Dunfermline’s penalty curse resurfaced as Kallum Higginbotham contrived to miss two spot-kicks in the space of 60 seconds in a breathless 1-1 draw against Ayr United.
Nicky Clark gave the hosts the lead on the half-hour mark, but the encounter truly ignited after the break when Lewis Martin was dismissed for conceding a spot-kick that was converted by Alan Forrest.
Referee Barry Cook afforded the Fifers a wonderful opportunity to reclaim the lead when he adjudged Scott McKenna to have fouled Paul McMullan, but Greg Fleming stooped to save Higginbotham’s effort.
Just seconds later Paddy Boyle scythed down the former Partick Thistle and Falkirk man, giving him the chance to make amends. However, Fleming made a sensational one-handed stop.
Having seen Cammy Bell produce a historic hat-trick of penalty saves at East End Park earlier this season, Pars boss Allan Johnston cut an understandably dumbfounded figure.
“Kallum was absolutely gutted in the dressing room,” says the Pars boss. “We tried three different penalty takers in that game against Dundee United. This time Kallum was happy to take the second one – and couldn’t have hit it any better. It was a fantastic save.”
Of a virtuoso showing from Fleming, Ayr boss Ian McCall said: “I think Fleming has only conceded two of 16 penalties, so he is really good in that situation and he’s made a couple of great saves.”