It may not have been a case of lightning striking twice but there was an element of déja vu at East End Park sparked by events which occurred towards the end of 10-man Dunfermline’s 1-1 draw with Ayr – a result which sees the Pars drift perilously close to the Championship relegation zone.
Three months ago the Fifers missed three penalty kicks in less than half an hour during a league game at home to Dundee United.
On Saturday they missed two in the space of two minutes.
Midfielder Kallum Higginbotham left the field distraught after seeing Ayr United goalkeeper Greg Fleming save his 84th and 85th minute spot-kick efforts to deny Dunfermline a much-needed victory.
“Kallum always wears his heart on his sleeve” said Pars’ on-loan Celtic winger Paul McMullan afterwards. “He’s sitting in the dressing room gutted… He’s never missed a penalty in his entire professional career, and now he’s missed two in two minutes.
“I thought he played really well today, and I thought the team did well to even get into that position after having a man sent off early in the second half.
“I had a couple of chances myself to score but didn’t manage to hit the target.
“It was tough being down to 10 men, but the boys dug in really well.”
The home side looked lively early on as Higginbotham tested Fleming with a powerful shot in the 10th minute and they took a deserved lead on the half hour when striker Nicky Clark made perfect contact with Lewis Martin’s sublime low cross.
The Honest Men were given a lifeline shortly after the interval through a controversial penalty.
Martin’s aerial challenge on Scott McKenna saw referee Barry Cook point to the spot and issue a yellow card.
Having been booked earlier, Martin was dismissed from the field.
Alan Forrest drove home the penalty to set up a dramatic second half.
McMullan was tripped in the box by McKenna with six minutes remaining.
Fleming parried the penalty taken by Higginbotham, who was then fouled by Paddy Boyle as he chased the loose ball.
The midfielder looked to make amends by electing to take the second award, but once again he was denied by the impressive Fleming.
“The game swung on the referee’s decisions,” said Pars manager Allan Johnston.
“Apart from him, I don’t think anyone in the stadium saw the foul which led to their penalty.
“We ended up a man down for most of the second half and were under real pressure at times, but I have to give credit to the players for the way they responded.
“I thought we were the better team even when we were down to 10 men.”