Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 2 Ayr United 0

Saturday, 2nd Mar 2024

cinch Championship: Chris Kane and Owen Moffat return. Chris Hamilton (41) 1-0: Chris Kane (45+1) 2-0:

The first of six matches in March commenced with two home matches that firstly saw Ayr United return to KDM Group East End Park. Now under the leadership of Scott Brown and Steven Whittaker the Honest Men has won their last two away games and had really only come unstuck in their previous nine matches to the two teams at the top of the Championship and Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

Chris Kane and Owen Moffat returned for the Fifers with Alex Jakubiak and Ben Summers finding themselves back on the sub bench which also contained the welcome sight of Kyle Benedictus for the first time in the squad this calendar year. Ayr United made one change with Anton Dowds, unavailable last time out against Partick Thistle, replacing Kurt Willoughby.

There was a minute’s silence before kick off to respect former player and manager, Harry Melrose who passed in midweek. It was Dunfermline who kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. The Pars produced a sweet move from Matty Todd to Moffat and then Kane but his effort to direct the ball past Josh Clarke hit the sidenetting. Moffat then forced a fourth minute corner on the right that eventually travelled to Kane but he was adjudged to be offside.

Things were looking good and home fans were behind their team from early on. It was sixth minute when Todd broke through down the left channel but Clarke beat away his effort from the byeline for a corner on the left. Edwards returned the defended clearance and Chris Hamilton was offside when heading on to the roof of the net. There was plenty to keep the fans volume up with a dangerous cross from the right by Lewis McCann and Moffat threatening again down the right.

A 13th minute corner kept Ayr penned in and when Todd returned the ball from the right Malachi Fagan-Walcott was on hand in front of goal but against the odds he turned the ball over the crossbar. Six minutes passed and then Kane’s knock down to Todd sent him into an area 25 yards out where he could get a shot in. Unfortunately the outstretched right hand of Clarke turned the low effort around the post.

After a stoppage for a head injury to Mark McKenzie Dunfermline were on the attack again. McCann dispossessed Nick McAllister deep down the left, cut back for Todd to smash the ball towards the bottom right of the Ayr goal only to be kept out by what many thought was the hand of Ben Dempsey. Referee Peter Stuart did not agree. In 29 minutes Edwards played McCann in behind the United defence but his cross would only lead to a corner where Fagan-Walcott was penalised for his challenge on Sean McGinty.

In 41 minutes referee played advantage to allow Kane to feed Moffat on the right. He forced the corner that would break the deadlock. When Paul Allan’s delivery came over HAMILTON rose the meet it and his header found the net. 1-0

It was a first half where Dunfermline had the bulk of the possession, forced six corners to Ayr’s none and would justifiably have deserved a one goal lead at the interval. Then in the first minute of the three minutes added on Chris KANE took advantage of slackness from a Frankie Musonda throw in. He tried to send the ball back to McGinty but the on-loan Saint nipped in and finished from the right side of the penalty box for a second!

Half time: Dunfermline 2 Ayr United 0

Ayr United introduced Logan Chalmers for Fraser Bryden for the second half and within two minutes won their first corner. It came from a mix up on defence where Dowds almost scrambled a goal. The corner from the right was duly defended without any danger.

Frankie Musonda was shown the first yellow card of the game for stopping the run of Moffat down the right and from the 56th minute free kick, Allan’s cross was met by the head of Welch-Hayes but he headed wide.

There was a period around the hour mark where the visitors were able to retain a fair bit of possession and completed passes. Fortunately they were kept well out of shooting distance. Alex Jakubiak replaced Owen Moffat in 64 minutes and prevent the sub being gifted the ball, keeper Clarke conceded an indirect free kick just inside the Ayr box. Ayr had everyone back inside their box when Todd touched the ball to McCann who twice blasted the ball into the four man wall.

Michael O’Halloran replaced Lewis McCann before James McPake made a triple substitution ten minutes later on 82 minutes. Joe Chalmers, Ben Summers and Brad Holmes took over from Paul Allan, Matty Todd and Chris Kane.

O’Halloran’s cross forced an 88th minute corner on the right. Chalmers swung the ball in from the right corner flag and Welch-Hayes came off worst when Clarke came out to clear. The full back was fit to continue after the physio’s attentions.

Ayr earned an added time corner that Jakubiak belted away, Chalmers cleared off the line and Mehmet held a dangerous cross as the Fifers saw out the time added on to claim the three points from their first home win since November. The result took Dunfermline up to fifth equal on points with Airdrieonians and Ayr United.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Miles Welch-Hayes, Chris Hamilton (c), Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Josh Edwards, Matty Todd (Joe Chalmers 82), Paul Allan (Ben Summers 82), Ewan Otoo, Owen Moffat (Alex Jakubiak 64), Chris Kane (Brad Holmes 82), Lewis McCann (Michael O’Halloran 72).
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Benedictus, Taylor Sutherland, Xavier Benjamin, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Hamilton (41) Kane (45+1)
YELLOW CARD: Welch-Hayes (74)

AYR UNITED: Josh Clarke, Nick McAllister (Scott Tomlinson 90), Frankie Musonda, Sean McGinty (c), Jack Sanders, Ben Dempsey (Paul Smith 75), Harry McHugh, Fraser Bryden (Logan Chalmers HT), Jamie Murphy (Roy Syla 75),, Anton Dowds, Mark McKenzie (Kurt Willoughby 55)
SUBS NOT USED: George Stanger, Nathan McGinley, Aiden McGeady, Charlie Albinson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Musonda (56)

REFEREE: Peter Stuart
WEATHER: Overcast 7°C
ATTENDANCE 5050

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Airdrieonians Tuesday 5th March 2024, kick off 7.45pm at KDM Group East End Park

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