Airdrieonians 0, Falkirk 0
Frustration was the main emotion expressed by manager Ray McKinnon and his players after Saturday’s visit to Lanarkshire yielded a point but also more missed opportunities than they would have preferred.
The Bairns created marginally more chances than their hosts, and opposing manager Ian Murray admitted they (Falkirk) had more of the ball in the second half, but the scoresheet remained blank.
Falkirk also had a goal disallowed for offside, which they felt was a legitimate strike.
However, while McKinnon said afterwards that his side could play a lot better, they also took that knowledge as a positive aspect from the game.
Another worry, however, was a knee injury to goalkeeper Cammy Bell, who was replaced at half-time by Ross Mutch.
Falkirk forced a couple of early corner kicks while Craig Thomson darted through the middle for Airdrie but both defences were adept in mopping up.
A glancing header from skipper Sean Crighton squeezed past the Falkirk post while, at the other end, Declan McManus send the ball dangerously across the face of goal but Conor Sammon was just unable to connect.
A clear opportunity fell to Falkirk on the half hour, when Sammon poked the ball through to Connolly, after some clever trickery on the edge of the box. The Falkirk man looked odds-on to score from close range but ‘keeper David Hutton blocked the shot with his feet and then smothered the ball.
In the 39th minute, Falkirk thought they’d gone ahead when Michael Tidser sent over a delivery from a corner kick. Several players rose to make contact and the ball was turned into his own net by an Airdrie defender, possibly Kerr. But referee David Dickinson ruled Sammon had been offside and disallowed the goal.
Cammy Bell needed a lengthy spell of treatment just before the break after landing awkwardly on a lofty backwards leap to collect a long cross. It transpired he had injured his knee, so Ross Mutch took over for the second half.
Airdrie almost grabbed the lead at the start of the second half but Callum Smith’s header from the six-yard line spun wide.
A couple of promising-looking moves broke down for each side just at the vital time - a collaboration between McManus and Morgaro Gomis was almost salvaged by a snapshot from outside the box by Paul Dixon, which went narrowly wide.
Dixon later took his eye off a ball which presented a chance for Smith to charge towards the bye line but the Airdrieonians man allowed the ball to run just too far and it went out of play, much to Falkirk’s relief.
Hutton was on top of another good effort by Connolly for Falkirk, as they got into the Airdrie box again in 66 minutes. Three minutes later, Callum Fordyce cleared off the line for Airdrie as McShane sent a cross into the box after a corner kick had come back to him.
With 12 minutes remaining, Falkrik tried to force another opening when Dixon’s shot was blocked by teammate Sammon. He and sub Longridge attempted to work a move between them before Gomis tried a shot, which Hutton stopped on the line. Mark Durnan of Falkirk was booked around this time for an earlier tackle.
Mutch made a good save from an awkwardly bouncing shot by Airdrieonians sub Dale Carrick, who had collected a slick pass from Josh Kerr.
Falkirk’s substitute stopper also made amends in the final minute from a poor clearance from a corner, saving well from a shot by Paul McKay.
Airdrieonians - Hutton, Fordyce, MacDonald, McKay, Crighton, Kerr, Thomson (Hawkshaw 55), McCann, Smith (Roy 85), Gallagher (Carrick 71), Millar. Subs (not used) Gallacher, Pyott, Barrowman, Roberts.
Falkirk - Bell (Mutch 45), Doyle, Dixon, Buchanan, Durnan, Gomis, McShane (MacLean 71), McManus, Tidser, Sammon, Connolly (Longridge 71). Subs (not used) Johnstone, Toshney, Moore, Telfer.
Referee - David Dickinson.
Attendance - 1888.