The Honest Men slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Dunfermline Athletic in their first game of 2017. First half goals from Clark and Geggan were enough to ensure the Pars came away with all 3 points.
It was Ayr who were to have the first chance of the game on 5 mins when Forrest managed to create himself space in the box on the right but his low shot was weak and straight down the throat of Murdoch.
On 18 mins it was the home side on the ascendency again, this time Devlin bursting down the wing and sending in a fizzing cross which was palmed away by Murdoch, Cairney then squirmed an eventual shot wide from the edge of the area.
A moment of genius from Harkins almost broke the deadlock for Ayr on 22 mins. Harkins picked the ball up on the left and weaved past 3 players on the left however his cutback was missed by both Adams and Nisbet and the ball was cleared.
Ayr were made to pay for their missed chances when Pars took the lead through Clark on 25 mins. Moffat picked up the ball on the right and his cross ball was met by Talbot who’s mis-hit shot was met by Clark who had the striker’s instinct to poke the ball home to give his side the lead. 0-1.
One became two only 7 mins later when a bit of magic from Geggan doubled the away side’s lead. A corner came in from the left and McKenna and Geggan fought for the ball and as they both went to ground, Geggan was quickest to get back to his feet to volley home the loose ball into the top corner. Individual brilliance from the ex-Ayr man and it was 0-2.
Pars were rampant for a spell in the first half and Ashcroft tried to increase the lead further however his header from a corner on 35 mins went over the bar. Clark was next to try his luck 2 mins later when he pounced on a Balatoni mistake but he could only shoot over the bar from the edge of the area.
Ayr attempted to claw their way back into the game but were lacking a clinical touch as Nisbet volleyed a ball well over the bar from inside the area on 39 mins. Cairney then sent in a long ball into the Pars’ box which was headed back across by Adams but again it was volleyed over by Nisbet.
Just before halftime Ayr almost halved the deficit when Cairney’s low cross was met by an unmarked Balatoni in the box but the defender scooped his shot over the bar on 44 mins.
Ayr started the second half brightly and Adams had a header tipped over the bar by Murdoch on 49 mins. From the resultant corner, Harkins saw his looping header go harmlessly over the bar.
On 57 mins Dunfermline almost made it three through Ashcroft. The defender met the ball from a low Higginbotham corner and his volley was superbly headed off the line at the back post by Crawford as it looked destined for the net.
60 mins gone and Ayr were still trying to find a way back into the game, this time Nisbet capitalised on a mistake in the Pars defence and passed the ball across to Forrest who turned his marker however curled his shot just wide of the far post from close range.
3 mins later and it was Boyle who was next to have an effort on goal, his volleying the edge of the box from a cleared corner fizzing just wide of the right hand post.
Reilly almost added to the away side’s tally on 82 mins when he received the ball in the box but despite having time and space to compose himself he lifted his first time shot over the bar. Cardle was to have the last effort on goal, finding space on the edge of the box on 87 mins and firing a shot over the bar.
Ayr now travel to Falkirk next week as they aim to put a stop to their winless run.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Crawford, Forrest, Harkins, Cairney, Adams, Nisbet, Balatoni, McKenna. Substitutes Hart (GK), Gilmour, Rose, Murphy, Donald, Meggatt, Wardrope.
Murdoch, Talbot, Fordyce, Geggan, Wedderburn, Moffat, Ashcroft, McMullan, Higginbotham, Herron, Clark. Substitutes Hutton, Martin, Paton, Cardle, Reilly, McCabe, El Alagui.
Referee: Craig Thompson
Match Report: AUmedia =