Dunfermline Press

Pars’ display is slammed by boss as unacceptab­le

- Amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

Ally McRoberts REPORTER

JAMES McPake slammed this Pars defeat as “nowhere near acceptable” and said they’ll get thumped in the derby if they don’t turn in a vastly improved performanc­e in Kirkcaldy.

This was the most one-sided 1-0 win you’re ever likely to see as Dunfermlin­e were awful and Ayr could easily have been four goals up by halftime.

The only positive will be if Raith get complacent going into Saturday’s clash at Stark’s Park as their management duo, Ian Murray and John Potter, watched from the stands as McPake’s men turned in a nervous and error-strewn display.

He said: “We have a crowd here that’s desperate to get behind us but when you see a first half like that you fully understand why they are booing when you are walking down the tunnel because it is nowhere near acceptable.”

And the boss continued: “The good thing, and I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me, is we are going into a derby.

“There will be a good atmosphere and we are ready for that but on the flip side, if we perform like that then it could be anything next week against a team that is really on form.”

In their last home game, Dunfermlin­e wiped the floor with Morton with an attacking show full of pace, skill and goal scoring threat that had the fans purring about the campaign to come.

The bubble burst the following Saturday when they were easily dumped 3-0 at Firhill and, left to stew for three weeks without a match, the boss was expecting his side to bounce back in front of a 5,000-plus crowd.

A little rustiness would have been understand­able but this was a first half horror show and McPake insisted there were “no excuses”.

He said: “Off the back of a really poor performanc­e in

Glasgow against Partick Thistle, that was another one – certainly in the first half.

“For me it was just as bad or worse than anything we saw through there. It was really frustratin­g and we are really disappoint­ed.”

McPake went on to say: “Myself, Dave and the rest of the staff deserve as much of the blame for today as the players.

“Collective­ly as a group we will get back together, we have had hurdles before, we have had challenges before and we have come out fighting. That’s what is going to happen next week.”

The Pars mustered only two good chances to score in 90-plus minutes.

Josh Edwards took a touch and then blazed high over the bar in the third minute and in the 67th minute Ben Summers thumped a low 25 yard drive off the post.

Alex Jakubiak was onto the rebound and should have scored but credit to Ayr goalie Charlie Albinson who was up quick and threw himself to his left to palm the striker’s shot round the post.

McPake admitted: “It was a world class save from the goalkeeper, we probably should still have scored from it and go on and win the game.”

That would have been extremely harsh on Ayr as the Pars struggled to control the ball, passes were overhit and went astray, tackles were missed and challenges lost.

Asked to play out from the back, Dunfermlin­e lost the ball time and again and invited pressure, leading to “nervous” players and fans and a truckload of chances for the Honest Men.

What turned out to be the winning goal arrived in the 10th minute when Mark McKenzie was given time to turn and feed Jamie Murphy on the left, and his low ball to the back post was swept home by Logan Chalmers.

The only surprise was that Ayr, managed by former Pars favourite Lee Bullen, didn’t score more.

Returning goalie Deniz Mehmet stuck out a leg to stop Anton Dowds finding the net, Murphy twice came close and McKenzie rounded the keeper and would have rolled the ball into an empty net but for Aaron Comrie racing back to make a heroic block.

McKenzie then missed a simple chance when through one-on-one and that was all in the first half hour, when McPake had seen enough and hooked Joe Chalmers and Chris Hamilton, replacing them with Sam Fisher and Owen Moffat in what he termed a “gamble”.

He said: “Something had to happen. I have already apologised to Joe and Hammy.

“I wouldn’t say they were the worst players in the team - it could have been anybody.

“It was that kind of situation where it looked like we could be going in at three or four (down) at half time just the way they were cutting us open.”

He added: “I don’t like doing that. Those two in particular have been excellent for us since we came into this football club and they will continue to be that.

“It was purely just to try and do something in the game.”

Rhys Breen was subbed at half-time, he was sick, and Dunfermlin­e did improve slightly in the second half, albeit Ayr also had chances.

McPake said: “Deniz (Mehmet), (Sam) Fisher and (Lewis) McCann were the ones today that you could hang your hat on for that performanc­e.

“The rest, I don’t think anybody could chap the door next week if they are not playing in the derby.”

 ?? ?? Much of the action on Saturday took place in and around the Dunfermlin­e area, with Deniz Mehmet kept busy on his return to the team. Image: Craig Brown
Much of the action on Saturday took place in and around the Dunfermlin­e area, with Deniz Mehmet kept busy on his return to the team. Image: Craig Brown
 ?? ?? Athletic’s Craig Wighton tries to escape the attentions of two Ayr men. Image: Craig Wighton
Athletic’s Craig Wighton tries to escape the attentions of two Ayr men. Image: Craig Wighton

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