Ayr United 2 v 1 Dumbarton
The Honest Men earned a crucial three points, in their fight for Championship survival, with a 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Dumbarton at Somerset Park. United fought back, after a Robert Thomson opener, through goals from Farid El Alagui and Robbie Crawford to seal the win.
The first chance of the match fell to the home side on 16 mins. Rose drove forward with the ball before passing the ball across to Forrest who’s first time shot inside the box was palmed away by Martin. El Alagui’s header from the resultant corner went harmlessly wide.
One minute later and Dumbarton had a chance of their own. A misplaced header by Meggatt fell to Gallagher whose half volley was well saved by Fleming and Thomson’s shot from the rebound was blocked by Devlin.
It was the away side who went ahead through on 21 mins, counter-attacking after Ayr had pushed forward. The ball reached Vaughan, who beat the offside trap and drove into the box before skipping a couple of challenges and cutting the ball back to Thomson who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner for 0-1.
El Alagui was causing problems for the away side throughout the first half and had a header on 45 mins tipped just over the bar. Ayr were not to be denied for long and equalised from the next passage of play. An Alagui header from a corner was cleared off the line and Gilmour delivered the ball back into the box and again Alagui saw another header come off the bar before he fired the rebound high into the net for 1-1 on the stroke of half time.
Dumbarton almost went back in front 2 mins after the restart when Stanton met a flick on in the box however his shot at the back post dragged just past the right-hand post.
Ayr responded with a chance of their own one minute later when Gilmour met the ball in the box and chested it into the path of Boyle who saw his volley closed down and cleared.
On 51 mins Ayr went ahead. Crawford picked the ball up in midfield and passed to El Alagui who cleverly nutmegged Buchanan with a return pass and Crawford then evaded challenges in the box before unleashing an accurate strike into the bottom corner to turn the game on its head at 2-1.
Ayr were well on top in the opening stages of the second half and had another chance on 56 mins when Rose met the ball on the edge of the box with a half volley however he failed to control the shot and it went well over the bar.
66 mins gone and Meggatt met a Gilmour corner from the right and his header was deflected inches wide of the lost. Moments later and Balatoni just missed a ball at the back post from another exquisite Gilmour delivery.
Forrest had a chance to kill the game on 68 mins. He broke from the halfway line and raced forward, outpacing the following defenders, but had his shot well saved by Martin in a one-on-one situation.
It got from bad to worse for Dumbarton on 70 mins when substitute Fleming was given his marching orders for a crunching challenge from behind on Docherty.
The away side almost hauled themselves level despite being a man down on 77 mins. Stanton’s driven ball across the box was met by Thomson at the back post and his shot was spectacularly saved by Fleming from close range.
The final chance of the match fell to Buchanan on 82 mins. The defender’s header from point blank range was again superbly saved by Fleming as Ayr held on for the three points.
Ayr now travel to Tannadice on Tuesday evening to face Dundee United as they search for more vital points.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Crawford, Forrest, El Alagui, Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty. Substitutes Hart (GK), Murphy, Moore, Harkins, Cairney, Wardrope, McGuffie.
Martin, Doherty, Buchanan, Carswell, Gallagher, Thomson, Stanton, Barr, Smith, Stirling, Vaughan. Substitutes Ewings (GK), Lang, Fleming, Prior, Nade.
Referee: Craig Charleston
Match Report: AUmedia