Falkirk 2 QOS 2: All eyes on Tannadice after draw

Nathan Austin followed up last week's winner with another header
Nathan Austin followed up last week's winner with another header

Falkirk turn attention to Tannadice now after this draw swung the momentum in Dundee United’s favour in the race for second place.

The Doonhamers and Stephen Dobbie did the damage to the Bairns prospects and could have set up a play-off first round date for Peter Houston’s side.

The point puts the Bairns two ahead of Dundee United, but the Tangerines host Dumbarton this evening. Pic Michael Gillen.

The point puts the Bairns two ahead of Dundee United, but the Tangerines host Dumbarton this evening. Pic Michael Gillen.

It now all depends on next week’s opponents – relegation threatened Dumbarton – and the Tangerines in tonight’s televised game at 5.15pm.

But for all the disappointing result, this was a Falkirk performance full of desire and drive, just missing that little moment of magic to set them apart from the rest, and a moment in either half of concentration that was punished by the visitors.

Queen’s, who have no promotion or relegation interests, immediately discomfited the Bairns by swapping ends at kick-off, forcing Falkirk to shoot into the south stand first.

They’re unaccustomed to it, and Queen of the South continued to upset the apple cart with an early goal.

Austin was taken down by Lee Robinson for the penalty. Picture by Michael Gillen

Austin was taken down by Lee Robinson for the penalty. Picture by Michael Gillen

Lewis Kidd conceded a throw on a Doonhamers’ breakaway after just nine minutes and was caught ball watching. Quick thinking Danny Carmichael launched the ball into the path of Lyndon Dykes, sprinting at full speed through the middle. The Bairns couldn’t keep up, Kidd realised too late and the big Australian advanced into the box and passed across the area for Stephen Dobbie to tap in.

It sucked the life out of a noisy home support which took a good 20 minutes to recover, but they did, and so did Falkirk.

The Bairns barely dwelled on the concession and picked themselves up. The goal took a while to come but they got it and it was deserved for all their dominance and forward play.

The Bairns registered seven corner kicks in the first half and only Lee Robinson defied them more goals. The Doonhamers’ goalkeeper’s dallying over every kick-out infuriated the Bairns and he frustrated further by keeping out a John Baird effort with one hand then recovering to gather another from James Craigen before the Bairns finally bit back.

Austin and Muirhead were on target for the Bairns again. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Austin and Muirhead were on target for the Bairns again. Picture by Michael Gillen.

A Craigen free-kick was flicked on by Peter Grant and then knocked in by Nathan Austin’s close-range header on 38 minutes.

There was almost a second before the break as Luke Leahy glanced a lovely header just inside the post, but Robinson was down to keep it from crossing the line but only just.

After the break it was more of the same - Queen’s counters looking dangerous and Falkirk all on the front foot.

A great clean tackle from behind by Peter Grant stopped Dobbie in his tracks, but as the central defender lay on the ground both he and Kidd became entangled and almost let the Doonhamers in again.

But it was to be the Bairns who got in front.

They’d had many claims for a penalty throughout the afternoon and Crawford Allan couldn’t say no to Austin being felled by Brownlie in the box again. Aaron Muirhead slammed the resultant spot-kick home against his hometown team, and the Bairns were ahead.

But Queen’s counters had threatened all day and in their ranks they had a genuine game-changer in Dobbie. The match - and Falkirk’s second-place quest -- turned on a moment of magic from the little striker and he beat ex-QOS keeper Thomson with ten minutes to go.

Falkirk pitched in Lee Miller but even the striker who won Leigh Walker McInnes £1800 at half-time in the crossbar challenge couldn’t turn the Bairns fortunes.

Bob McHugh converted a late Nathan Austin knock-down in the penultimate minute of the regulation 90 but was flagged offside.