Their number nine was very quick and Dunfermline’s game plan was to play him in at every opportunity however it wasn’t long before Ayr got a grip of the game and their passing, movement and ball retention was a joy to watch.
The distribution from the back was very impressive with Greg Connor in goals working well with Stuart Gray, Lyall Cameron and Robbie Graham in defence with Gray in particular having another good game, winning tackles and linking up well with Nathan Baird on Ayr’s right hand side.
Although Ayr had a lot of possession they were finding it difficult to create chances for Jamie Martin upfront and Dunfermline soon punished them when they managed to grab a huge slice of luck with their opening goal when the referee waved Stuart Gray back on to the field after receiving treatment, but inadvertently played the Dunfermline striker on-side and he went on to smash the ball past Greg Connor.
Ayr responded immediately with a slick passing move that set up Will Graham to hit a superb left foot shot which the Dunfermline keeper was at full stretch to tip it round the post. That save was equalled by Greg Connor in the Ayr goal who brilliantly touched a curling shot around the post. Ayr finished the period strongly but couldn’t believe that for all their domination that they were behind.
The second period started in a similar fashion with the central midfield trio of Callum Ogston, Kieran Balfour and Will Graham putting in a great shift for Ayr.
Ogston played well in the defensive midfield role, keeping things simple and distributing the ball into the wide areas and to the strikers. This allowed Balfour and Graham to break forward and support the strikers but just like the first period, Dunfermline received another slice of luck when an Ayr clearance from a corner rebounded off one of their players and fell kindly for their striker to tap the ball into the open goal.
Ayr continued to dominate possession, however they struggled to create enough clear cut chances and again against the run of play, Dunfermline managed to add to the score sheet.
The players were greeted with torrential rain at the start of the third period and had to endure this throughout the period although there were several bright spells for Ayr when Thomas Dunlop and Jamie Martin scoring.
Thomas Dunlop pounced on a defensive mistake and expertly scored with Jamie Martin coolly finishing a move created by a great surging run from Kieran Balfour. There was also a stunning double save by Ayr keeper Taylor Davidson. However Dunfermline continued their direct approach and managed to score a couple of goals at the end of the period.
Head Coach Jack Martin said: “Ayr were by far the better passing team and retained the ball really well throughout, however we have to concede that we didn’t convert our dominance into enough clear cut chances, something that we will be practicing in training this week. “