A DOUBLE from Greg Stewart kept Cowdenbeath's survival hopes alive and left Ayr United with a battle to reach the play-off final.

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The visitors dominated the opening exchanges of this match and deservedly opened up a two-goal advantage. Gordon Pope's late strike, though, has at least given Ayr some hope going into the return leg at Central Park on Saturday.

The visitors dominated possession early on without creating many chances while the home side carved out a number of good opportunities which they were not able to take.

Then, some good play from Cowdenbeath ended with Lewis Milne playing the ball across the face goal for Greg Stewart to fire into the back of the net.

Alan Lithgow then failed to control a long ball which allowed Kane Hemmings a shot on goal but he hit it straight at the keeper.

Cowdenbeath continued to pressure Ayr and before the break Stewart doubled his side's lead when he received the ball outside the box and curled a fantastic effort into the top corner.

Pope had the home fans out their seats with a 30-yard drive but it flew just wide of the top corner.

The home side pulled a goal back 10 minutes from full-time when a corner fell to Pope who took a touch before stroking the ball into the far corner. They came close to drawing level, but an equaliser evaded them.