Paul Cairney’s second-half strike gave in-form Ayr the points and sent stuttering Queens down to third in the table. United, on an impressive run of just one defeat in eight games, were quickly on the back foot as the visitors set out to erase the memory of their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Morton.
Stephen Dobbie was frequently at the heart of the action and went close with an angled effort that drifted just wide. Mark Millar then drew a save from Greg Fleming with a 14-yard shot before the keeper pulled off an even better stop to keep out Dobbie’s netbound drive.
Ayr found themselves consistently pegged back and another Dobbie shot flew wide as the pressure intensified. The pattern had a familiar look on the restart, Fleming producing a smart save from Andy Dowie’s header. But Ayr suddenly sprung to life and Ross Docherty and Kevin Nisbet both went close.
The hosts went ahead when Cairney took a pass from Gary Harkins and unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box that eluded Lee Robinson in the visiting goal.
Jake Pickard sent a close-range attempt agonisingly wide for Queens, while Kyle Jacobs and Lyndon Dykes were also off target. Keeper Robinson even darted upfield in the dying seconds but it was to no avail for Queens.