Dunfermline Athletic

Ayr United 2 Dunfermline 2

Saturday, 30th Dec 2023

cinch Championship: five changes as Fisher, Chalmers, Summers, Jakubiak and Wighton all start. Alex Jakubiak (3) 0-1: Alex Jakubiak (10) 0-2: Aiden McGeady (41) 1-2: Frankie Musonda (63) 2-2:

Dunfermline’s last match of 2023 was at Somerset Park, Ayr. Lee Bullen’s Ayr United lay four points and two places below their visitors so they would see this as a great opportunity to close the gap on the play-off place.

There were four changes from the side that started against Arbroath. Chris Hamilton, Lewis McCann were out injured, Ewan Otoo and Matty Todd were missing and Owen Moffat was on the bench. Into the side came Sam Fisher, Joe Chalmers, Ben Summers, Alex Jakubiak and Craig Wighton.

Lee Bullen was forced to make one change to the team that drew 4-4 away to Raith Rovers. Following his red card at Stark’s Park, Sean McGinty served the first of a two match ban, George Stanger came in for him in an otherwise unchanged team.

It had been a snowy and then wet journey down the M77 to Ayr but the conditions at kick off were very good considering the recent stormy weather. Joe Chalmers led the team out and it was the Honest Men who kicked off attacking the goal at the away end.

The home side forced Fisher to concede a corner but Michael O’Halloran cleared. The Pars took the game to Ayr with Chalmers heavily involved and they had instant success scoring in third minute from an O’Halloran cross in from the right. Alex JAKUBIAK controlled, turned and finished from eight yards out. 0-1

The Fifers increased their advantage just seven minutes later. Summers played the ball into the path of JAKUBIAK on the left side of the penalty box and the striker brushed off the challenge of his marker to drill the ball into the bottom right. 0-2

Ayr then had to defend three corners in quick succession and the home crowd were getting increasingly agitated. They had to watch Josh Edwards power his way to the edge of their box and release a shot that unfortunately cleared the crossbar. Summers rifled a 16th minute effort towards the left side of the home net but keeper Robbie Mutch dropped to his side to hold.

Deniz Mehmet got in on the action in 19 minutes after Aiden McGeady found Anton Dowds on the right side of the Dunfermline box. The keeper held the shot from an acute angle. O’Halloran then won possession midway into his own half and made a blistering run up to the opposition box but lacking luck, could not find Wighton or Jakubiak.

Ayr forced three successive corners in 28 minutes with Mehmet, in a crowded six yard box, punching the third clear. Then a surging run by Elicha Ahui set up Dowds but Fisher made a timely tackle as the striker was about to fire.

A soaring run from Jakubiak got him down the left and he squared a great pass for Wighton ten yards out but Mutch kept him out with an outstretched right foot. Next minute the travelling support was singing after Wighton set up Jakubiak but he aimed the ball wide of the right goalpost.

Then in 41 minutes Ayr struck back when Aiden McGEADY converted a cross in from the right from Dowds. 1-2

A Wighton ball across the face of goal caused anxiety and Dunfermline ended the half with a corner on the left that was defended. It had been a good first half for the visitors and there is no doubt Ayr had come back into it towards the break.

Half time: Ayr United 1 Dunfermline 2

The Fifers had a lively start to the second half with O’Halloran beating off challenges to get in on the right side but his 50th minute shot was parried away by Mutch. A 56th minute corner saw the ball land up in the Pars net but referee Ross Hardie had blown up for Francis Amartey’s foul on Comrie long before the shot that sent it there.

Dunfermline had some dogged defending to do as Ayr turned up the pressure. The defence held out until in 63 minutes Frankie MUSONDA looped a header beyond Mehmet. 2-2

Midway through the half Breen received treatment, he continued but only momentarily and in 69 minutes was subbed by Kyle Benedictus. Soon after O’Halloran went down as he twisted and he tried to work off his injury.

An Amartey cross gave Ayr a 75th minute chance but Edwards swept that away from Chalmers. The on-loan Dundee United player then returned the ball to force a corner that again saw a jam packed six yard box. Jakubiak came away with the ball before O’Halloran went down and in 78 minute seventeen year old Jake Sutherland came on for his debut.

There was a remarkable let off in 84 minutes when Chalmers put Dowds in on the right side of the Pars box and he powered a cross that Dempsey turned goalwards but somehow Mehmet clawed the ball in.

Sutherland was adjudged offside when he headed on target. The game remained very open as both sides looked for the winner. Allan laid the ball off to Owen Moffat but his 89th minute effort slipped out left of goal. Dunfermline had swung the match back in their favour.

When Ahui took him out Edwards earned a 91st minute free kick and then a corner on right. Chalmers delivery fell to Moffat but his shot was blocked. Sutherland then had the chance when the ball came to him on the edge of the box but he crashed the ball wide right.

It was one point apiece at Somerset Park but again the concern has to be another two injuries.

AYR UNITED: Robbie Mutch: Elicha Ahui, Frankie Musonda (c), George Stanger, Paddy Reading: Ben Dempsey, Jack Young: Logan Chalmers, Aiden McGeady ( Jamie Murphy 62), Francis Amartey: Anton Dowds
SUBS NOT USED: Jack Senga, Akheem Rose, Mark McKenzie, Fraser Bryden, Paul Smith, Roy Syla, Nick McAllister, Charlie Albinson (GK).
SCORERS: McGeady (41), Musonda (63)
YELLOW CARD: Ahui (90+1)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Sam Fisher, Rhys Breen (Kyle Benedictus 69): Michael O’Halloran (Jake Sutherland 78), Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers (c), Ben Summers (Owen Moffat 65), Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton, Alex Jakubiak
SUBS NOT USED: Liam Hoggan, Miller Fenton, Harry Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Jakubiak (3, 10)
YELLOW CARD: Wighton (61), Edwards (86)

REFEREE: Ross Hardie

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Raith Rovers, Tuesday 2nd January 2024, kick off 3.00pm

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