Mar 23 2012 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THREE points snatched from our grasp in the 93rd minute.
That was Brian Reid's verdict after 10 man Raith equalised with the last kick of the ball.
The late sickener denied Ayr the chance to leapfrog Morton and really pump up the heat in relegation alley.
Ayr fell behind to a Brian Graham goal but after the scorer was sent off in 38 minutes, they hit back through Mark Roberts (penalty) and Eddie Malone.
That looked like being enough for victory until sub Damian Casalinuovo equalised at the death.
Boss Reid moaned: "It's two points lost. We got a point but it should have been three and we are very disappointed not to have got them in front of our support who were magnificent.
"Against 10 men we needed to control the game a wee bit better than we did but too often we took the wrong decision.
"Sometimes draws can hurt you more than anything else but we had picked up three wins out of four before this.
"Three points would have put us ahead of Morton so it's a missed opportunity.”
Ross Robertson replaced the suspended Andy Geggan while John Robertson made his long awaited return in centraldefence which allowed Adam Dodd to be pushed forward.
Kevin Cuthbert saved from Graham early on but was beaten in 13 minutes by the same player. Iain Davidson knocked the ball across the face of the box after a corner and Graham prodded home from four yards.
Chris Smith had a goal chalked off before the game exploded in 38 minutes. Malone threw the ball at Graham after the striker reacted to a foul by Smith.
Graham then lunged his head at Malone and was shown a straight red by ref CrawfordAllan. David McGurn, so often a formidable barrier against Ayr in the past, then put up the shutters and brilliantly tipped over a header from Smith.
Ayr were level in 64 minutes when Liam Tomsett was fouled by Jason Thomson. A stonewall penalty which Roberts stuck away with his usual absence of fuss.
That should have been the catalyst for Ayr to sweep to victory but they looked flat and it took a good save from Cuthbert to keep out a header from the now lone striker John Baird.
However, Ayr did take the lead in 79 minutes when Dougie Hill handled at the edge of the box and Malone stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall and in.
Raith threw on three subs in a salvage operation and it paid off deep in stoppage time. McGurn's long kick was nodded down by Grant Murray for Casalinuovo to blast home from 15 yards.
Raith boss John McGlynn claimed: "It's Damian's first goal since coming back and it could be invaluable to us. Fresh legs and new impetus worked for us.
"Going down to 10 meant we would be under pressure but we handled it very well."
RAITH: McGurn, Thomson, Dyer, Ellis, Hill (Casalinuovo 84), Murray, A. Walker, Davidson, Baird (J. Walker 80), Graham, Hamill (Clarke 80). Unused subs: Laidlaw, Williamson. Booked: Thomson, Baird. Sent off: Graham.
AYR: Cuthbert; Tiffoney, J. Robertson, Smith, Malone; McGowan, R. Robertson, Tomsett, Dodd (Moffat 57); Parker (Wardlaw 80), Roberts. Unused subs: McWilliams, McKernon, Campbell. Booked: Tiffoney, Malone, McGowan.
Referee: Crawford Allan; Crowd: 1861.