A pathetic display that highlighted the severe lack of quality in the squad and confirmed the utter cluelessness of our manager. Against part-time opponents who had 1 win in the past 18 meetings of the clubs, who had won 1 game since October (and that was against a team with no registered goalkeeper, and who played a midfielder in goals), and who were missing at least 5 starters from their team due to injury, Johnston's team produced a performance to shame the club. Fans were leaving with 15 minutes still remaining, and the team were even spared much in the way of booing at the end, almost as though the fans had had enough and realised it would have been pointless.
Although stating that he had a full squad to choose from, Johnston brought in Ryan Williamson and Joe Cardle, with Andy Geggan and Paul McMullan out of the squad, injuries being the reason we can assume. For Williamson it was his first appearance since December, and having played only 60 minutes for the Under 20s since recovering from injury, he did very well to complete the game, and offered an attacking threat down the right wing. The least said about Cardle, the better. He is a pony who has lost his one trick. Cutting inside, losing possession, slicing shots wide, and drifting round the park aimlessly.
After Moffat's early header from a Williamson cross somehow failed to find the net, the first half settled down into a complete shitfest. Early in the second half, Ayr keeper Fleming tipped over a Moffat shot. The Moff was playing well, but was subbed by the manager along with a hopelessly out of form Kallum Higginbotham. Paton replace Higginbotham, and Moffat was replaced by David Hopkirk, which was a terrible decision. At that point, I lost any slither of faith I had left in Johnston. Naturally, the formation remained 4-4-2. Later in the game, Gavin Reilly came on, with Cardle going off, and Hopkirk moving to the wing.
Ayr scored a scrappy goal and had breakaways that they failed to take advantage of. Dunfermline had most of the ball but had no clue what to do with it.
The club's official site will give you a detailed account of the intricacies of the game.
As a Pars fan for 26 years, and having been at every first team game this season, it pains me to write this match opinion. We all want our team to succeed, but the basics have to be there, and there are many issues that have to be addressed if the club is to move forward on the field.
Starting line-up, with marks out of 10:
A full match photo gallery will be posted tomorrow.
All photos in this article by Pars Review.