Stephen Simmons admits his last-minute goal at Stark’s Park might be a key moment in Raith Rovers’ campaign for first division survival.
“We showed great character to hang in and get that goal and, you never know — it could be vital,” said the midfielder, who headed in an Allan Walker free-kick in 90 minutes to claw back a crucial point against Ayr United.
“We were just pressing and pressing in the last couple of minutes and trying to get a wee break, and thankfully we did.”
Simmons praised the efforts of David McGurn, whose heroics in goal saw the Honest Men find the net just once despite numerous chances.
During the second half, the keeper pulled off an impressive triple save when Steve Bowey, followed by Kenny Connolly and Bowey again bombarded the home goal.
“If Ayr had scored all their chances, the game would have been finished,” said Simmons.
But the midfielder added jokingly, “But that’s what he’s there for.”
The result means Raith and Ayr remain separated by three points at the foot of the table, ahead of Morton and Airdrie United.
Rovers boss John McGlynn had hoped a victory would safeguard the team from promotion/relegation play-offs, but was pleased with his side’s display of character in fighting to the death.
“They never gave up,” he said.
“It speaks volumes about the players. They’ve played a lot of games and it is becoming a factor, but they’ve shown character.
“A bit of nerves kicked in and it was a bit untidy but I’m very happy with the team’s spirit.”
While it was a relatively good day at the office for the Kirkcaldy men, Ayr manager Brian Reid was fuming as he boarded the coach home.
“He believes we got out of jail and I said that happens,” added McGlynn.
“It’s happened to us.
“We had two games with Dunfermline where we deserved to get something out of it and we didn’t.
“It’s swings and roundabouts.”Free-kickAyr opened the scoring in 14 minutes after Iain Williamson fouled Mark Roberts. Chris Mitchell curled a right-footed free-kick and over the wall and into the bottom left corner from 25 yards. It was the on-loan defender’s first goal of the season.
Ayr were first to take the initiative as the second half got under way with Connolly attempting a cheeky chip from eight yards, but McGurn saved.
A Walker corner saw skipper Iain Davidson shoot into the top right but Danny Lafferty headed it off the line.
In the final 10 minutes, Thierry Gathuessi blasted a 25-yard shot way over the bar and Simmons aimed a right-footed volley straight at Craig Samson.
Tade then headed from close range but Samson managed to tap it round the post.
Reid said, “It should have been done and buried at two or three nothing. We had a couple of sitters.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed. It should have been three points and I let the players know that.”