Scottish Championship
Ayr1Falkirk4

Ayr United 1-4 Falkirk

Falkirk's Nathan Austin
Falkirk's Nathan Austin scored twice

Falkirk closed the gap on Championship leaders Hibs to six points thanks to a brace from Nathan Austin against Ayr.

The Bairns took the lead when Austin netted following great work in the build-up by Luke Leahy and John Baird.

Fraser Aird went close moments later but they had to wait until Austin forced home his second.

Ayr reduced the deficit through Gary Harkins' close-range effort, but Falkirk added two late goals through Craig Sibbald and Aird.

It means Falkirk extend their unbeaten run to seven games.

Kick-off was delayed for five minutes to allow the large visiting support in the 1,614 crowd into Somerset Park and while it started brightly for Falkirk, the first half did not really live up to the pre-match expectations.

Almost from their first real attack though, the visitors took the lead when John Baird's pass sent Austin in on goal and after his first effort was saved by Greg Fleming, he followed up to bundle the opener into the net from four yards for his third goal of the season.

Austin's unorthodox style was causing problems for Ayr, but the youngster took the wrong option when he chose to shoot rather than set up Aird. Aird shared his frustration with the bench, before passing on further 'advice' with the youngster.

Ayr's best moment of the half had been a cross-cum-shot from Craig Moore which had flashed across the six-yard box with Harkins just missing out on a vital touch.

The second half did improve, but mostly for the visitors, with Austin extending the lead for Falkirk when Aird's corner was not cleared and the youngster drove his fourth goal of the season past Fleming.

Harkins gave the home side some hope, scoring a minute later, after substitute Alan Forrest's shot was saved by goalkeeper Danny Rodgers, but Falkirk sealed the points with late goals on the break from Sibbald and Aird.

Post-match reaction

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "That was very frustrating. We got caught twice at the end to put a different look to the game. The scoreline was incredibly false.

"We were better for a lot of the second half, but we have got to win games and while Dumbarton and Raith are not out of it for sure along with us and St Mirren, every game is vital now."

Falkirk manager Peter Houston: "I've said from day one that we should be a team that is in the play-offs and that is where we are at the moment. If I am honest, I would have to say that Hibs are in the driving seat as they are six points in front with a game in hand, but we are right there.

"We now go into two very tough games against Morton and Hibs, I would love to finish at least second if we are not going to win the title as that means less play-off matches and after what happened to us last season that is hugely important.

"Putting runs together is very important at this stage of the season and that is six points from two away games and very pleasing."

Line-ups

Ayr

  • 1Fleming
  • 2Devlin
  • 22Balatoni
  • 18Meggatt
  • 3Boyle
  • 21McGuffieSubstituted forMcDaidat 67'minutes
  • 4GilmourSubstituted forRoseat 45'minutes
  • 8Crawford
  • 12Harkins
  • 9MooreSubstituted forForrestat 48'minutes
  • 15El AlaguiBooked at 44mins

Substitutes

  • 5Rose
  • 6Murphy
  • 10Forrest
  • 11McDaid
  • 17McKenzie
  • 19Hart
  • 20Wardrope

Falkirk

  • 1Rogers
  • 2Kidd
  • 15Gasparotto
  • 14Grant
  • 3Leahy
  • 33Aird
  • 7TaiwoBooked at 40mins
  • 8Kerr
  • 10Sibbald
  • 9BairdSubstituted forMillerat 72'minutes
  • 16AustinBooked at 79minsSubstituted forMcHughat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Muirhead
  • 11Hippolyte
  • 18Miller
  • 19McHugh
  • 21Shepherd
  • 23Gallacher
  • 24Thomson
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
1,614

Match Stats

Home TeamAyrAway TeamFalkirk
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home3
Away11
Shots on Target
Home1
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Ayr United 1, Falkirk 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ayr United 1, Falkirk 4.

Goal!

Goal! Ayr United 1, Falkirk 4. Fraser Aird (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Ayr United 1, Falkirk 3. Craig Sibbald (Falkirk) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mark Kerr.

Lee Miller (Falkirk) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

Foul by Peter Grant (Falkirk).

Alan Forrest (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Luca Gasparotto (Falkirk).

Farid El Alagui (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Robert McHugh replaces Nathan Austin.

Attempt missed. Alan Forrest (Ayr United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Booking

Nathan Austin (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Nathan Austin (Falkirk).

Daryll Meggatt (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Luke Leahy (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Daryll Meggatt (Ayr United).

Corner, Ayr United. Conceded by Luca Gasparotto.

Foul by Peter Grant (Falkirk).

Farid El Alagui (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Lee Miller replaces John Baird.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Daryll Meggatt.

Foul by Nicky Devlin (Ayr United).

Craig Sibbald (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Fraser Aird (Falkirk).

Declan McDaid (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Ayr United. Declan McDaid replaces Craig McGuffie.

Foul by Mark Kerr (Falkirk).

Farid El Alagui (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Ayr United 1, Falkirk 2. Gary Harkins (Ayr United) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Ayr United 0, Falkirk 2. Nathan Austin (Falkirk) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Greg Fleming.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Greg Fleming.

Attempt blocked. John Baird (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Peter Grant (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Farid El Alagui (Ayr United).

Attempt missed. John Baird (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Nicky Devlin.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Conrad Balatoni.

Luca Gasparotto (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Alan Forrest (Ayr United).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian27159342172554
2Falkirk28139648311748
3Morton26129538271145
4Dundee Utd2612863526944
5Queen of Sth2898113639-335
6Dunfermline2771193637-132
7Dumbarton2879123745-830
8Raith Rovers2878132639-1329
9Ayr27510122544-1925
10St Mirren2749142644-1821
View full Scottish Championship table

Top Stories