Falkirk 0-3 Airdrieonains: Paul Sheerin’s side lose to promotion rivals
Falkirk were well beaten by Airdrieonians at the Falkirk Stadium, going down 3-0 after a lacklustre performance.
Before kick off, a poignant minute's silence was held for the late Billy Lamont and John Gillan - who both passed away during the week.
Falkirk manager Paul Sheerin answered supporters' calls by rewarding Aidan Keena with a start, partnering him upfront with Michael Ruth.
However, it was the visitors who put in a fluid attacking display, with talented midfielder Kerr McInroy the star of the show.
Indeed the best chance of the opening 25 minutes fell to the visitors as the Bairns defence struggled to clear their lines, leaving Calum Gallagher the freedom to have an effort at goal.
Paddy Martin cut a relieved figure as the forward skewed his driven volley just wide of the Falkirk goal.
Dylan Easton was next to test Martin with a powerful effort straight at the goalkeeper.
Eventually Falkirk got their first sight of goal when Aidan Nesbitt curled in a pinpoint cross to the back post, but Michael Ruth couldn’t connect with the ball on 23 minutes.
Ian Murray’s side took a deserved lead on 37 minutes after great work from McInroy - the Celtic loanee drove with the ball and fed in Easton - who slotted into the far corner.
The Bairns looked tepid in possession and went in at the break deservedly down, having created few meaningful chances.
Paul Sheerin’s side vacated the pitch to a chorus of boos from the home support - who made their feelings clear about the first half display.
Gallagher should have made it two for Airdrieonians on 58 minutes, the ball deflected into his path with the goal at his mercy but he shot straight into the hands of Martin.
Aidan Keena finally had a chance to get involved on 63 minutes, when Leon McCann’s interchange with Charlie Telfer allowed him to receive the ball 10 yards from goal. He could only find Max Currie with his effort.
It was one of the only moments in the match that the Bairns showed any pace to their build-up, and it was the closest they had got to goal in the second half.
Callum Smith doubled the visitors lead on 67 minutes after the ball fortuitously fell to him in the box, Martin’s reflex save eventually landed in front of the forward - who made no mistake in firing the ball into the roof of the net.
Currie was booked for time wasting as Airdrieonains looked to see out the clock. The resulting corner 20 minutes from time was the closest the Bairns got to getting one back, a wicked deflection nearly caught out the Airdrieonians goalkeeper.
Ian Murray’s side sealed the three points in style, with a bullet header from towering defender Josh Kerr. The corner kick was inch perfect and the 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the match.
Substitute Gabby McGill could have made it four when he found himself one-on-one with Martin, but he blasted the ball wide. The final moments of the match were seen out comfortably by the Lanarkshire side.
Paul Sheerin cut a frustrated figure after the match, bemoaning the way his side once again put themselves in a difficult situation through defensive instability.
Sheerin said: “I actually thought we looked more like ourselves during the opening part of the game in terms of our build-up, but we need to find ways to test the goalkeeper more within that period.
“When we lose the goal, we started trying things that we hadn’t attempted previously. We lost our way a bit.
“There was more panic in our play and that fed into our performance.
“The second half I thought we started it okay, but without working the goalkeeper enough.
“I can’t continue to defend the fact we are not keeping clean sheets. I now need to start looking at how we shape this team into one that’s a lot harder to beat.
“We have real talent upfront and in attacking areas - but are not going to be able to let them show that if we are conceding so many goals and putting ourselves in these bad positions.
“I’ll have a long hard look at myself and the guys will too, and we will work out a way to play the way we want to, while keeping goals out the other end.
“We’ve kept one clean sheet in 10 league matches and that simply is miles away from where we need to be.”