Bairns show they possess quality with entertaining draw

Falkirk were in action for the final time before the competitive games begin next week, in the Stirlingshire Cup with Dumbarton and the Ramden Cup at Clyde
Falkirk were in action for the final time before the competitive games begin next week, in the Stirlingshire Cup with Dumbarton and the Ramden Cup at Clyde
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Falkirk continue on an unbeaten run entering next week’s competitive games with a draw at rivals Dunfermline.

The Bairns came from behind to lead the Pars in front of 1344 fans with goals from a trialist and Conor McGrandles.

But the opener from Ryan Ferguson and a late equaliser from Kevin Buchan meant the match ended in stalemate.

It was as comfortable a second half performance as the Bairns will have had, as they played two-touch passing and keep-ball well away from their defensive third of the park. But a late charge from Buchan gave Michael McGovern his only action of the second period.

Falkirk should have had the ball in the net as early as the third minute, when one of two trialists, Rory Loy had a shot cleared of fthe line.

The former Kilmarnock, Rangers and Dunfermline forward seized on the loose ball after Lewis Martin had cut-out a Jay Fulton through-ball. The trialist, wearing number eight, rounded Dunfermline goalkeeper Michal Hrivnak and stroked at goal but Callum Morris had recovered to spare his colleague’s blushes and keep the scoresheet blank.

That allowed Ryan Ferguson to score the opener for the hosts on 14 minutes.

Stephen Kingsley made an uncharacteristic mistake and passed to the Pars’ forward, who took his time and thumped a shot high into the net off Michale McGovern’s forearm.

Will Vaulks was making an impression at centre-half and bravely threw himself into clearances, and Michael McGovern hadn’t another save to make in the first half.

Michal Hrivnak had more to concern himself with. Loy, and his fellow trialist seemed keen to make as good an impression as Vaulks did when he won himself a Bairns’ deal while on trial last season.

The number nine jersey vacated most recently by Lyle Taylor was occupied by a forward believed to be an ex-Arsenal academy prospect - Phil Roberts. He showed he had a decent football background with some neat touches and a deft spin that lost Alex Whittle’s attentions and saw the formward go close at the side-netting.

Another 50 yard sprint with the ball earned another corner for Jay Fulton, and the equaliser just before half-time. It was the trialist who bundled the back-post cross into the net, as well as himself, stumbling in a possible foul as he met the ball and knocked it just inside the post where he too came to rest.

Johnny Flynn limped off after turning an ankle and was relpaced by Kyle Turnbull.

After the break the Bairns took the lead, after Kieran Duffie was tugged back by Stephen Husband, Jay Fulton took a quick free-kick to release Conor McGranldes and he poked past sub keeper Ryan Scully.

Falkirk were on the attack for the majority of the second period, and could have added to McGrandles’ strike. Roberts headed over from three yards out and from Loy’s looped ball over the top Fulton miscued a header at the same distance out.

Blair Alston had a great strike palmed away as the game entered the final ten minutes, after a fluid passing move from the Bairns - a feature of their play in the afternoon. The Bairns’ ball retention was a marked difference and few could have begrudged them the third when, from the Scully stop, Stephen Kingsley headed Thomas Grant’s corner onto the crossbar.

But the game’s fourth goal came for the Pars when sub Kevin Buchan charged through the middle and Falkirk were briefly cut open and McGovern was beaten from the edge of the box.