Falkirk 1 v 1 Ayr United
On a chilly afternoon in Falkirk, Ayr carved out a well-earned draw against the much fancied ‘Bairns’. Gary Harkins opened the scoring before Peter Grant levelled right on half time in a first half which also saw Fleming save yet another penalty – this time from John Baird.
It was the home side who had the first chance of the game after only 3 mins. McHugh received the ball in the box and turned it across to Hippolyte on the left who fired over from close range.
On 8 mins, Falkirk had yet another chance to try and break the deadlock. After Crawford gave the ball away, Baird was given the chance to have an effort on goal but his strike was palmed away by Fleming. From a Sibbald cutback McHugh then had a shot blocked by McKenna.
Ayr’s first chance of the game came after 11 mins when a Gilmour freekick was met by Harkins at the back post but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Rogers.
Harkins wasn’t to waste his next chance and put Ayr ahead on 23 mins. A high ball from Gilmour was knocked by Nisbet into the path of Harkins who, despite Rogers’ best efforts, rounded the Falkirk keeper to fire into the top corner. 1-0 Ayr.
On 34 mins, the home side had a great chance to level. Kerr flicked the ball to Baird who turned and shot straight down the throat of Fleming from just 10 yards out.
McHugh was next to try his luck and after 39 mins his half volley from the edge of the area went inches wide of the left-hand post.
42 mins gone and Falkirk continued to pile on the pressure. This time Taiwo cut the ball across to Baird in the box and but could only scoop the ball over the bar from close range. From a corner on 43 mins, Baird then saw his header from point blank range saved acrobatically by Fleming then cleared by Docherty.
Falkirk were given a great chance to equalise on 46 mins when McKenna hauled down McHugh for a penalty to the home side. Baird stepped up but saw his powerful strike superbly turned around the post by Fleming.
Unfortunately for Ayr, from the resultant corner Grant levelled. The corner was whipped in and from close range the unmarked defender powered home a header giving Fleming no chance. 1-1 on 47 mins.
In the second half Falkirk continued to put on the pressure. On 50 mins, Baird had another chance inside the box but he was thwarted by Crawford whose last-ditch tackle prevented the Bairns striker from having an effort on goal.
With 61 mins gone, Hippolyte was set through on the left by Sibbald but again fired over the bar. 3 mins later Hippolyte turned provider with his cross headed just wide by Baird.
On 71 mins Ayr came close to going in front. A through ball from Docherty was met by Nisbet whose attempt was palmed away by Rogers. Nisbet then received the ball on the edge of the box and curled a shot just wide of the right-hand post.
Craigen was next to try his luck for the home side, driving into the Ayr half before firing a shot straight at Fleming from 20 yards out.
Ayr’s last chance of the game came on 88 mins when substitute Michael Rose met a corner and headed the ball just wide of the right-hand post.
Falkirk twice almost produced a sucker punch. On 89 mins Miller saw his shot cleared from the box then, as the ball was returned, had a close range header strike the bar.
Ayr now take a break from league action as they face Queens Park at Somerset in the 4th round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday.
Rogers, Muirhead, McCracken, Taiwo, Kerr, Baird, Sibbald, Hippolyte, Grant, McHugh, Gallacher. Substitutes Thomson (GK), Kidd, Leahy, Gasparotto, Miller, Shepherd, Craigen.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Crawford, Harkins, Cairney, Nisbet, Balatoni, Docherty, McKenna. Substitute Hart (GK), Rose, Murphy, Forrest, Donald, Wardrope.
Referee: Bobby Madden
Match Report: AUmedia