Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1Friday, 29th Mar 2019
Ladbrokes Championship: two changes- Ryan Williamson and James Vincent start in place of James Craigen and Ryan Blair. Declan McDaid (31) 0-1
One first half goal from Declan McDaid that secured the points for Ayr United drove a serious dent in the Pars hopes of making the play offs.
It was fifth v fourth for this televised Friday night fixture. Dunfermline were looking for a victory that would take them level on points with their Ayrshire visitors.
Stevie Crawford made two changes from the side that lost by the only goal of the match against Dundee United on Tuesday night, Ryan Williamson and James Vincent started in place of James Craigen and Ryan Blair.
Ian McCall also made two changes to his Ayr side bringing in Declan McDaid and former Pars man, Steven Bell. Making way for them was Calvin Miller and Aaron Muirhead, the latter finding himself on the bench alongside former Dunfermline captain Andy Geggan.
Ayr kicked off towards the McCathie Stand and for the first minute and a half the visitors pressed well up into the Dunfermline half but then Ryan Scully raced out to grab a Danny Harvie cross and from his clearance Bruce Anderson was desperately unlucky when he just couldnt control the long ball and Ross Doohan came out to collect.
There was a sizeable period of Ayr possession that kept the Fifers pinned back and it took a timely block by Williamson to keep out a powerful 15th minute shot from McDaid.
Three minutes later Dunfermline’s first attempt of the evening came from Louis Longridge but his shot from distance travelled over the crossbar. As the game passed the midpoint of the first half Kallum Higginbotham tried a flick into the opposition box but that was mopped up all too easily.
The danger was all at the other end of the park with Michael Moffat flicking the ball across the Pars goalmouth and then when the ball broke back off referee Gavin Duncan Ayr got in on the right and Murdoch and Shankland fortunately failed to take the chance.
Moffat was presented with a good opportunity to make the breakthrough when Scully came for a 28th minute cross and the ball spun loose as he failed to get through a group of players. The former Pars striker blasted his chance into the McCathie from 15 yards out.
In 31 minutes McDAID found the far side of the net when his cross cum shot from out left sneaked in with Scully possibly expecting the inrunning Shankland to take the finish. 0-1 but hardly against the run of play.
A one two played by Williamson off Higginbotham won the Pars a 37th minute corner but when L Longridge delivered from the right it found Williamson in the centre of the box but he sent his shot over the crossbar.
On 40 minute, with no one beside him Joe Thomson in possession crumbled as his right foot appeared to have a problem. There was a seven minute delay while the staff attended to him but he needed a stretcher to leave the field. James Craigen came on to replace the stricken midfielder.
Still played flowed towards Scully’s goal and Ayr forced another corner before a strong run by Shankland in from the right saw him play a one two off his teammate before releasing a powerful shot from the edge of the box that Scully beat away.
It had been a poor first 45 for the home side, 60% possession for Ayr, just three Pars shots and none on target, we could only hope that their good recent second half form reappeared in this match.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1
Higginbotham and Anderson got the second half underway and there were early signs that the half time team talk had injected some urgency into the home side’s play.
Craigen and Williamson pushed up the right before Higginbotham dug in and forced a corner on the right. L Longridge swing the ball in from the right and Anderson was a little unlucky as he tried to convert the knocked down ball.
Ayr hit back with passes across the box and a Mark Kerr effort that went well wide left. Ten minutes into the half Scully got clipped by Moffat as he got close to stealing a weak Danny Devine pass back.
Then there was a 59th minute let off as Shankland nipped in and somehow between Devine and his keeper they managed to keep the striker out. The visitors were sharp when Smith, Crawford and Moffat combined from a throw in on the right and again the former Pars man sent a shot wide left.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui was a tactical substitution in 61 minutes replacing Kallum Higginbotham and having beaten his man out on the left, he tried for glory with a shot that ended up in the sidenetting two minutes later. Williamson in the interim had lobbed a fine pass across the Ayr six yard box but Vincent’s attempt to head home was off target.
Faissal then dispossessed Kerr and raced upfield but was unable to execute the pass that might have put Anderson in on the keeper. There was further encouragement for the home fans when Craigen managed to get in a good cross that Bell had to make sure he cleared. More purpose and energy was displayed by the Pars as L Longridge made Doohan hold a chip into his box.
Ayr fought back Crawford earning a 72nd minute corner that took the heat off their defence. They overhit it but then Craigen was clumsy with his challenge on Crawford and Shankland had a chance to have a pop from 23 yards but he sent that over the bar.
While it remained just 1-0 there was great hope that something could be salvaged from this game. A fine backheader by El Bakhtaoui from a Longridge corner dropped for Devine on the left side of the penalty box but he blasted it wide left. Harvie was yellow carded in 79 minutes for his challenge on Anderson but then from the free kick wide right the Pars were penalised for being over physical in the Ayr six yard box.
El Bakhtaoui tried a back flick on a Williamson cross but now into 83rd minute the clock was running away from the Fifers. Anderson ran on to a Williamson long ball on 86 minutes and L Longridge was on the end of the cut back but the Ayr defence decscened upon him before he got a shot away.
Dunfermline pressed hard and eventually got a shot on target. El Bakhtaoui crossed for L Longridge but this time the keeper saved, Beadling clipped the ball across the face of goal and Anderson got an opportunity that he blasted over the top.
All three points were Ayr’s and they lifted themselves to third one point ahead of Inverness Caley Thistle who have played one game less. Dunfermline are five points behind Inverness but having played one game more.
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Durnan, Ryan Blair, Lewis McCann, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Devine (69), El Bakhtaoui (FT)
AYR UNITED: Ross Doohan: Liam Smith, Michael Rose, Steven Bell (c), Daniel Harvie: Robbie Crawford, Andy Murdoch, Mark Kerr, Declan McDaid: Michael Moffat, Lawrence Shankland (Liam Miller 74).
SUBS NOT USED: Aaron Muirhead, Andy Geggan, Nicky Cadden, Ross Docherty, Alan Forest, Ellis Hare-Reid (GK)
SCORERS: McDaid (31)
YELLOW CARD: Harvie (79), Kerr (FT)
REFEREE: Gavin Duncan
WEATHER: Cloudy 9C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 6th April 2019, kick off 3.00pm at The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.
Half time draw: £545 went to ticket no.400168
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Stevie Crawford post Ayr United
Fri, 29th Mar 2019
Lee Aschcroft post Ayr United
Fri, 29th Mar 2019
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Preview Ayr UnitedFriday, 29th Mar 2019
Ladbrokes Championship: Friday 29th March v Ayr United, kick off 7.05pm at East End Park.
Dunfermline’s next match will be at home against Ian McCall’s Ayr United. The last time the League One champions visited East End Park they came as leaders of the Championship table. This time they sit fourth and the Pars fifth just three points behind. The Ayrshire side have to matches in hand however.
Milestones v Ayr United (home)
Last League Victory | 13/02/16 | 3-2 | League One
Last League Defeat | 18/03/17 | 0-1 | League One
Best League Victory | 10/12/94 | 6-0 | First Division
Worst League Defeat | 13/10/73 | 0-4 | Div One (old)
Last Goalless League match | 22/12/18 | Championship
First League meeting | 30/11/1912 | Div Two (old)
Last Meeting at East End Park
Saturday 22nd December 2018
Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 0
This was to be the first goalless draw between the sides at East End Park for over 36 years. The first half was fairly even, Ayr’s chances looked more dangerous than Dunfermline’s but the sides went in all square.
Aidan Keena and Joe Thomson kept Ayr keeper Doohan alert in the second half. McGuffie created a few chances but Lee Robinson was out commandingly to fist away the danger. Late on he got the break off James Vincent to cut the ball back from the right and remarkably for their top goal scorer, Lawrence Shankland from 12 yards sent the ball wide left.
There was still time for an added time corner that Higgy sent in from the right but Ayr thwarted Devine’s challenge at the near post. A good determined showing from the Fifers and a particularly attacking second half. No goals, one point each, Ayr United were toppled off the top and the Pars stayed in seventh with 20 points.
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge: James Vincent: Kallum Higginbotham, Tom Beadling, Joe Thomson: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Myles Hippolyte 73), Aidan Keena.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Mark Durnan, Malaury Martin, Lewis McCann, Robbie Muirhead, Cammy Gill (GK)
AYR UNITED: Ross Doohan: Liam Smith, Michael Rose, Steven Bell (c), Daniel Harvie: Andy Geggan (Ross Docherty 78), Robbie Crawford, Andy Murdoch, Declan McDaid (Craig McGuffie 71): Michael Moffat (Craig Moore 67), Lawrence Shankland.
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins, David Ferguson, Luke McCowan, Ellis Hare-Reid (GK)
The Pars have won 46 league meetings to Ayr’s 29, 25 have been drawn. Ayr United have only won 9 of the last 60 games between the sides in all competitions stretching back to 1983. But they won convincingly in the first fixture of this season 4-1 at Somerset Park in August although the Pars won in February when the teams met at Somerset Park.
Of the last twelve league meetings against Ayr United, Dunfermline have won six, lost three and drawn three.
Last Twelve League Meetings v Ayr United
Date | H/A | F-A | W D L | League
23/02/19 | A | 1-0 | W | Championship
22/12/18 | H | 0-0 | D | Championship
25/08/18 | A | 1-4 | L | Championship
18/03/17 | H | 0-1 | L | Championship
07/01/17 | A | 2-0 | W | Championship
03/12/16 | H | 1-1 | D | Championship
01/10/16 | A | 0-0 | D | Championship
12/03/16 | A | 2-0 | W | League One
13/02/16 | H | 3-2 | W | League One
12/12/15 | A | 2-1 | W | League One
12/09/15 | H | 0-2 | L | League One
07/03/15 | H | 2-1 | W | League One
Form Last Six Matches
Dunfermline have only won on one of the last five occasions when Ayr United have been their guests.
Dundee United (H) L 0-1
Alloa Athletic (A) W 1-0
Queen of the South (H) W 1-0
Partick Thistle (H) W 3-0
Ayr United (A) W 1-0
Inverness Caley Thistle (H) W 1-0
Falkirk (A) L 0-2
Ross County (A) L 2-3
Dunfermline (H) L 0-1
Morton (A) D 0-0
Alloa Athletic (A) W 3-1
Inverness Caley Th (H) L 2-3
Dunfermline’s proud run of five winning games came to an end on Tuesday night with the 1-0 defeat to Dundee United.
Ayr United have only won twice in their last thirteen matches, 3-1 at Alloa in February and 1-0 at home to Dundee United in January. Prior to that their previous win was their famous 5-1 win at Tannadice on the last day of November.
League Position: 5th
League Points: 40
Goal Difference: -1
Home League Record: P14 W5 D3 L7 GF13 GA15
Last Six League Match Form: WWWWWL
League Position: 4th
League Points: 43
Goal Difference: +14
Away League Record: P14 W6 D4 L5 GF21 GA16
Last Six League Match Form: LWDLLL
Last Time Out
DUNFERMLINE (v Dundee United): Ryan Scully: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge: Tom Beadling, Ryan Blair (Matthew Todd 78): Joe Thomson, Louis Longridge (Myles Hippolyte 84), Kallum Higginbotham (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 70): Bruce Anderson.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson, Mark Durnan, Cammy Gill (GK)
AYR UNITED (v Falkirk): Ross Doohan: Liam Smith, Michael Rose, Aaron Muirhead, Daniel Harvie: Robbie Crawford, Calvin Miller (Declan McDaid 45), Andy Murdoch (Nicky Cadden 76), Mark Kerr, Michael Moffat (Luke McGowan 62), Lawrence Shankland.
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Docherty, Jamie Adams, James Hilton, Ellis Hare-Reid (GK)
Referee will be Gavin Duncan, a quick return for him since he officiated at the 2nd March match against Queen of the South.
Other Championship Fixtures
Alloa Athletic v Ross County
Dundee United v Queen of the South
Inverness Caley Thistle v Falkirk
Morton v Partick Thistle
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