Edinburgh 0 Falkirk 3: Second half show from the Bairns

Nathan Austin heads in Falkirk's second. Picture Michael Gillen.
Nathan Austin heads in Falkirk's second. Picture Michael Gillen.

Falkirk found their groove in the second half to see off Edinburgh City in their final pre-season preparation stage.

The Bairns found Edinburgh difficult to break down in the first half, but second half goals from Nathan Austin, Kevin O'Hara following an Aaron Muirhead penalty gave the visitors a comfortable win in the end.

Aaron Muirhead hit the opener from the spot. Picture Michael Gillen.

Aaron Muirhead hit the opener from the spot. Picture Michael Gillen.

Muirhead converted after Austin had been fouled and then the striker headed in a free-kick he won himself, clipped in by Alex Harris who supplied two on the night.

The match was also a chance for Falkirk fans to see Rory Loy restored to the Falkirk line-up, and he started alongside Austin and Scott Shepherd.

Former Bairn Farid El Alagui led the home side’s line in attack as a trialist, but failed to beat Robbie Thomson and was well marshalled by Aaron Muirhead and Peter Grant, Falkirk’s central defensive partnership in the first half.

The Bairns looked a threat on the right, with Joe McKee, Lewis Kidd and Shepherd combining well early on, but chances were few and far between.

Nathan Austin went close. Picture Michael Gillen

Nathan Austin went close. Picture Michael Gillen

The game became more stretched by the half hour, and Falkirk could have picked City off on the counter. Nathan Austin poked the ball by Chris McKee, but was floored by the defender on the halfway-line and he was warned by the referee. Had Austin escaped he was clear and free to run at Antell’s goal.

Falkirk still went up the park though and Kidd swung a good cross in from the right but neither Austin, nor Rory Loy could bring the ball under control, then Alex Harris’s low blast was held by ex-Shire keeper Antell.

Kidd was involved in City’s best chance of their half and nearly gifted them it. He blasted away a low cross from Allan, but it wasn’t far away from Robbie Thomson’s goal and flew out for a corner.

For all the limited involvement up to that point, Loy showed his class with a swivelling shot from the edge of the box after Kidd tee’d him up but the ball swung just by.

Rory Loy swung this effort just wide in the first half. Picture Michael Gillen

Rory Loy swung this effort just wide in the first half. Picture Michael Gillen

The interval brought two changes in Falkirk’s personnel - David Mitchell and Luca Gasparotto on for Lewis Kidd and Robbie Thomson - but they did change it more after the hour.

By then the Bairns were two goals ahead with Aaron Muirhead slamming a penalty high beyond Antell after Nathan Austin was toppled by Chris McKee. Craig Beattie appealed for the decision to be overturned, claiming the City defender had won the ball, but Muirhead made no mistake with the spot-kick seven minutes after the restart.

Shortly afterwards Nathan Austin was creator and finisher of the second, heading in unmarked after bravely chasing down a long ball, holding off Devon Jacobs then being cynically hauled down. Harris' clipped free-kick was powered past Antell by the unmarked frontman.

Then Peter Houston rang the changes, on came Lee Miller, Cameron Blues, Mark Kerr and Liam Henderson, replacing Scott Shepherd, Joe McKee, Tom Taiwo and Tony Gallagher.

The changes continued but Falkirk's dominance didn't and, but for one save early in the second half, David Mitchell was but a spectator.

Alex Harris put number three on a plate for Kevin O'Hara to tap in and a good second half left Falkirk in good spirits going into the first competitive game of the season at home to Stirling on Saturday.