Scottish Championship
Ayr0Falkirk1

Ayr United 0-1 Falkirk

Falkirk's James Craigen
James Craigen scored the only goal of the game for Falkirk

Falkirk ended a run of four games without a win with a deserved victory at Ayr United.

A first-half strike from James Craigen was the difference, finishing off a free-flowing Falkirk attack.

Falkirk hit the woodwork twice in the second-half as they searched in vain for a second goal.

Ayr United played well in patches, but lacked a cutting edge, with Falkirk closing the gap on the three teams directly above them.

A hail storm created horrendous conditions for the players and fans in the early stages, but the Falkirk players soon gave their large travelling support a goal to cheer.

John Baird back-heeled into the path of James Craigen who fired a pass out wide to Aaron Muirhead. The right-back galloped up the flank before delivering a low cross right to the penalty spot, and Craigan was there to fire home first time into the bottom corner to give Falkirk the lead.

With the experienced midfield duo of Mark Kerr and John Rankin controlling the centre of the pitch Falkirk created another chance. This time the shot from Craig Sibbald was comfortably held by Ayr keeper Greg Fleming.

Ayr United had plenty of the ball but struggled to create clear-cut chances. A couple of crosses from their full-backs Nicky Devlin and Paddy Boyle flashed across goal but there were no takers.

In the second-half Falkirk twice hit the post. The first was a looping shot from John Baird, the second was a poked shot from Craigen.

There were shouts for an Ayr United penalty when David McCracken appeared to tug the jersey of Ayr sub Andy O'Connell but the referee waved away the protests.

A late cross from Devlin found Gary Harkins in the box but he failed to get a shot on target as Falkirk held out for all three points.

Manager reaction

Falkirk manager Peter Houston: "I think we started the game well, we created more chances than Ayr United. We hit the inside of the post twice in the second-half.

"The last 10 minutes were always going to be hairy, Ayr throwing everything at us. But to be honest I don't remember Danny Rogers making many saves.

"I'm not saying we can win the league, I'm not saying we can't win the league either. But if we're in the play-offs the other teams there won't like facing us."

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "I'm not sure we did enough to win but I certainly don't think we deserved to lose.

"In the second-half we penned Falkirk in for long periods. We played well ourselves and got down the sides.

"The linesman has told me he's seen it (the penalty shout), the player almost pulled off his jersey. I thought the directive at the start of the season was to clamp down on that. The referee felt that both players were pulling. To everyone in the stadium it looked like a clear penalty and we didn't get it, but that happens."

Line-ups

Ayr

  • 1Fleming
  • 2Devlin
  • 22Balatoni
  • 26McKenna
  • 3BoyleBooked at 90mins
  • 10ForrestSubstituted forO'Connellat 56'minutes
  • 8CrawfordSubstituted forRoseat 84'minutes
  • 14Cairney
  • 21McGuffie
  • 12HarkinsBooked at 68mins
  • 17Nisbet

Substitutes

  • 5Rose
  • 6Murphy
  • 11Donald
  • 15O'Connell
  • 18Meggatt
  • 19Hart
  • 20Wardrope

Falkirk

  • 1Rogers
  • 4Muirhead
  • 5McCracken
  • 15Gasparotto
  • 3Leahy
  • 28Craigen
  • 6Rankin
  • 8Kerr
  • 10SibbaldSubstituted forHippolyteat 70'minutes
  • 9BairdSubstituted forMcHughat 90+2'minutes
  • 18MillerBooked at 89minsSubstituted forAustinat 90+4'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Kidd
  • 11Hippolyte
  • 14Grant
  • 16Austin
  • 19McHugh
  • 44Watson
  • 58Mehmet
Referee:
Gavin Duncan
Attendance:
1,414

Match Stats

Home TeamAyrAway TeamFalkirk
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home11
Away11
Shots on Target
Home1
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Ayr United 0, Falkirk 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ayr United 0, Falkirk 1.

Booking

Patrick Boyle (Ayr United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Patrick Boyle (Ayr United).

Myles Hippolyte (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Nathan Austin replaces Lee Miller.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Robert McHugh replaces John Baird.

Booking

Lee Miller (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Patrick Boyle.

Attempt blocked. Paul Cairney (Ayr United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Kevin Nisbet (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Luca Gasparotto (Falkirk).

Attempt saved. Andy O'Connell (Ayr United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Michael Rose.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Paul Cairney.

Substitution

Substitution, Ayr United. Michael Rose replaces Robbie Crawford.

Foul by Kevin Nisbet (Ayr United).

Luca Gasparotto (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Lee Miller (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Ayr United. Conceded by Danny Rogers.

Attempt missed. Robbie Crawford (Ayr United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Foul by Kevin Nisbet (Ayr United).

Luke Leahy (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Andy O'Connell (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David McCracken (Falkirk).

Attempt missed. Myles Hippolyte (Falkirk) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Scott McKenna (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James Craigen (Falkirk).

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Patrick Boyle.

James Craigen (Falkirk) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.

Attempt missed. Myles Hippolyte (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Kevin Nisbet (Ayr United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Myles Hippolyte replaces Craig Sibbald.

Scott McKenna (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Baird (Falkirk).

Booking

Gary Harkins (Ayr United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Gary Harkins (Ayr United).

James Craigen (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Paul Cairney (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Craigen (Falkirk).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian149412671931
2Dundee Utd1484223121128
3Morton146532115623
4Raith Rovers136431813522
5Falkirk146441815322
6Queen of Sth135351519-418
7Ayr134271120-914
8Dunfermline143381624-812
9Dumbarton142571220-811
10St Mirren130491025-154
View full Scottish Championship table

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