April 15, 2023
cinch League 1
Kai Kennedy 29
Rumarn Burrell 89
Calum Gallagher 58, 63 pen
A late goal handed Falkirk a draw after a dramatic second half turnaround by the Diamonds, who made it a fourth successive season without defeat at The Falkirk Stadium.
It was shaping up to look like the classic game of two halves in Grangemouth, but an 89th-minute Rumarn Burrell goal levelled the tie after Calum Gallagher’s double had put Airdrie in the driving seat following Kai Kennedy’s first-half strike.
Airdrie were once again unchanged, while ex-Diamond Leon McCann started for the Bairns with Jordan Allan named among the substitutes.
Rhys McCabe’s side almost made a lightning started with Justin Devenny lashing over inside the first minute, before Liam Henderson twice headed wide after getting on the end of deep crosses.
Home keeper Brian Kinnear was alert to Adam Frizzell’s 17th minute through ball, racing out to smother the ball as Devenny rushed in.
It took until just before the half-hour mark for either side to have a clear sight of goal, but on-loan Rangers winger Kai Kennedy gave his side the lead after Josh Rae saved from Callumn Morrison, Gary Oliver reacting quickest to squeeze the ball to Kennedy who set himself and lashed home.
As a scrappy first half came to an end, Rae gathered a Stephen McGinn effort to keep the deficit at one.
Diamonds player-boss McCabe subbed himself on at half-time, replacing Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who had pulled up with a hamstring strain.
Falkirk went close to doubling their lead on 51 minutes, McCann’s cross flying toward goal via Oliver's boot, but Rae watched it whistle over the crossbar.
A greater urgency from the Diamonds paid dividends on 58 minutes, Dean McMaster’s outswinging corner being won in the air by skipper Callum Fordyce, who nodded it into Gallagher’s path. The striker spun on the six-yard line and got just enough contact to divert the ball past Kinnear for the equaliser.
With the visitors in the ascendency, Cammy Ballantyne went close to spectacular strike three minutes later, controlling well outside the box and sending a curling effort just over.
The Diamonds only had to wait a minute longer for the chance to go ahead, pressure from Callum Smith forcing Blaine Rowe into a passback which Frizzell intercepted only to be brought down by Kinnear. Referee Graham Grainger pointed to the spot and Gallagher grabbed the ball before planting a fine spot-kick beyond the Falkirk keeper.
Having turned the match around, Airdrie turned on the style and Smith was unlucky not to get on the end of a superb 64th-minute passing move, ex-Diamond McCann sliding in to clear the danger.
McCann was next to have a chance to shoot, but his effort from the corner of the box ended up high in the stand.
Gabby McGill chose not to take on the first time shot as Devenny picked him out with a wonderful pass on 71 minutes, and lost possession as he tried to set himself.
The striker almost made amends with ten minutes remaining, doing well to get a touch on Craig Watson knockdown but Kinnear was able to gather.
Watson himself sent a late effort over the bar as both sides made changes, but it was John McGlynn’s men who had the final say as Finn Yeats’ free-kick was nodded into Rumarn Burrell’s path and the English striker hooked home from five yards.
Although there may be twists and turns to come, the sides are still on course to meet in the play-offs and there remains nothing between them in this season’s meetings with two draws and a win for each side.
Champions Dunfermline are next up for the Diamonds, who only need a point from their remaining three fixtures to secure a play-off place.
Stuart Mathie at The Falkirk Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.