Airdrieonians 2-0 Falkirk: Woe for Bairns as defeat sees them miss out on Championship play-off semi-finals
Falkirk sensationally missed out on a Championship semi-final play-spot after ending the regular League 1 season with a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat against Airdrieonians at a chilly Penny Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.
The result means that the Bairns finish fifth in League 1 – below Montrose who sneaked fourth spot by beating Partick Thistle 3-2 – and it’s Montrose who will take on Morton over two legs for a place against either Cove Rangers or Airdrieonians in the play-off final.
The Bairns looked to be hanging on for a 0-0 draw – which would have been enough to get into the play-offs – but conceded two very late goals to Airdrie’s Craig Thomson and Kyle Turner.
The fifth place finish in the third tier is Falkirk’s lowest league spot since the same thing happened way back in 1978.
The Bairns picked up only five points from their last nine games – including just one point from the last six matches, reportedly leading to angry fans gathering outside the Falkirk Stadium post full-time.
The game started in a low key fashion and Falkirk’s Morgaro Gomis was booked for a third minute foul on opposition number eight Paul McKay.
The first chance of the game came for Airdrie on 11 minutes when away keeper Robbie Mutch got down smartly to save Calum Gallagher’s header.
An even better chance was then created for the hosts when a through ball put Kyle Connell clear but his effort was turned round the post by Mutch.
The first substitution on 29 minutes saw the Bairns replace the injured Scott Mercer with Robbie Leitch.
Away captain Gary Miller battled away to win possession down the right on 39 minutes but his cross just evaded Conor Sammon in the centre.
A fine Airdrie move involving Scott Walker, Leon McCann and Kyle Connell set up Gallagher for a flick at goal which Mutch saved comfortably.
After a poor start to the second half, Turner burst up the middle for Airdrie but shot well over on 54 minutes.
A swift Falkirk break then culminated in Morrison’s forward pass being just too strong for Kai Fotheringham. Sammon then shot wildly wide.
A corner was then looped across from the head of Morgaro Gomis to Kelly whose effort went just over.
Play then quickly broke to the other end where Airdrie sub Ally Roy volleyed just wide of the far post.
The hosts missed a fine chance on 79 minutes when Turner’s fine free-kick from the right was headed weakly at Mutch by Kerr.
Morrison then went solo at the other end but blasted over.
Airdrie scored a late goal to go 1-0 up. Thomson received the ball from a throw-in on the far side, cut inside and struck the ball emphatically into the left corner with his left foot.
Falkirk wasted a great chance in injury time when substitute Dowds headed home from close range after a fine cross from the left.
And the Diamonds clinched the game in the third minute of injury time when Turner cut in from the left. His first shot was saved by Mutch but he tucked in the rebound.
Airdrieonians: Currie, Turner, McCann, Kerr, Fordyce, McKay, Gallagher (Thomson 68), Ritchie (Robert 60), Connell (Pyott 60) (Roy 72), Walker (Carrick 68) Paton.
Falkirk: Mutch, Mercer (Leitch 29), Durnan, Miller, Alston, Gomis, Neilson, Sammon, Fotheringham (Dowds 71), Kelly, Morrison.
Referee: Scott Lambie