Ayr United 1 v 4 Falkirk
The Honest Men suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat at home to Falkirk. Nathan Austin scored early for the away side before grabbing another in the second half to double his side’s lead. Ayr responded through Gary Harkins but Falkirk ran away with the match when they scored two further goals through Craig Sibbald and Fraser Aird in added time.
Falkirk went ahead through their first chance on 7 mins. Ayr failed to clear the ball after a goalmouth stramash and Leahy’s powerful cross deflected into the path of Austin who fired high into the net from a tight angle to put his side ahead.
11 mins gone and it was Falkirk on the attack again, this time Aird finding space on the right after beating Harkins and flashing a shot just wide of the left-hand post from inside the box.
Ayr’s first chance of the match came on 16 mins. Moore found space in the box and his powerful drive was almost tapped in at the back post by Harkins who was inches away from connecting with the ball.
On 31 mins Austin met a cross from Leahy on the left and his header, from close range, went harmlessly over the bar.
The last chances of the half fell to Ayr on 43 mins. Crawford managed to weave his way into the penalty area but he saw his effort blocked from close range. Boyle then had an effort which was blocked as the Falkirk defence stood strong.
It was Falkirk who started the stronger of the two sides in the second half and Austin was again causing Ayr problems. On 55 mins, the striker had a shot on goal which was deflected away by Devlin just as it looked certain to end up in the back of the net.
It wasn’t to be long before Austin finally doubled his side’s lead. With 62 mins gone, Ayr again failed to clear the ball from the box and Austin was there to pounce, then blast the ball into the net, giving Fleming no chance
That second goal seemed to wake Ayr up and in the blink of an eye they halved the deficit through Harkins on. A long ball by Meggatt fell to Forrest who had beaten the offside trap and his shot trickled through the keeper before Leahy’s attempted clearance fell straight to Harkins who the ball into the net to give Ayr a lifeline. 63 mins 1 – 2.
Ayr were now pushing for the equaliser and on 80 mins Forrest had a shot from close range that went over the bar when it looked like he could have did better.
Falkirk almost killed the contest on 89 mins when they broke with McHugh who squared the ball to Miller inside the area but he hit post from 12 yards.
Ayr’s luck was to run out and the away side got their third of the match on 91 mins. Breaking from defence a long ball released Sibbald inside the Ayr half and he drove forward into the box before coolly slotting the ball under Fleming to increase Falkirk’s lead.
The icing on the cake for the away side came on 92 mins when Aird added to Ayr’s woes. McHugh won the ball on the left-hand side before fizzing a shot towards Fleming which was palmed away by the United goalkeeper but Aird was there at the back post to stroke the ball into the empty net.
What had, only a few minutes earlier, seen Ayr going all out for an equaliser ended in a 1 – 4 defeat.
Ayr now travel to East End Park to play Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday in what is another massive game for The Honest Men in their bid for survival.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gilmour, Crawford, Moore, Harkins, El Alagui, Meggatt, McGuffie, Balatoni. Substitutes Hart (GK), Rose, Murphy, Forrest, McDaid, McKenzie, Wardrope
Rogers, Kidd, Leahy, Taiwo, Kerr, Baird, Sibbald, Grant, Gasparotto, Austin, Aird. Substitutes Thomson (GK), Muirhead, Hippolyte, Miller, McHugh, Shepherd, Gallacher
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report: AUmedia