Dunfermline Athletic

Fixtures : Ayr United

Sat, 3rd Dec 2016 Kick Off: 15:00

Dunfermline 1 Ayr United 1

Saturday, 3rd Dec 2016

Ladbrokes Championship: Clark (30) 1-0: Lewis Martin red card (49): Alan Forrest (50 pen) 1-1: Fleming saves two Higginbotham penalties (84, 85)

Former Pars keeper Greg Fleming returned to East End Park and his two penalty saves inside the last ten minutes of the game ensured that his team left with a point.

In the first of two back to back home games the Pars took on Ayr United with the prize for a home win leapfrogging Ian McCall`s Honest Men. There were four changes in the Dunfermline starting eleven - Jason Talbot, John Herron, Farid El Alagui and Kallum Higginbotham coming in off the subs bench where they were replaced in a straight swap by Conner Duthie, Nat Wedderburn, Michael Paton and Michael Moffat.

The visitors made three changes from the side successful at Brechin in midweek, Alan Forrest, Kevin Nisbet and Scott McKenna started in place of Andy O`Connell, Daryl Meggatt and Craig McGuffie.

There was a one minute silence prior to kick off as a mark of respect for the Chapecoense footballers, officials and media killed in the Columbian air crash in the last week. Ayr United, all in red, kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.

Both keepers got early touches but there was nothing to test them. Tempers frayed as early as the fifth minute when Nicky Clark dumped Jamie Adams in front of the dugouts and John Herron compounded matters arriving late to floor Adams.

Conrad Balatoni was put under pressure by Clark two minutes later and the Athletic striker was able to thread a ball through into the Ayr box for El Alagui but the defence mopped up. Then just a minute later a long cross field ball for Higginbotham got the Pars man in for a shot from 15 yards out but Greg Fleming deflected it over his bar.

The corner was not fully cleared and Paul McMullan latched on to the loose ball before dancing around two defenders and releasing a shot that earned another corner as it was blocked by McKenna.

There was only ten minutes gone when Lewis Martin picked up the match`s first yellow card as he halted Harkins progress on the left. Forrest sent in the ball from the setpiece but the Pars defence dealt with that.

Nicky Devlin got up the right and evaded the close attention of McMullan before crossing a low dangerous ball that Murdoch held at his near post. Balatoni was then forced to concede two quick corners, first to deny Clark a cross and the second to head McMullan`s returned ball over his own crossbar.

Back at the other end Devlin was put in from Robbie Crawford`s 21st minute chip over the defence and he cut back for Nesbit but the Ayr number 17 placed the ball over the bar.

Herron played a neat one two off Higginbotham before laying the ball off to El Alagui on the left side of the Ayr box but Balatoni stopped the shot and it was back to the other end where Crawford sent an inviting ball through the Pars six yard box from right to left but there were no takers.

Then on the half hour the Pars took the lead. Higginbotham was in possession in a central position midway into the opposition half, he looked up for an option on the right where Martin made a run, gathering the pass and centring a great ball that CLARK met ten yards out to bulge the net. 1-0

Murdoch reacted well to keep Dunfermline ahead when Forrest`s 36th minute corner from the left threatened to go straight in. El Alagui had a chance when Fleming came out of his box to deal with a long ball and failed to take. The Pars striker got in a shot but was off target and Balatoni cleared.

Ross Docherty fired a speculative drive over the crossbar and before the break McMullan got another chance but Balatoni blocked that. It had been a satisfactory half for the Fifers, getting the goal after sustaining a fair deal of Ayr pressure settled the side and they went in with a deserved lead.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 Ayr United 0

The second half started with Talbot driving an effort wide left but things totally changed in the third minute of the half, when Martin was shown a yellow card for holding down McKenna in the box. Having awarded a penalty, referee Barry Cook then realised that it was the player`s second yellow so, for the second home game running, Lewis had an early bath.

After much protestation FORREST was able to step up and find the net to Murdoch`s right. 1-1

Conner Duthie came on to fill the right back role and El Alagui was subbed. Lee Ashcroft touched Higginbotham`s cross from the byeline back to Clark but he powered his shot over the bar. The match got rather heated and Higginbotham and Forrest both saw yellow.

A Harkin`s drive from 30 yards out sneaked wide right. Then on the hour a Gilmour cut back picked out Harkin`s at the far post and it looked like he only had to pick his spot, fortunately Murdoch came out to make a tremendous block.

Ayr kept up the pressure with Gilmour again causing the bother, his cross almost setting up Harkin`s again but Docherty collected Duthie`s headed clearance and drove a good attempt wide.

The ten men still got chances and McMullan and Clark were both desperately unlucky when they had good opportunities stopped. Michael Moffat was introduced and Clark withdrawn in a 71st minute substitution.

Higginbotham supplied a cross than Fordyce headed goalwards but Fleming held. Play switched from end to end but the Pars defence was able to thwart Ayr`s efforts. McMullan won a 82nd minute corner on the left and that cause mayhem. Two efforts from Moffat and then McCabe were saved on the line and then McMullan was axed in the centre of the box by McKenna.

Barry Cook pointed to the spot, Kallum Higginbotham took the 84th minute penalty and Fleming went to his left to save it. Ten seconds later Higginbotham burst in on the right side of the box and Dunfermline were awarded another penalty when Boyle brought down the Pars man. There was a battle for the duty of penalty taker involving McCabe, Herron and Higginbotham that the latter won. He hit that penalty stronger but Fleming stuck out his left hand to remarkably save again!

Both teams had further chances McMullan drove the Pars best over the bar after Fordyce had nodded down a corner that Moffat then laid back.

Harkins threatened to score near the end but the Pars held out for the point. With a player sent off and two penalty misses Dunfermline only had themselves to blame.

Certainly no lack of a finale when Barry Cook comes to East End Park. On his last visit he awarded Dumbarton two added time penalties in the opening match of the Championship season.

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Lewis Martin, Callum Fordyce (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, John Herron, Rhys McCabe, Paul McMullan: Nicky Clark (Michael Moffat 71), Farid El Alagui (Conner Duthie 51)
SUBS NOT USED: Nat Wedderburn, Michael Paton, Joe Cardle, Lewis Spence, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (30)
YELLOW CARD: Martin (10), McMullan (52), Higginbotham (57), Ashcroft (68).
RED CARD: Martin (49)

AYR UNITED: Greg Fleming. Nicky Devlin (c), Scott McKenna, Conrad Balatoni, Paddy Boyle: Alan Forrest, Robbie Crawford, Jamie Adams, Ross Docherty, Gary Harkins, Kevin Nisbet (Andy O`Connell 73).
SUBS NOT USED: Jordan Hart, Mike Rose, Daryll Meggatt, Brian Gilmour, Michael Wardrope, Mike Donald.
SCORERS: Forrest (49 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Forrest (53), Docherty (80), Boyle (85)

REFEREE: Barry Cook
WEATHER: Cloudy 4C
ATTENDANCE 3250

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Morton, Saturday 10th December 2016, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park

Ticket number 72206 won £814 (unclaimed as at 8th December)


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Preview Ayr United

Saturday, 3rd Dec 2016

Ladbrokes Championship: 3.00pm kick off at East End Park on Saturday 3rd December. One-minute silence prior to kick-off.

Dunfermline`s next match will be at home against Ian McCall`s Ayr United, the team that lies immediately above the Pars in seventh place in the Championship.
A home win on Saturday would take the Pars above their opponents but given this season`s results - just two league wins at East End Park v Dumbarton and St Mirren - this is no easy match.

The record book reveals that in the league the Pars have won 44 to Ayr`s 27, 23 have been drawn.

Milestones v Ayr United (home)

Last League Victory

13/02/16

3-2

League One

Last League Defeat

12/09/15

0-2

League One

Best League Victory

10/12/94

6-0

First Division

Worst League Defeat

13/10/73

0-4

Div One (old)

The Pars have lost only three of the last 31 league meetings. . Ayr United have only won 6 of the last 52 games between the sides in all competitions stretching back to 1983. .In the four matches between the teams last season Dunfermline won three and lost one when Ayr United were the first team of only two to inflict a league defeat at East End Park.

Last Twelve League Matches v Ayr United .

Date

H/A

F-A

W D L

League

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
31/01/15 A 2-0 W League One
06/12/14 H 4-2 W League One
10/10/14 A 1-0 W League One
19/04/14 A 1-1 D League One
22/02/14 H 3-0 W League One
14/12/13 A 4-2 W League One

Last Meeting
Ayr United 0 Dunfermline 0
Somerset Park, Saturday 1st October 2016


Dunfermline made one change for the trip to Somerset Park, Ryan Williamson starting in place of Callum Fordyce. Their hosts returning after trips to Easter Road and Falkirk, made one change from that which was unlucky to lose the previous week, Jamie Adams coming in for Kevin Nisbet.

It was no boring goalless and at the end of the day most conceded that a draw was a fair result. Allan Johnston felt his side just shaded it and had the better chances. First half injuries to John Herron and Nicky Clark forced Dunfermline into two early substitutions and the manager summed it up:-

"We had to defend long throws, kick outs, and the physical presence that they have got but I thought we handled it really well. We got a wee bit frustrated with not breaking the deadlock with some of the opportunities that we had."

AYR UNITED: Greg Fleming. Nicky Devlin (c), Conrad Balatoni, Daryll Meggatt, Paddy Boyle: Brian Gilmour, Robbie Crawford (Paul Cairney 85), Jamie Adams (Craig McGuffie 80), Ross Docherty, Gary Harkins, Alan Forrest (Kevin Nesbit 69)
SUBS NOT USED: Jamie Thomas, Peter Murphy, Mikey Donald, Jordan Hart (GK)

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot, Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), John Herron (Rhys McCabe 18), Joe Cardle: Gavin Reilly (Michael Moffat 80), Nicky Clark (Farid El Alagui 34).
SUBS NOT USED: Ben Richards-Everton, Paul McMullan, Kallum Higginbotham, David Hutton (GK)

Dunfermline Ayr United
Current League Position
8 7
Form: Last Six Games
LLLLDW DDLLWW
League Points
12 15
Goal Difference
-8 -9
League Home / Away Record .
P6, W2, D1, L3 P7, W2, D1, L3

Ayr United have recorded two wins on the road during this Championship campaign - at Hibs and Dumbarton. This Saturday is their fifth away from home out of theirlast seven fixtures, their most recent was was a 1-0 cup win at Brechin on Tuesday night.

 . . Form in last six matches - . .
 . . .Dunfermline  .

 .

 .

 .

 . Ayr United .
 . .Buckie Thistle (A) W 5-3  . .Brechin City (A) W 1-0
 . St Mirren (A) W 1-0  . Raith Rovers (A) D 1-1
 . Dundee United (H) L 0-1  . Falkirk (H) L 0-1
 . Dundee United (A) L

0-1

 . .St Mirren (A) L 1-2
 . Raith Rovers (H) D

0-0

 . .Hibs (H) L 0-3
 . Dumbarton (A) D

2-2

 . Morton (A) L 1-2

Last Time Out

DUNFERMLINE (v Buckie Thistle):
 Sean Murdoch: Lewis Martin, Callum Fordyce (c), Lee Ashcroft, Conner Duthie: Michael Paton (Kallum Higginbotham HT), Nat Wedderburn, Rhys McCabe (John Herron 82), Paul McMullan: Nicky Clark (Farid El Alagui 78), Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Jason Talbot, Joe Cardle, Lewis Spence, David Hutton (GK) 

AYR UNITED (v Brechin City): Greg Fleming. Nicky Devlin, Daryll Meggat, Conrad Balatoni, Paddy Boyle. Robbie Crawford, Jamie Adams (Alan Forrest 63), Craig McGuffie (Brian Gilmour 72), Ross Docherty, Gary Harkins, Andy O`Connell (Michael Rose 81).
SUBS NOT USED:  Michael Wardrope, Michael Donald, Andy Lyall (GK)

Referee will be Barry Cook.



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