Gary Bowyer's bold claim as Dundee reignite Championship title hopes but 'unacceptable' Ayr now have it all to do

Dundee's Alex Jakubiak celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 against Ayr United at Dens Park.Dundee's Alex Jakubiak celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 against Ayr United at Dens Park.
Dundee's Alex Jakubiak celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 against Ayr United at Dens Park.
A commanding second-half performance from Dundee reignited their cinch Championship title push and secured a much-needed 3-1 victory over fellow contenders Ayr United in front of the relieved home supporters at Dens Park.

Both teams went into the game still believing they could win the league and while the match burst into life in the first instance, some caginess set in as the players began to process the consequences of failure.

A draw was benefitting only one team – Queen’s Park. Their lead has now been cut to four points. Owen Coyle’s side have the chance to restore the seven-point gap between them and Dundee in their home game on Friday night against Arbroath. But they do have four away matches to negotiate in April.

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Dundee manager Gary Bowyer has managed to reduce the heat building around him after a poor run of form since a 3-0 win over Queen’s Park in January. This was only the Dens Park outfit’s third win in eight league outings since then. Bowyer even heard his name being sung again during the second half by fans after some booing was heard at half-time.

Ayr United manager Lee Bullen branded his side’s second half performance as “unacceptable” after they conceded two goals from Alex Jakubiak and Luke McCowan to undo all their good work of the opening 45 minutes. Bowyer claimed it was “one of Dundee’s best performances of the season”, although they did not really get going until after half time.

Dundee were pegged back almost straight away after they took an early lead through skipper Ryan Sweeney’s header from McCowan’s in-swinging corner. Sweeney cancelled out such this positive impact five minutes later when he was outmuscled in a race for the ball with Dipo Akinyemi. The Ayr striker scored for the third time against Dundee this season.

But the return of Alex Jakubiak to the starting XI produced quick results. He gave Dundee the lead again just before the hour mark following outstanding hold-up play from fellow striker Zach Robinson.

Jakubiak did blaze over after working a chance to seal Dundee’s victory following a solo run as the Ayr defence parted leaving a huge gap in the middle.

It was left to McCowan to secure the points with nine minutes left although his shot did seem to take a nick off Ayr defender Alex Kirk.