SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 2 AYR UNITED 0: 22/01/00

Ayr is the focus of attention in the last week in January because of its associations with the National Bard so it was appropriate this game took the course of his famous Tam O’Shanter tale.

When Chapman billies leave the street
And Athletic look hard to beat.
Two Dunfermline goals it’s nae bother
This match is goin to be like no other.

Pars supporters sat ane bewitched,
and thought their very een enriched;
even Satan scored twas all his riches
as the cold graveyard awoke the witches.

Glimmering through the fast moving knees,
East End Park seemed in a bleeze.
In bold Ian Ferguson
It’s great to have the midfield reborn

Two goals were what we deserved
and silky play, where had it been reserved.
3-4-3 it seemed was the call
and play that looked dangerously like football.

Pars fought with might and main
But then auld Skinner went down in pain
Fergie was forced to fall back the park
And in an instant all was dark.

This was a game that effectively ended in the 26th minute when Ian Ferguson had to fit in to the back three because of an injury to Justin Skinner. The new signing had commanded from the outset and was distributing the ball from midfield with beauty. Two ahead the match sunk into slumber and Dunfermline played out the rest of the match in safety to clinch their first victory of the Millennium.

Scott Thomson was back to fitness so he came into midfield, Brian Reid returned to form a back three with Skinner and Tod. Owen Coyle was suspended so Stevie Crawford, Stewart Petrie and Steve Hampshire were the strike force. Jason Dair was wide on the right of midfield, Chris McGroarty wide left and Ian Ferguson beside Thomson in midfield.

Chris McGroarty had obviously studied the tape of last week’s second goal against Falkirk. Because of a mistake in the Ayr defence he found himself bursting through on the left and into the box as he had done last week. This time he passed square to the awaiting Steve HAMPSHIRE and he slotted in with ease.

Two minutes later the ball was crossed right over to Jason Dair who had been left exposed. Dair carried to the bye line and cut back to Ian Ferguson who hammerd home from 20 yards.
Stevie Crawford next blasted an effort goalwards but the Ayr left back took the brunt of it.

After Skinner went off, Hamish French came on in midfield and demonstrated he is no grey mare.

Before the interval arrived Scott Thomson and Steve Hampshire both had shots that went over the crossbar and both Ayr full backs had rockets that worried Mampaey; McMillan’s producing a great fisted save from the Belgian.

Early in the second half Kris Mampaey was forced into action from Hurst on two occasions. In the 50th minute French had a screaming shot that just went wide and right.

An Ayr free kick breeched the Pars wall and Mampaey was forced to make a double save from Hurst. The fear had obviously returned and five minutes later the home fans were booing as all eleven Pars men came back to defend a corner.

The Pars only other threat in the second half was a run from Stewart Petrie which almost ended up with him netting from 15 yards. Entertainment was absent for most of this half and we had to be relieved when the comedy arrived with Roddy Grant’s introduction in the 76th minute. Mampaey managed to kick the ball in the ex Par’s face and in the last minute the puddin twice completely mucked up in front of goal.

Three points, not pretty but a result.

DUNFERMLINE: (3-4-3) Mampaey; Tod, Skinner (French 26), Reid: Dair (Moss 82), Ferguson, Thomson, McGroarty; Hampshire, Crawford (Graham 88), Petrie
Scorers: Hampshire (9), Ferguson (11)
No yellow cards on either side
Referee S Dougall (Burnbank
Attendance 4000
League Position 2nd (3 points behind St Mirren lost 2-0 at Brockville)
Strip: Home - Black & White

Next match v Hibernian (away)
Tennents Scottish Cup Saturday 29th January 2000

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