Falkirk’s League One promotion hopes have been left hanging on the final day results after a 2-1 defeat at home to Montrose.
Cammy Ballantyne and Lewis Milne goals cancelled out a Falkirk opener from Connor Sammon to set up a tense final day. If Montrose beat Partick Thistle and Falkirk lose to Airdrieonians on Tuesday, Stewart Petrie’s team will sneak into the promotion play-offs ahead of a Bairns team who looked certain for the title just a few months ago.
The home side would open the scoring after five minutes. Robbie Leitch’s perfectly-timed through ball found Sammon one-on-one with Allan Fleming and the experienced striker calmly slotted his strike under the keeper to put the Bairns in control.
Callumn Morrison nearly doubled the hosts advantage minutes later. A slack pass in Montrose’s final third was intercepted by Sammon who played through Morrison, but the forward’s effort was brilliantly saved by the keeper.
Montrose almost levelled immediately after Morrison’s missed opportunity. Milne’s cross from the right-hand side fell to the feet of Russell McLean five yards from goal but his strike was parried away by Robbie Mutch in the Falkirk net.
The visitors would level the score seconds before half-time. Andrew Steeves’ deep cross from the left-hand side was misjudged by the Falkirk defence and Ballantyne fired his strike past Mutch into the bottom-left corner on the half-volley.
Montrose would take the lead against the run of play on the hour-mark with Ballantyne instrumental in the build-up. The defender drove towards the edge of the box with pace before playing through Milne, who rounded the keeper and fired home to give the visitors a lifeline in their quest for promotion this season.
Falkirk looked to have rescued a point in the 92nd minute. Sean Kelly’s free-kick curled perfectly into the top right corner but referee Steven Kirkland ruled it for encroachment in the wall, much to the bemusement of the Falkirk technical area. Here are the three things we learned.
Falkirk under pressure
Following a 5-0 thrashing to Partick Thistle and now this, Falkirk sit only two points clear in the final play-off spot. They were previously being eight points clear at the top of League One. They will face an away trip to Airdrie next week in what is a huge tie in their quest for promotion and it is clear that Falkirk will require a summer rebuild.
Montrose play-off hopes alive
Goals from Ballantyne and Milne seal a huge three points for Montrose who narrow the gap behind Falkirk to two points with one game to spare. Overcoming champions Partick Thistle and an Airdrie win would seal a remarkable play-off place.
The hosts looked to have had the game in their grasp after taking the early lead and seemingly were the dominant side in the first half. Old habits continue to impact Falkirk this season by being unable to finish off opponents when ahead. Falkirk have now recorded only one win in their last nine in what has been a tough period for the club.
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