumption though as their centre forced Mampaey to push a shot round the post for a corner.
It was Dunfermline however who really got into this match after that. Doesburg’s 47th minute cross fooled the keeper and May and Bullen landed in a tangled heap at the foot of the far post in their efforts to get on the end of it.
In the 55th minute Crawford and Petrie flashed the ball across the Ayr penalty box giving plenty notice of threat. A minute later a Scott Thomson ball put CRAWFORD through a hesitant home defence and he coolly netted to open the account.
The Pars fans were happy but were ecstatic a minute later when Lee BULLEN collected a cross from the right and slid the ball under the advancing keeper.
Bullen immediately threatened again with a header and John Potter shot over from a corner on the hour.
A Petrie cross for Bullen was saved as the away support burst out into “If you hate the f*n Falkirk”. Certainly it now looked less likely that Falkirk’s help would be relied on to avoid play offs but I think the song might turn itself around in the next four weeks.
The Pars looked as though they might bury the match at any stage; Kris Mampaey was looking extremely confident with pass back situations and even when Ayr summoned up all their energies for a last push the Dunfermline men harassed their opponents into retreat.
A 74th minute interception allowed Bullen to break up the left and Crawford looked to have scored from the cross but it ended up in the sidenetting. Next Petrie cut across the edge of the penalty box from the left but Crawford couldn’t get the shot in. Potter crossed for Bullen but again no shot transpired.
With two minutes left Crawford forced the keeper to save from close range and then Petrie hit one wide right.
The journey home was quick and satisfying. On reflection there were good performances from Skinner and Crawford. Ferguson had a quiet match leaving doubts over his fitness and Bullen’s inclusion for Coyle made the attack more robust. Michael Doesburg though was my Man of the Match as he hardly put a step wrong and added dimension to the right flank. His jig with delight after the final whistle was funny.
Strangely Jimmy Calderwood used none of his substitutes.
DUNFERMLINE: Mampaey; Skinner, Potter, Thomson; Doesburg, May, Ferguson, Petrie, Dair; Crawford, Bullen.
Subs not used: Tod, Coyle, Graham
Yellow Cards: Ferguson (22), Dair (45)
Scorers: Crawford (56), Bullen (58).
AYR UNITED: Rovde, McNally, Campbell, Craig, Shepherd, Scally (Crilly 69), Wilson, Reynolds, Lyons (Teale 60), Hurst, Tarrant
Sub not used Lindau
Referee: B McGarry
League Position 2nd
Strip: Yellow away
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