Ayr United 3-0 East Fife

Fife sub Kyle Wilson tries to kick off another move forward. Pic by Jim Corstorphine.
Fife sub Kyle Wilson tries to kick off another move forward. Pic by Jim Corstorphine.

East Fife’s inconsistent start to the new campaign was again a source of frustration as the side went down at Ayr.

The Fifers went into the game on the back of two wins, with two defeats proceeding them and a couple of wins before those defeats.

It’s a pattern Methil boss Darren Young is keen to get out of, but knows that first of all they have to stop being so generous in the early stages of games.

Lawrence Shankland put the hosts ahead with barely a few minutes on the clock, and it was a lead East Fife couldn’t haul in.

Young said: “It’s really frustrating because the side has set a standard over the past couple of weeks with some good victories.

“Ayr are a full-time team but against any in this league we’re looking to compete.

“It’s really disappointing we lacked that.

“We had two wins before the Raith game and went into that on a high and going in to attack them.

“We maybe left ourselves open so went with a defensive midfielder instead against Ayr to make it difficult for them.

“But we lost a goal in four minutes in the Raith game and lost another early on in this.

“We shot ourselves in the foot before the game plan could even come into action.

“It’s really frustrating and really disappointing.”

The hosts started the game well but were forced into a change within the first few minutes when David Ferguson replaced the injured Craig Reid.

But the substitution didn’t knock the side off its balance, and Ian McCall’s men took the lead a matter of seconds later when Shankland bundled the ball beyond Mark Hurst.

Ayr looked dangerous every time the broke forward and kept the Methil men penned back in their own half.

Paddy Boyle was next to threaten with a curling effort Hurst was relieved to watch bend beyond the post.

East Fife gradually settled into the game but still found chances hard to come by.

Pat Slattery tried his luck from the edge of the box but didn’t threaten Jordan Hart.

At the other end Ayr continued to go close, and Michael Rose was unlucky to see his header clip the top of the bar.

Ayr extended their lead when they started the second half in the same manner as the first.

Shankland turned creator this time for Andy Geggan, firing a cut back into the box the former Dunfermline midfielder met and rattled beyond Hurst.

Despite being two down the Fifers would have still harboured hopes of getting a quick goal and back into the game.

But those hopes took a huge dent when skipper Jonathan Page was sent off for a studs up challenge on Declan McDaid.

Chris Higgins’s close range effort added some extra shine on what was a totally polished performance by Ayr.

Ayr - Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, McDaid (McGuffie 64), Shankland, Docherty (Murphy 74), Reid (Ferguson 6).

Subs - Avci, Balfour, McCowan.

East Fife - M Hurst, Dunsmore, Linton (Reilly 79), Watson, Page, Flanagan, Kane, Docherty (G Hurst 46), Millar, Duggan (Wilson 68), Slattery.

Subs - Goodfellow, Willis, Lamont, Mutch.