Dunfermline Athletic 1 v 1 Ayr United
The Honest Men earned a draw at East End Park thanks to heroics from United keeper Greg Fleming. Clark opened the scoring for the Pars in the first half before Forrest levelled it up with a penalty early in the second which also saw Dunfermline’s Martin sent off for a second bookable offense. The final 10 mins of the game also became the match talking point with United’s keeper Fleming saving two penalties in the space of 2 mins from Higginbotham.
It was Dunfermline who had the first chance of the game on 8 mins. Higginbotham picked up the ball on the right and his stinging drive was well saved from Fleming. From the resultant corner, McMullan saw his shot blocked at the edge of the area.
Ayr’s first real attempt on goal came after 21 mins. A clever one-two between Devlin and Crawford saw Devlin collect the ball on the right and he sent a cross in for Nisbet who could only fire his volley over the bar from the edge of penalty area.
It was Dunfermline who took the lead on 29 mins. A ball to the right was met by Martin who sent in a low cross which was met by Clark and he managed to snap the ball high into the net to give the home side the advantage.
The last chance of the first half fell to Forrest on 34 mins when from a cleared corner, he curled a shot well over the bar from the edge of the box.
Ayr were quick out the traps in the second half and won a penalty on 49 mins. A long ball came into the Pars’ box and defender Martin was punished for pulling on McKenna’s shirt. This resulted in Martin’s second booking and he was off. Forrest coolly slotted home the penalty to get Ayr back on level terms at 1-1.
On 53 mins Clark almost gave the home side the lead again. Ashcroft laid the ball off to the striker inside the box but Clark scooped the ball well over the bar from close range.
2 mins later and United’s Harkins was next to try his luck. First he nutmegged McCabe on the right before curling a shot inches wide of the right hand post from around 20 yards. On 59 mins Harkins was denied by Murdoch who blocked his close range effort at the near post.
64 mins gone and McMullan caused the Ayr back-line problems, driving forward in midfield before unleashing a powerful drive which was well palmed away by Fleming who had to be quick on his toes. 2 mins later and Fleming was called into action again, this time saving from Clark who found himself one-on-one with the United keeper.
Ayr looked to have been undone after they conceded a penalty on 83 mins. McKenna flew into a challenge in the box and referee Barry Cook pointed to the spot. Higginbotham stepped up and saw his penalty saved at the feet by Fleming to keep the score level.
Incredibly Dunfermline were awarded another penalty just 30 seconds later after Boyle hauled down Higginbotham in the box after the ball was sent back in from the cleared penalty. Higginbotham this time opted for more power in his penalty but still couldn’t beat Fleming who made a spectacular one handed save to keep Pars out once more.
The final chance of the game fell to McMullan who could only send his effort way over the bar from inside the area on 89 mins.
The result keeps Ayr in 7th place and they now welcome Dundee United to Somerset Park next Saturday.
Murdoch, Talbot, Martin, Ashcroft, Herron, Fordyce, McCabe, Clark, El Alagui, McMullan, Higginbotham. Substitutes Hutton (GK), Duthie, Wedderburn, Paton, Cardle, Spence, Moffat.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Crawford, Forrest, Harkins, Adams, Nisbet, Balatoni, Docherty, McKenna. Substitutes Hart (GK), Gilmour, Rose, O’Connell, Meggatt, Wardrope, Donald.
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report: AUmedia