The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
AYR UNITED 1 Miller (24) DUNFERMLINE 1 McManus (12)
Dunfermline are now six games without a win, but this vital point keeps them in touch with the promotion play-offs with four matches to go.
Declan McManus gave them an early lead but although Michael Miller equalised, Ayr are still skirting with the relegation play-offs.
Pars boss Stevie Crawford said: “We now have three successive home games and they will be massive. We have to start winning games again and this gives us the best possible chance.
“The good thing is we haven’t lost ground on anyone so it’s a good away point. Ayr are fighting for their lives but our boys are giving it their lot and fighting for the cause.”
It was a hot baptism for home keeper JP Morrison who signed an emergency loan deal from Motherwell only 24 hours before kick-off after Viljami Sinisalo returned to Aston Villa. The highlyrated Finnish teenager has cut short his loan to receive treatment for a groin strain.
JP didn’t have long to wait for some action when he punched away a Fraser Murray free-kick after only five minutes.
The Pars pounced to take the lead with 12 minutes gone when McManus headed home a great ball from on-loan Celt Ewan Henderson.
Luke McCowan curled over a free-kick from just outside the box as Ayr tried for a quick reply.
Ayr had been struggling for goals at home with only one in their six games at Somerset but they found the net in 24 minutes to haul themselves level.
Mark McKenzie broke down the left flank and his ball inside was slid home by the inrushing Miller.
The Pars pushed hard before the break with no success. Lewis Mayo fired high over while a tempting cross from Kevin O’Hara was cut out by the diving Morrison.
McManus twice went close early in the second-half, firing narrowly past and then sending in a low shot which forced Morrison to get down well.
Ayr boss David Hopkin said: “We went back to basics a bit today and going with a back three helped us. On another day we might have got all three points but the boys are giving me everything.
“Next week’s game at Arbroath will be massive but they all are at this stage of the season.
“It was important we got something from the game, I’m just disappointed it’s not three points.”