December 3, 2022
cinch League 1
Kai Kennedy 26
Callum Smith 78
Airdrie’s unbeaten run continued at The Falkirk Stadium, although the Diamonds had to come from behind to secure a point against the Bairns in an end-to-end match.
There were two changes to the Diamonds side which exited the Scottish Cup at the hands of Dundee last weekend, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair replacing Callum Fordyce after the skipper was ruled out with a thigh strain, and Lewis Jamieson returning in place of Justin Devenny.
Ex-Diamond Leon McCann lined up for the visitors who started brightly, a third-minute free-kick failing to breach the defensive wall.
Falkirk fans were hopefully claiming a penalty two minutes later as Rumarn Burrell tripped over the diving Dean Lyness, and Airdrie almost took advantage with a swift break, Callum Smith powering toward goal and forcing a save from Nicky Hogarth.
Smith was next to threaten again, latching on to Jamieson’s lofted seventh-minute pass and pulling his shot wide of the goal.
A third chance opened up for the Diamonds striker ten minutes later, but his shot from outside the box was tame and off-target.
Falkirk retaliated with the always-lively Callumn Morrison bursting down the right flank and crossing for Burrell, but Taylor-Sinclair stretched to get the important touch which took the ball away from the English frontman.
Lyness was equal to a 19th-minute Coll Donaldson free-kick, but seven minutes later the home side took the lead through an excellent Kai Kennedy goal. A long ball over the top from Donaldson saw the Rangers loanee slip between two defenders before sending a well-struck effort across Lyness and into the top corner.
Home fans thought they had doubled their lead ten minutes before the break, but Burrell’s close-range header was into the side netting.
Two late attacks from Airdrie brought teasing crosses from Smith and Charlie Telfer, but nobody in a Diamond shirt could apply the finishing touch, and the sides went in with Falkirk holding on to their lead.
A renewed sense of urgency saw the Diamonds take the game to their hosts after the break, and encouraged by the travelling support behind Hogarth’s goal, they started creating increasingly good chances.
Falkirk captain Stephen McGinn was well placed to cut out a 50th-minute Euan Deveney cross before Calum Gallagher failed to get the ball under control quick enough to shoot two minutes later. As the hosts broke through McCann, Gary Oliver was left with the whole goal to shoot at but somehow fired wide.
As play raged from end to end, Gallagher nodded a Rhys McCabe cross wide of the target before Lyness gathered a shot from substitute Juan Alegría.
Cammy Ballantyne came close with a 58th-minute strike, a defender's head taking the on-target strike over the bar before Sean Mackie had to head a curling Telfer effort away from his own goal.
The introductions of Gabby McGill and Adam Frizzell around the 70-minute mark added an extra dimension to the Airdrie attack, and the pair were involved in the Diamonds’ 79th-minute equaliser.
Frizzell did well to win the ball on the Airdrie right, with McGill keeping possession and playing in Gallagher, whose reverse pass found Smith charging into the box to finish.
Falkirk, determined to regain their lead, began to push numbers forward and it took a good Lyness stop to deny Kennedy a second on 82 minutes before Frizzell got back to help his defence with a crucial block a minute later.
Brad McKay sent an 86th-minute drive over the bar before the home fans were on their feet screaming for a penalty as Lyness saved bravely at the feet of Alegría.
McGill could have won it in stoppage time, cutting in from the left before his shot hit the oblivious Donaldson and span to safety, but an entertaining 1-1 draw was the result signalled by Mike Roncone’s final whistle.
The Diamonds now have a week’s break before facing Dunfermline Athletic and Montrose in a pair of mouthwatering festive fixtures.
Stuart Mathie at The Falkirk Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.