Ayr United 0-1 PARS

ATHLETIC head coach Stevie Crawford praised his team's resilience after they picked up a second successive victory at Ayr United on Saturday.

Substitute Louis Longridge's 71st minute penalty was enough to separate the teams at Somerset Park as Dunfermline built on their win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle the previous weekend.

Before kick-off, Crawford suffered a blow as Jackson Longridge withdrew from the team in the warm-up, resulting in a start for Ryan Williamson and a left back role for James Craigen.

Former Par Lawrence Shankland, the Honest Men's leading marksman, had the first opportunity of what turned out to be a scrappy encounter inside five minutes but saw his effort narrowly clear Ryan Scully's crossbar.

Another former Dunfermline striker, Michael Moffat, headed over as the hosts made the early running before Joe Thomson sent a decent strike not too far over Ayr custodian Ross Doohan's bar.

At the other end, Scully produced a fine block to deny Andy Murdoch from close range after he latched on to Nicky Cadden's cross, but the teams went in scoreless at the interval.

From Thomson's fizzing cross across the six-yard box, Aidan Connolly was denied by a fine piece of goalkeeping by Doohan before Dunfermline grabbed the lead from the spot.

Williamson made good ground down the right and, in attempting to block his cross, Michael Rose did so with his arm and left referee David Munro with little choice but to award a penalty.

Longridge, who had made his comeback from a three-month injury lay-off against Inverness, stepped up and sent Doohan the wrong way from 12 yards to net his first goal since October.

Although Ayr rallied in the latter stages - with Moffat sending a header off target, and Shankland sending an overhead attempt over - the Pars saw the game through, and Crawford told the media afterwards: "I thought we actually started the game really well.

"Then after that we had a twenty minute spell where Ayr caused us a lot of problems but again the pleasing thing for myself and the staff is that we managed to get through that period. 

"Ayr United were causing us problems in wide areas. We saw that out but they were lively at the start of the second half for ten minutes then I thought we got a hold of the game.

"Coming down to Somerset Park as a player is never easy. The pleasing thing for us is that we came through that twenty minute spell in the first half where in previous weeks we might have buckled under it."

Honest Men boss Ian McCall was disappointed with his players' display, adding: "I thought we played well for half an hour in the first half and dominated.

"I don’t think either team deserved to win but we certainly didn’t deserve to win it."