Ayr United 3 v 0 East Fife
Report by AUmedia
The Honest Men made it two wins on the bounce as they defeated East Fife 3-0 at Somerset Park. Lawrence Shankland opened the scoring early on before goals from Andy Geggan and Chris Higgins sealed the win in the second half. Ayr started the better of the two sides with Shankland getting keen to get involved. His curling strike from the edge of the area on 4 mins had to be palmed away at full stretch by keeper Mark Hurst to prevent Ayr going ahead.
It wasn’t long before United’s striker got himself on the scoresheet. On 7 mins, Brian Gilmour took a short corner on the left to Declan McDaid who returned the ball. Gilmour then whipped the ball in and it was met by Michael Rose whose header was acrobatically saved by Hurst but the ball fell free. Shankland, lurking at the back post, was first to react and poked the ball under the keeper and just over the line for 1-0.
East Fife almost got themselves back on level terms two mins later when Chris Kane’s head flicked effort in the box went straight to keeper Jordan Hart, causing him no problems. Shankland, who has now netted 5 goals in 4 games, had a chance to increase his impressive goal tally since joining when, on 15 mins, good play with Michael Moffat set the striker through into the box with time and space but his shot blazed over the bar.
20 mins gone and East Fife had another chance to level the scores when midfielder Pat Slattery got the ball on the edge of the area and his volleyed effort went harmlessly over the bar. Declan McDaid was next to have an effort on goal when he sent a curling shot from 20 yards which was almost knocked in by the on-rushing Moffat but fell straight into the hands of Hurst.
On 33 mins McDaid then turned provider when his freekick was met by Rose whose powerful header smacked back off the bar. On 42 mins Ayr had a glorious chance to increase their lead when Shankland dispossessed defender Chris Kane, charged into the box then rounded keeper Hurst before seeing his effort from a tight angle hit the base of the post and out for a goal kick.
It didn’t take long into the second half to double their lead when Geggan made it 2 – 0. Paddy Boyle sent a delicious cross-field ball from the left to Shankland just inside the penalty box on the right. Shankland nodded into the path of Geggan who smashed the ball into the net from 15 yards giving Hurst absolutely no chance. 49 mins gone and it was 2 – 0 Ayr.
It got from bad to worse for East Fife when their captain, Jonathan Page, was sent off for a high studded challenge on McDaid on 59 mins. The visitors continued to plug away and on 61 mins striker Chris Duggan found space 20 yards out and took a powerful drive that fizzed over the bar. Michael Moffat, desperate for his 100th goal, was next to try and get his name on the scoresheet for Ayr when on 72 mins he found himself through one-on-one with the keeper but Hurst did well to block and turn the ball past for a corner.
From the resultant corner Ayr did make it 3 through Higgins. The initial delivery was cleared and Docherty sent the ball back into the box for Higgins whose flicked header found the back of the net after a deflection. 73 mins gone and it was 3 – 0 Ayr .
The final real chance of the game fell to McGuffie on 75 mins as he worked his way into the box before unleashing a powerful strike that smacked into the side netting. Ayr are back in action a week on Saturday, after the International break, when they welcome Airdrieonians to Somerset Park.
Ayr Untied Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, McDaid, Shankland, Docherty, Reid. Substitutes Avci (GK), McGuffie, Ferguson, Balfour, Murphy, McCowan. East Fife Hurst, Dunsmore, Linton, Watson, Page, Flanagan, Kane, Docherty, Millar, Duggan, Slattery. Substitutes Goodfellow (GK), Reilly, Willis, Lamont, Hurst, Mutch, Wilson.
Attendance: 1382 Referee: Barry Cook