Raith Rovers 1 Ayr United 1

Last updated : 21 January 2006 By Footymad Previewer

Raith Rovers and Ayr United ground out an uninspiring 1-1 draw at Stark's Park, a result which was probably fair in what was an evenly-contested 90 minutes at the Kirkcaldy ground.

Following a cautious start from both sides, Raith were first to threaten when Neil Jablonski's header from a Brian Fairbairn corner was flicked goalwards by Scott Crabbe, but the veteran striker's effort was stopped by Ayr keeper Mark McGeown.

Ayr retaliated with a probing cross from Craig Conway on the right which was headed wide by Chris Robertson in the 12th minute.

Fairbairn was proving to be a constant threat to the Ayr defence with intelligent wing play on the right, and it was the Rovers wide man who set up the opener midway through the first half. He embarked on an exhilarating run past three Ayr defenders before driving in a powerful low cross which was finished off by Mark Crilly, who drove past McGeown to record his first ever goal for the Kirkcaldy club.

Ayr finished the first half strongly, with Jerome Vareille almost deceiving Ally Brown with a clever flick, but his effort slipped narrowly wide of goal.

The visitors increased the tempo in the early stages of the second half, and, after a long-range effort from Barry McLaughlin flew wide of Brown's right-hand post, they equalised on the hour when Gareth Wardlaw slipped a superb ball through to Vareille and the Frenchman beat Brown with a cleverly-placed shot.

The Honest Men sensed victory at this stage but were denied the three points when Kieran McAnespie's late effort was disallowed for offside.