Falkirk 1 - 1 Ayr: Bairns boss left frustrated
While not a post-mortem he relished, the Bairns manager did ultimately pick over the bones of a frustrating contest for the hosts, ruing the lax defending which allowed Gary Harkins to open the scoring.
He was no more enamoured with those at the other end of the pitch, noting the profligacy of his attackers, including a missed penalty from John Baird and the spurning of a glorious early chance by Myles Hippolyte.
Peter Grant salvaged a draw but that did little to satisfy the home fans, who jeered their side at full-time.
“It’s been like that at home this season,” said a frustrated Houston. “Myles Hippolyte should have scored and then – the Achilles heel all season – we give a soft goal away.”
Falkirk should have taken the lead during a propitious start to proceedings, with Hippolyte hooking a shot over the bar from six yards following a Baird cut-back.
Ayr were more clinical when presented with a clear opening. Harkins latched on to Kevin Nisbet’s knock-down and, despite Danny Rogers making a sharp initial save, the midfielder reacted swiftly to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
The Bairns passed up a chance to restore parity on the stroke of half-time when Baird saw his spot-kick saved by Fleming following Scott McKenna’s foul on Bob McHugh.
However, from the resulting corner, Grant rose majestically to power home Mark Kerr’s excellent delivery. The unbridled celebration of his first goal since returning from an eight-month absence due to cruciate knee ligament damage was pure catharsis.
Fittingly, the excellent Fleming had the last word, stretching every sinew to tip Tony Gallacher’s late header on to the crossbar.
“Falkirk are going to be up there challenging to get to the Premiership,” added Ayr boss Ian McCall. “So, while there is a bit of disappointment, a draw was probably fair.”