Dunfermline Athletic 2
Ayr United 0
League (Championship)

Dunfermline Athletic 

2 - 0

Ayr United

League (Championship)
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
East End Park
Attendance: 5,050

Hamilton (42'), Kane (45'+1) None.

Team Managers
Unknown. Scott Brown

Starting Eleven
1 Mehmet
36 Welch-Hayes
5 Hamilton
64 Fagan-Walcott
3 Edwards
10 Todd
6 Otoo
18 Allan
17 Moffat
20 Kane
11 McCann
Josh Clarke
Frankie Musonda .4
Sean McGinty .5
Harry McHugh .21
Nick McAllister .17
Ben Dempsey .8
Mark McKenzie .22
Jack Sanders .23
Jamie Murphy .15
Fraser Bryden .30
Anton Dowds .16

4 Benedictus
8 Chalmers
14 Jakubiak
16 Summers
23 O'Halloran
26 Sutherland
33 Benjamin
38 Holmes
44 Little
Charlie Albinson .1
George Stanger .14
Roy Syla .20
Nathan Mcginley .25
Aiden McGeady .10
Scott Tomlinson .24
Kurt Willoughby .9
Paul Smith .18
Logan Chalmers .11

10 Todd for Summers at 82'
18 Allan for Chalmers 82'
17 Moffat forJakubiak 64'
20 Kane for Holmes 82'
11 McCann for O'Hallorat 72'
Logan Chalmers for Fraser Bryden (45)
Kurt Willoughby for Mark McKenzie (56)
Paul Smith for Ben Dempsey (76)
Roy Syla for Jamie Murphy (76)
Scott Tomlinson for Nick McAllister (91)

Welch-Hayes None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Peter Stuart (Referee)

Match Report

PARS grabbed their first home win of the year with a first half double killing off Ayr’s challenge.

James McPake’s men are now level on points with the Honest Men after a comfortable victory, just their second in 2024, and it catapulted the team up three places to fifth in the league table.

Chris Hamilton headed Dunfermline into a deserved lead before Chris Kane robbed Ayr skipper Sean McGinty and ran clear to slot in his first goal for the club just before half-time.

United enjoyed more of the ball after the break, although Miles Welch-Hayes and Lewis McCann came close to adding a third goal, but failed to seriously test goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet.

Pars last win at East End Park was on the 30th November against Arbroath but they were largely untroubled here – although they had to remember they were 2-0 up at Ayr in December before being pegged back for a draw.

There were two changes to the Athletic team who drew 0-0 at Inverness on Tuesday night with Ben Summers and Alex Jakubiak dropping to the bench, replaced by Owen Moffat and Kane, who had been ill.

Surprisingly McCann, who limped out of the action early on at Caledonian Stadium with a hamstring issue, was fit again and in from the start while skipper Kyle Benedictus was named as a sub after an injury-hit campaign.

The 32-year-old’s last outing was against Ayr when he came on as a sub in that 2-2 draw at Somerset Park just before the end of the year.

Athletic boss McPake was still without Rhys Breen, Sam Fisher, Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Andrew Tod, Craig Wighton and Aaron Comrie - the latter duo are out for the rest of the season.

After an impeccable minute's silence for Dunfermline legend Harry Melrose, a Scottish Cup winning player in 1961 who later went on to manage the club, Pars took the initiative from the whistle.

Moffat was in the mood and a good ball from the right was flicked just past the post by Kane.

There was an early Ayr raid warning when Fraser Bryden climbed highest in the box but his header didn’t trouble Mehmet.

Dunfermline took charge and Matty Todd almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute after breaking down the left.

A change of pace took him away from McGinty but from a tight angle he couldn’t squeeze the ball past goalie Josh Clarke.

The resulting corner was only cleared as far as Josh Edwards who returned it and Hamilton twisted to nod the ball over the keeper but it bounced off the top of the bar and over – with the flag up in any case.

There was an even better chance in the 14th minute when Todd swung in a brilliant cross from the right, it fell to the unmarked Malachi Fagan-Walcott just six yards out but he couldn’t get a good connection and the ball sailed over.

Todd had a deflected effort skid just wide of the target and there was a loud shout for a penalty in the 25th minute when McCann rolled the ball into Todd’s path and McGinty threw himself in front of his dig at goal – home fans felt he blocked it with his arm, the ref didn’t.

He may have lost his composure in attack but Fagan-Walcott had the cigar on when a loose touch appeared to put him in trouble on the edge of his box on the half hour.

But he nonchalantly feinted one way and went the other to move away from the striker and pass out of danger.

In the 41st minute Dunfermline took a deserved lead when Paul Allan’s outswinging corner from the right was met by Hamilton who jumped within a crowd of players and directed a header into the net.

The goal came at a good time as Ayr had just started to edge their way into the contest and ask a few questions of the home defence.

And then it was two. Who needs Harry? Kane robbed a dithering McGinty and raced clear before sweeping a confident finish past Clarke.

Pars almost shot themselves in the foot at the start of the second half though when a defensive mix-up allowed Anton Dowds a clear look at goal but he took forever to pull the trigger and McPake’s men somehow escaped with just the concession of a corner.

It should have been a lot worse.

Welch-Hayes had his head in his hands after meeting Allan’s free kick and nodding the ball inches wide in the 57th minute.

At 2-0 up Athletic didn’t know whether to stick or twist. Be too adventurous and they risked being picked off on the break, sit back and they would invite pressure.

Ayr sensed this uncertainty and pushed the Pars back, although another blunder in the United defence almost led to a third goal.

Clarke started to throw the ball out, changed his mind and let go of the ball, only to collect it once it had bounced.

A real ‘You are the ref’ conundrum and it resulted in an indirect free kick with McCann twice hammering the ball into a ruck of Ayr players. The best he got was a corner.

McPake rang the changes, with Jakubiak and Michael O’Halloran introduced to the fray for Moffat and McCann, and later Summers, Joe Chalmers and Brad Holmes for Todd, Allan and Kane, and although United enjoyed their best spell in terms of possession, they struggled to create much.

A nervy finish looked on the cards when Dowds had a shot from close range at the death but Chalmers blocked on the line and Dunfermline held o

Match report written by Dunfermline Press

Squad Statistics (as at March 2nd, 2024)

2023-24 All Time
Josh Clarke (GK) - 3 - 3 -
Sean McGinty30 3411115
Frankie Musonda26 161463
Harry McHugh - 4141
Mark McKenzie23 31314512
Ben Dempsey24 2337611
Nick McAllister23 252713
Jamie Murphy - 307307
Jack Sanders - 5 - 5 -
Anton Dowds27 23102310
Fraser Bryden19 294617
Roy Syla (sub)23 252252
Scott Tomlinson (sub) - 12 - 13 -
Paul Smith (sub)21 19 - 52 -
Kurt Willoughby (sub) - 6262
Logan Chalmers (sub)24 2573610

League Table (as at March 2nd, 2024)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Dundee United 26 15 7 4 52
2. Raith Rovers 26 15 6 5 51
3. Partick Thistle 26 10 9 7 39
4. Morton 26 10 7 9 37
5. Dunfermline Athletic 26 8 8 10 32
6. Airdrieonians 25 9 5 11 32
7. Ayr United 27 9 5 13 32
8. Queen's Park 27 8 7 12 31
9. ICT 27 7 9 11 30
10. Arbroath 26 6 5 15 23