Raith Rovers 2 Ayr Utd 1

Raith Rovers 2 v 1 Ayr United

The Honest Men were consigned to League One as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Raith Rovers at Starks Park.  An early sending off for Raith keeper Pavol Penska was not capitalised upon by Ayr and strikes from Jonny Court and Declan McManus earned the home side the win with Ross Docherty netting in between.

The first incident of the match came on 3 mins when Penska was sent off for a rash challenge on Moore.  The keeper attempted to clear a through ball outside of the area however missed the ball and as a result went straight through Moore who was straight through Moore who was treated on the pitch for some 3 mins before the match could continue.  The resultant freekick was fired into the wall by Harkins from 20 yards out.

8 mins gone and Meggatt was next to try his luck and this time from distance as he took a strike from 35 yards that was comfortably saved by substitute keeper Brennan. The home side’s first chance of the match fell to M’Voto on 21 mins.  A curling ball into the box from the left was met by the big defender however his header went over the bar. Ayr were pushing for an opener and on 23 mins Harkins had an effort on goal.  Forrest laid the ball off to Harkins on the right and his curling volley from 25 yards out flashed just wide of the far post with Brennan scrambling.

United failed to take control of the game even with a man advantage and were made to pay when Raith went ahead through Court on 37 mins.  A simple through ball split the Ayr defence in two and Court raced through on goal to coolly finish beyond Fleming and put his side ahead.  It almost went from bad to worse for Ayr when a volley from Handling inside the box found the back of the net however he was adjudged to have been in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.

Ayr were forced into an early change in the second half. On 52 mins, play was held up for 5 mins when Ayr keeper Greg Fleming landed badly after an aerial challenge, appearing to injure his neck and head, and was stretchered off and taken to hospital.  Substitute keeper, Jordan Hart replaced the United’s number 1 stopper.

Despite being a man down, the home side pushed for a second goal and almost found it on 63 mins when McManus met the ball in the box but his first-time strike was blocked by Boyle.  A minute later McManus turned provider on the right and his cross was met by Benedictus who saw his header flash wide of the left-hand post.

After their best period of pressure, Ayr found their leveller on 70 mins through Docherty.  A one two between Docherty and Boyle gave the midfielder space on the edge of the box to curl the ball into the bottom right corner with the aid of a slight deflection.  In the following 5 mins, Gilmour and Forrest had efforts of their own but both strikes sailed over the bar and caused no problems for keeper Brennan.

Ayr were handed a glorious chance to take the lead on 77 mins when referee McLean pointed to the spot after Davidson handled a McDaid cross inside the area.  Forrest stepped up and saw his low effort to the right palmed away by Brennan and the score remained level.

85 mins gone and McDaid had a chance of his own to give Ayr the lead, cutting in from the right and shooting but Brennan got down well to turn the ball wide.

It was, however, Raith who were to take all three points. On 90 mins, a long ball into the box was met at the back post by McManus who made no mistake and fired high into the net from close range.

The last effort of the match fell to McDaid on 94 mins when his speculative overhead kick inside a crowded box went just over the bar.

Failure to beat Raith by 5 clear goals means that Ayr’s relegation to League One has been confirmed.  The club now aims to bounce back for next season and return to the Championship.

Raith Rovers Penska, Thomson, M’Voto, Benedictus, Matthews, Davidson, Skacel, McManus, Handling, Court, Barr.  Substitutes Brennan (GK), McHattie, Johnston, Stewart, Barr, Thompson, Hardie.  Ayr United Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Moore, Forrest, Harkins, Meggatt, McGuffie, Docherty, Balatoni.  Substitutes Hart (GK), Murphy, McDaid, Cairney, El Alagui, Adams.

Referee:  Steven McLean Attendance:  3064 Match Report:  AUmedia