Falkirk 2 Brechin 0: Headers give Bairns the win

30-07-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Betfred Cup group stage. Falkirk FC v Brechin City.
30-07-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Betfred Cup group stage. Falkirk FC v Brechin City.

The Bairns ended their first Betfred Cup Group stage campaign with a win over ex-captain Darren Dods’ Brechin side.

Nathan Austin and Luca Gasparotto scored to give the Bairns the win ahead of the league campaign kicking off on Saturday against Hibs.

Falkirk were positive from the start, Nathan Austin and Bob McHugh leading the line of a strong Bairns’ side both having shots blocked in the opening ten minutes.

Austin impressed at St Johnstone and continued his form for the Bairns beside last season’s scoring hero, but around him the Bairns fell flat.

Peter Houston named a side which could, conceivably, play Hibs next weekend in the SPFL Championship opener but for all the possession and neat inter-changes, it was a little flat from the Bairns with a lack of chances after the bright start.

Luke Leahy’s free-kick on 20 minutes gave Graeme Smith something to do and he watched a Bob McHugh header float wide shortly before half-time but Brechin’s one and only chance was the closest Westfield came to seeing a goal in the first half.

After Darren Dods brought Euan Smith on for Darren McCormack on 36 minutes a Gareth Rodger snapshot was beaten out by Danny Rogers and cleared for a corner.

On the stroke of half-time Luca Gasparotto headed just wide but for all Falkirk’s possession, it was a scoreless stalemate at the break.

McHugh had a header tipped over from a Lewis Kidd cross four minutes after the break and it was the attack that brought the opener.

From the corner McHugh had an overhead kick attempt that was pushed out by Smith but only as far as Gasparotto who headed over the line despite Elliot Ford’s desparate attempts to keep it out.

Within minutes it was two as Nathan Austin headed Craig Sibbald’s free-kick in.

The Bairns could coast to victory by now, but Brechin almost pulled one back when Alan Trouten was released by Finn Graham but as he rounded Rogers his touch took the ball out of play.

City went close again with eight minutes to play when Luke Leahy blocked Ross Caldwell’s shot and it spun onto the top of the bar.

Tom Taiwo hammered a drive low in injury time but Smith matched it.