Somerset brings out the best in Pars

Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic – Match by numbers

Somerset Park is the venue as the Championships two recently promoted sides go head-to-head for the third time this season. The two previous meetings ended in draws and with both teams battling near the bottom, a win today could prove vital.

5- The Ayrshire ground tends to be a good venue for Dunfermline. The Pars have won on five of their last six visits and are unbeaten in their last 10. In fact, facing Ayr in general seems to bring out the best in the Fife side with the Honest Men taking the spoils just once in the last six years. Since Febuary 2010, the teams have played 18 times with Dunfermline winning 13 (D3 L1). Ayr, the Championships joint lowest scorers, only managed 15 goals to the Pars 35 in those 18 games with Dunfermline keeping seven clean sheets. The Ayrshire side last came out on top on September 12 2015 after goals from Alan Forrest and Jordan Preston at East End Park saw the Honest Men leapfrog Dunfermline into second place in League One.

6- Both sides will be desperate to avoid one unwanted record. Since 2012, no team promoted to the Championship has been relegated in their first season. Cowdenbeath, Dumbarton, Queen of the South, Alloa Athletic, Rangers and Greenock Morton have all been promoted from League One in the last four seasons and all six spent at least two seasons in the second tier. Ayr themselves were the last team promoted from the third tier to be relegated straight back down in 2011-12.

11- This season’s meetings have seen one player in particular thrust into the spotlight. Ayr keeper Greg Fleming. Possibly the standout performer at Somerset Park this season, the 30 year old has routinely been the difference between three points and none with his excellent shot-stopping and reactions topped off by two penalty saves in two minutes from Kallum Higginbotham in the 1-1 draw at East End Park. Since joining the Honest Men in July 2015, his penalty saving record has been simply phenomenal. The keeper has faced 13 penalties in Black and White (including four in the 3-1 shootout win over Stranrear) with just two hitting the back of the net.

35- After a goalless draw at Somerset Park in October, the sides played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at East End Park where Nicky Clark put Dunfermline ahead before Alan Forrest equalised from the spot. That means the Honest Men have the chance to go a full season unbeaten against Dunfermline and, when the sides have been in the same league, that hasn’t happened since 1981/82, 35 years ago. Ayr played Dunfermline three times that season, twice at East End Park and once in Ayrshire, all in the league. All three meetings ended in draws, 1-1 at Somerset in October 1981 before a 0-0 draw in February and a 2-2 draw in April 1982 in Fife.

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