The Honest Men failed to close the gap at the top of the table to 8 points as they were defeated 2-0 at home to Dunfermline. A second half double from striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui was enough to earn the Fifers 3 points and take them one step closer to the League One title.
Ian McCall made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s win over Stenny as Brian Gilmour came in for Andy Graham as Ross McCrorie slotted into the centre of defence.
The first chance of the game fell to Ayr after 10 minutes. Brian Gilmour whipped in a cross from the left and it was met by the head of Jamie Adams who beat keeper Murdoch to the ball however his header looped just wide of the post. Pars responded 5 minutes later and were handed a great chance when Michael Paton sent in a freekick from 30 yards out however defender Brad McKay could only head the ball wide of the post from 10 yards out.
The best chance of the game so far fell to Jamie Adams after 27 minutes. Gilmour floated in a freekick from the right and the ball fell to Jamie Adams but his shot was brilliantly saved by Murdoch from close range to keep the score level.
The Pars almost took the lead just before halftime when Joe Cardle collected the ball on the edge of the box and dinked a cross to the back post and it was met by Josh Falkingham however he could only divert his shot into the side netting as the half drew to a close with the score line at 0-0.
Dunfermline started the brighter of the two sides in the second half and created their first chance after 56 minutes. Paton spread the ball to the left for Ryan Wallace and his fizzing drive was blocked superbly by captain Nicky Devlin from 15 yards out.
The Fifers continued to press and made the breakthrough after 62 minutes. While Ayr were on the attack, Dunfermline cleared the ball from their own box and broke quickly. It was Ryan Wallace who drove into the Ayr half and slid a ball into Bakhtaoui who took one touch before coolly slotting the ball past Fleming into the bottom corner to put Pars ahead.
This goal seemed to rattle Ayr as they struggled to respond and 5 minutes later the lead was doubled by Bakhtaoui again. After good passing between Bakhtaoui, Wallace and Paton, it was Paton who delivered the ball from the right hand side into the box and it was met by the impressive Bakhtaoui who acrobatically volleyed the ball into the top corner with an overhead kick to put Pars further ahead.
Ayr did however try to stage a fight back and had a good chance after 77 minutes as Trouten passed the ball across to Devlin in the box and his powerful low cross was collected well by Murdoch who was doing his best to keep Ayr out.
The final chance of the game fell to Ayr in the 86th minute. Substitute Robbie Crawford dribbled his way into the Dunfermline box and passed the ball to Moore however his speculative overhead kick went over bar from 10 yards.
The defeat means Ayr remain in 3rd place and find themselves 3 points behind Peterhead.
Ayr now travel to Forfar on Saturday as they aim to respond to this defeat.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Murphy, Docherty, Stevenson, McCrorie, Moore, Trouten, Adams, Gilmour Substitutes Preston, Graham, McLauchlan, Donald, Crawford, Forrest, Newman (GK).
Murdoch, Reid, Talbot, McKay, Richards-Everton, Geggan, Paton, Falkingham, Wallace, El Bakhtaoui, Cardle Substitutes Hopkirk, Martin, Rooney, Moffat, McCabe, Byrne, Hutton (GK)
Referee: Don Robertson
Match Report: AUmedia