Ayr United 0 Falkirk 1: New faces, different result

Zak Rudden converts for the Bairns. Picture Michael Gillen.
Zak Rudden converts for the Bairns. Picture Michael Gillen.

Zak Rudden's goal gave Falkirk a welcome three points that moved them off the bottom of the SPFL Champiopnship.

The Falkirk had a new look with five debutants from the start and Shayne Lavery coming off the bench for his first start at the club.

Zak Rudden celebrates his winner.

Zak Rudden celebrates his winner.

And while it was not quite a new feeling for
Falkirk at the end of the 90 minutes, it was an unfamiliar winning one.

LEAGUE TABLE: SPFL Championship

They cannot be grudged the result either, though latterly David Mitchell's goal led a charmed life, but for sheer hard work the Bairns deserved to take something from the game.

A squad which had only had one training session as a group after a high turnaround in the first week of the transfer window, fought for one another.

Ian McShane was one of five debutants. Picture Michael Gillen.

Ian McShane was one of five debutants. Picture Michael Gillen.

Ray McKinnon resorted to his three at the back central defensive shape, but was without Abdul Osman whose clearance from the Greek FA was not received in time.

Instead McKinnon had Joe McKee and Ian McShane protecting his defence against an Ayr United side blunted without the injured Lawrence Shankland. Ross MacLean and Stoke City loanee Mark Waddington supported Zak Rudden in attack.

MATCHDAY BLOG: Ayr United 0 Falkirk 1

However significant a miss the club's top scorer may have been Craig Moore still gave the Bairns plenty of problems standing on the shoulder of the Bairns backline and racing onto through-balls.

The away support was delighted. Picture Michael Gillen.

The away support was delighted. Picture Michael Gillen.

He had the ball in the net in the first half after David Mitchell had tipped a Michael Moffat drive onto the post, but when Moore tapped in just after the half-hour mark it was flagged for offside.

The game to that point had been fairly even with the hosts perhaps just shading the threat levels but Falkirk working hard to make a couple of half-chances of their own.

Just a few minutes after the woodwork in front of the away supporters was struck, Falkirk went up the other and hit the crossbar there, although it carried less threat than the home side's.

PLAYER PROFILE: Zak Rudden

Ref John Beaton. Picture Michael Gillen.

Ref John Beaton. Picture Michael Gillen.

After a nice flowing move, sparked by Lewis Kidd sliding in for possession and switching play from the right to left, Tommy Robson won a corner and Ian McShane's curling effort swung wickedly off the top of Ross Doohan's goalframe.

It had been an easy game to oversee for referee John Beaton, the subject of headlines and a security presence at Somerset Park. And not been a bad first half from the Bairns either. The second got better just ten minutes after the restart.

REFEREE STATS: SPFL Championship

Doohan spilled a long range drive from Ross MacLean and there was no question of offside as Rudden tapped in and sent the Falkirk supporters wild.

Ayr went for it after going behind, with everything to gain.

They battered the Bairns at times and Falkirk were fortunate late on when Craig McGuffie's corner evaded everyone in the six-yard box when only a touch would have given Ian McCall's men the equaliser.

Picture Michael Gillen.

Picture Michael Gillen.

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David Mitchell came to the rescue in injury time too when Steven Bell scuffed a shot that was diverted further wide by David Mitchell but kept in play by Declan McDaid. His effort was well off target but fell kindly for Craig Moore front and centre of goal and a huge target to aim at.

But as he dawdled Mitchell slid out and tackled the striker with his feet and Falkirk scrambled the ball away to safety and they too have scrambled towards a safer position, moving off the bottom of the league table with this win and Partick Thistle's being held to a draw at Tannadice.

Paul Dixon and Darren Taylor. Picture Michael Gillen.

Paul Dixon and Darren Taylor. Picture Michael Gillen.