Oct 19 2009 By Martin Braidwood
LETHAL Liam Buchanan hit the goal that killed off Ayr - then blasted the ref who has left him walking a suspension tightrope.
The little striker is bang on form and scored his ninth of the season to hand Jags a 2-0 half-time lead that effectively buried United.
But it didn't all go Buchanan's way as whistler Stevie O'Reilly booked him for diving after he had gone down in the box after a tussle with Neil McGowan. Buchanan said: "I'm disappointed with the booking but the referee made his decision. I felt it was a penalty and don't know why he thought I'd have gone down in that position.
"I got a red card at Raith Rovers and didn't think that was justified either. Now here I am one booking away from a suspension.
"If the ref thinks it's a dive then he's got to give a yellow card but it wasn't a dive."
Jags gaffer Ian McCall said his side had played some "sparkling" football in the first half. It's hard to argue with that as some of their short, sharp passing was superb and their overall movement left the Honest Men chasing shadows.
But the visitors did themselves no favours in gifting Thistle a goal after just seven minutes.
McGowan inexplicably tried to chest the ball back to keeper Craig Samson from outside the box.
He made a hash of it and Mark Corcoran duly slammed home via the underside of the bar.
After 20 minutes Buchanan was in the book for diving. There looked to be contact and the striker was probably correct in feeling hard done by.
David Rowson then took the award for effort of the match with a sidewinder of a volley from 35 yards that crashed off the bar.
By now Thistle were cruising.
They harried and pressed every spell of Ayr possession with Rowson particularly effective.
It was no surprise when goal No.2 arrived. Bryan Hodge's chip found the luckless McGowan faced with a two-on-one situation against Buchanan and Paul Cairney. Buchanan reacted first and rifled home from 10 yards.
Ayr improved after the break but Simon Donnelly would have put the game beyond doubt on the hour if he hadn't been denied by an astonishing reflex Samson stop.
The Honest Men's best chance came from a Dean Keenan shot that Jonny Tuffey saved.
Jags gaffer McCall said: "It was a good win. My only criticism was that we had a couple of good chances to put the game to bed and didn't take them. But we don't look like conceding at the moment which is very pleasing to see."
Ayr boss Brian Reid said: "It's Groundhog Day. I keep saying the same things.We gave them a goal of a start and then we gave them another one. I'm disappointed for the fans who paid to watch that."