Falkirk saw their hopes of going the first round of league games unbeaten were ended at the final hurdle after Airdrie secured a narrow 1-0 win at The Falkirk Stadium this afternoon.
There was one change for the Bairns from last weekend’s win over Clyde as Robbie Leitch came in for Callumn Morrison while the Diamonds were forced into a change just before kick-off with Leon McCann replaced by Dean Ritchie as the teams went through their warm-ups.
Both sides looked to create chances early on and saw plenty of possession but it was the hosts who had the better chances to break the deadlock in a close-fought opening 30 minutes.
The Bairns went close through Aidan Connolly and Robbie Leitch before Ian Murray’s side almost grabbed a goal of their own through Thomas Robert but the Frenchman could only find the side-netting with his effort.
Referee Alan Newlands was left with a decision to make after Anton Dowds appeared to trip Kyle Connell off the ball, although the Airdrie man didn’t himself by going down as though he’d been shot.
With no goals at the break, both sides came out for the second 45 looking hungry and Airdrie had an early chance after the restart from a dangerous free-kic, but Robert could only smash his effort against the wall.
The hosts made a double change just after the hour as they looked to freshen things up a little and spark Falkirk into life with Callumn Morrison and Blair Alston replacing Robbie Leitch and Charlie Telfer.
It was Airdrie who almost took the lead right after though, Hall getting his clearance wrong and needing Robbie Mutch to make a strong save to spare his blushes and keep the game level.
With only ten minutes left in the game, the opening goal finally came and it was the hosts who took the lead as Kyle Connel poked the ball home after Mutch had made a smart save from a corner.
The result leaves Falkirk sitting four points clear of Montrose at the top of the table before the Bairns face Partick Thistle next weekend in a clash with could have huge title ramifications.
Falkirk: Mutch, Mercer, Dixon, Hall, Dowds, Connolly, Gomis, Leitch, Sammon, Telfer, Kelly
Subs: PJ Morrison, Durnan, G Miller, Todd, Alston, Francis, Deveney, C Morrison, L Miller
Airdrieonians: Currie, MacDonald, Ritchie, Kerr, Crighton, Fordyce, McKay, Gallagher, Robert, Sabatini, Connell
Subs: Hutton, Thomson, Mbayo, Carrick, O’Reilly, Walker, Stokes, Hughes