Scottish Championship
Falkirk1Ayr1

Falkirk 1-1 Ayr United

Ayr celebrate Gary Harkins' (left) goal
Ayr took an unexpected lead through Gary Harkins (left)

Falkirk were left frustrated as Ayr held on a for a draw to remain seven points clear of bottom side St Mirren in the Championship.

The hosts dominated early on but Ayr went in front when Gary Harkins evaded Falkirk keeper Danny Rogers to smash home from a tight angle.

Myles Hippolyte went close and John Baird missed a penalty before Peter Grant's powerful header levelled it.

Falkirk pressed hard for a winner but Tony Gallacher's header hit the bar.

They remain six points clear in fourth place, but are now three points behind Morton in third.

Falkirk had two early chances to take the lead, Hippolyte blasting over from six yards after good build-up play involving Mark Kerr and Bob McHugh, before Baird's left-foot strike was parried by Greg Fleming and Tom Taiwo's follow-up effort was blocked.

Harkins had a half-chance at the back post for the visitors from a Brian Gilmour free-kick from the right, but his effort from a tight angle was well saved by Danny Rogers.

But after 24 minutes Harkins found a way past the Bairns keeper to give the Honest Men the breakthrough.

Kevin Nisbet's head-flick caused hesitation in the home defence and Harkins pounced to round Rogers and blast home from the angle of the six-yard box.

Baird and McHugh both went close for Falkirk before an equaliser eventually arrived in dramatic circumstances in first-half stoppage time.

Falkirk celebrate their equaliser via Peter Grant (right)
Peter Grant's equaliser was his first goal of the season

Falkirk were awarded a penalty after Scott McKenna bundled McHugh to the ground, but Baird's spot-kick was superbly saved by Greg Fleming, who turned it round his right-hand post.

But from the resultant corner kick, Kerr's delivery found Grant, who rose highest to send a powerful header into the net.

Nisbet twice came close to nudging Ayr back in front after the interval. He was thwarted by Rogers after a powerful run and shot before curling an effort inches wide of the target.

Bairns boss Peter Houston changed his main strikers, bringing on Lee Miller and Scott Shepherd for McHugh and Baird as he searched for a winner.

A late flurry almost produced it as Kerr had a shot cleared off the line before fellow full-back Gallacher watched his header come back off the crossbar.

What the managers said

Falkirk boss Peter Houston: "The frustrating thing for me is we are giving cheap goals away. We should win the first header and then Gary Harkins runs off of Peter Grant and that can't happen. It was the same last week we tippy-tappied about our box and we had to come from behind then.

"We keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We get back into it before half time and then probably upped the tempo and dominated the second half, although Ayr are always dangerous on the counter attack. But it just wouldn't go in for us today. Fleming made a few good saves but that's a game we should be looking to win at home."

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "Falkirk have aspirations to finish in the top two or three, but I think we fully merited the draw.

"We're a bit disappointed with the goal we conceded. It was a penalty and the goalie made a great save from the penalty but then we switch off. To save a penalty and lose a goal like that we're gutted!

"I think the draw was probably fair and it was a good point for us."

Line-ups

Falkirk

  • 1Rogers
  • 4MuirheadBooked at 80mins
  • 5McCracken
  • 14Grant
  • 23Gallacher
  • 7TaiwoSubstituted forCraigenat 57'minutes
  • 8Kerr
  • 10Sibbald
  • 11Hippolyte
  • 9BairdSubstituted forShepherdat 70'minutes
  • 19McHughSubstituted forMillerat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Kidd
  • 3Leahy
  • 15Gasparotto
  • 18Miller
  • 21Shepherd
  • 24Thomson
  • 28Craigen

Ayr

  • 1Fleming
  • 2Devlin
  • 22Balatoni
  • 26McKenna
  • 3Boyle
  • 4GilmourSubstituted forRoseat 74'minutes
  • 8Crawford
  • 23Docherty
  • 14Cairney
  • 12Harkins
  • 17NisbetSubstituted forForrestat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Rose
  • 6Murphy
  • 10Forrest
  • 11Donald
  • 19Hart
  • 20Wardrope
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
5,038

Match Stats

Home TeamFalkirkAway TeamAyr
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home17
Away10
Shots on Target
Home8
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home14
Away9

Live Text

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian21136236112545
2Dundee Utd21116430201039
3Morton209742920934
4Falkirk218763125631
5Dunfermline216782730-325
6Raith Rovers206772124-325
7Queen of Sth216782832-425
8Dumbarton2156102231-921
9Ayr214891931-1220
10St Mirren2127121938-1913
View full Scottish Championship table

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