Stranraer 1 Falkirk 1: Bairns suffer a blow in the wind

Falkirk lost ground at the top of the table with a cold and windy draw at Stranraer.

By David Oliver
Saturday, 1st February 2020, 5:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 5:29 pm
Aidan Connolly celebrates his goal. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Aidan Connolly celebrates his goal. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Aidan Connolly's opener was cancelled out by Ryan Thomson in the second half in a much improved performance from the home side but Falkirk should have won it through Josh Todd just on the hour.

The apparent curse of the manager of the month award - said to affect recipients the game following their presentation struck Lee Miller and David McCracken with a disappointing result in horrible conditions after being recognised for an unbeaten start to their managerial careers - that continued here, but not in the manner they wanted.

As has been the norm of late the first half wasn't the greatest but it was a winning one thanks to Aidan Connolly's close-range opener.

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Frustration on the Bairns bench. Picture: Michael Gillen.

It came after 31 minutes but to that point it was faiurly evenm, if uninspiring from both sides where Falkjirk played most on the front foot, but Stranraer showed their threat.

The Stair Park surface cut up to show the focus of play in Falkirk's attacking half but took until the 12th mionute to register a shot on target, from right-back Michael Doyle that was safely held by Max Currie.

Stranraer had more of a threat than their last game here between the sides and Doyle was clever to ease Joao Vitoria off the ball after a clever Ryan Stevenson cut-back set him up in front of goal.

For all his good work Stevenson then nearly tee'd up Falkirk's opener, passing backwards straight to Declan McManus - but on an uncharacteristacally quiet day for the attacker he couldn't take advantage.

COnnolly continues on top form. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Instead it was the other in-form man Connolly who dug David McMillan's cross out from under his feet and fitred into the top corner from close range just after the half-hour mark to give the Bairns the half-time advantage on a cold and blustery day in the south-west of Scotland.

But after the break the Bairns failed to add to their tally, and crucially Stranraer notched not long after the restart through Ryan Thomson after good work from his namesake Stevenson.

The goal lifted the hosts and Falkirk continued to labour much like they had in the first half without the recent trend of second half improvements.

The Bairns should have re-taken the lead just after the hour with a Josh Todd strike from the left of the area that zipped across the face of Currie's goal after McMillan flicked on Connolly's cross. It was a costly miss and the curse of the manager of the month struck again and denied the Bairns a win.

Gary Miller in the thrust of midfield action. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Indeed it could have been even more costly with Robbie Mutch tipping over a spinning Cameron Elliott effort and Thomson missing a great chance one yard out forced over by Mark Durnan.

Lee Miller cut a frustrated figure at full-time but must lift his side from what has been a disappointing afternoon, albeit without losing, for a glamour cup tie with Hearts next Saturday.

Josh Todd should have scored in each half. Picture: Michael Gillen.