Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1

Saturday, 21st Oct 2023

cinch Championship: three changes for Dunfermline as Mehmet, Breen and Summers return. Logan Chalmers (10) 0-1:

Lee Bullen returned to KDM Group East End Park as manager of opponents Ayr United. The Honest Men sat two places and two points behind sixth placed Pars having played one more match than their hosts.

Due to postponement and a blank Saturday this was Dunfermline’s first competitive match of the month but the time out had allowed their injury list to shrink a little. Deniz Mehmet, Rhys Breen and Ben Summers returned to the starting eleven and that meant seats on the bench for Harrison Sharp, Sam Fisher and Alex Jakubiak.

Ayr United made one change to their starting eleven - nineteen year old Elicha Ahui starting in place of the injured Nick McAllister.

Ahead of kick off there was a minute`s silence in memory of former Dunfermline captain and Ayr United player, Jim MacLean. The teams changed ends with Dunfermline playing into the sun. Craig Wighton got the game underway and Lewis McCann got the better of his marker to deliver a ball from the right that Wighton failed to connect with but Josh Edwards did but to howls from the stands blasted his third minute effort into the McCathie Stand.

Ayr’s first attempt at goal was a George Stanger header in seven minutes when he was on the end of a dangerous Logan Chalmers cross from the right. Dunfermline then survived a penalty appeal when a cross from the left was deflected behind off a Pars arm. Worse was to follow however when Ayr took a tenth minute lead. It was another ball in from the left with Anton Dowds picking out CHALMERS in front of goal and he executed the chance perfectly to take the lead. 0-1

The momentum remained with Ayr who forced two 17th minute corners after the home defence looked particularly vulnerable. Chalmers tried a shot from the right side of the box and fortunately that curled outside the far post. A Breen foul on Dowds allowed the visitors to pump another ball into the Dunfermline box and next Wighton was able to get close enough to fire a 22nd minute shot on target that was blocked.

Two minutes later a fantastic block by Aaron Comrie saved a certain goal after Mehmet, 25 yards out, had lost out to McKenzie in the sprint to the through ball. The striker continued to trouble the Pars coming out best in a tussle for the ball on the edge of the box and advancing in to shoot wide right from 12 yards out.

It was clear that something had to change and the management team made the change with a double substitution in 32nd minute. Owen Moffat and Sam Fisher came on with Chris Hamilton and Joe Chalmers going off. The visitors continued to put the Pars under the cosh forcing three more corners and restricting their opponents to play in their own half.

It was a first 45 minutes in which Dunfermline had found their opponents difficult to deal with. The Pats chances had been extremely limited while Ayr had created a great many and it was possibly a relief to go in only one behind at the interval.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Ayr United 1

Paul Allan became the third Dunfermline substitute of the game replacing Rhys Breen as the second half started. Dunfermline forced a corner within 90 seconds and the early play was all in the sunny north east end. O’Halloran’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by McCann and Moffat hit a powerful effort on target that got blocked. Following another corner Summers tried a shot that only just evaded Wighton after it got blocked.

Ten minutes into the half a Fisher free kick from just inside the United half picked out McCann and he did a great job to shield the ball before touching it back for O’Halloran to feed Moffat. The on-loan Blackpool player’s shot narrowly cleared the crossbar from 18 yards out.

Mehmet had to turn a strong effort from Chalmers away for a corner but McCann was dominant in these situations. A McCann free kick on the hour found Comrie at the back post but his knock down only found an Ayr shirt and still keeper Charlie Albinson had not been tested.

That all changed in 67th minute when the left goalpost kept out a Summers shot from 25 yards out and then the keeper reacted fast to save the follow up from Alex Jakubiak who had replaced Craig Wighton in 63 minutes.

Ayr were not to be forgotten about. Paddy Reading sent a good opportunity wide when he ran on to a Jamie Murphy pass and sub Ahkeem Rose was only denied by a really good tackle back by Ewan Otoo.

Mehmet held a stinger of a shot from Rose in 80 minutes before the Fifers made their final push. Ayr made it hard to break them down and even a long throw into the United box could not alter the scoreline. Ever effort was frustrated and the three points took Ayr above the Pars into sixth place.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Rhys Breen (Paul Allan HT), Ewan Otoo: Chris Hamilton (c) (Sam Fisher 32): Michael O’Halloran, Ben Summers, Joe Chalmers (Owen Moffat 32), Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton (Alex Jakubiak 63), Lewis McCann.

SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Harrison Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK).

AYR UNITED: Charlie Albinson: Elicha Ahui, George Stanger, Sean McGinty (c), Paddy Reading: Logan Chalmers (Francis Amartey 88), Jay Senga (Akheem Rose 69), Roy Syla (Paul Smith 76), Jamie Murphy: Mark McKenzie (Jack Young 69), Anton Dowds (Fraser Bryden 76)
SUBS NOT USED: Scott Tomlinson, Finn Ecrepont, Dylan Watertown, Robbie Mutch (GK).
SCORERS: Chalmers (10)
YELLOW CARD: Amartey (90+1)

REFEREE: David Munro

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Raith Rovers, Saturday 28th October 2023, kick off 3.00pm at Stark’s Park.

50/50 winner: Ian Cochrane, WEB8407

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