Kris Faulds staked a claim for a more prominent first-team squad place with a midfield masterclass in the Stirlingshire Cup semi-final.
He led the Falkirk under-20s to a 3-1 victory over Stirlingshire Cup holders Dumbarton at The Falkirk Stadium.
The Bairns looked to be in trouble after just two minutes when Tyler Fulton lost control of the ball on the corner of the 18-yard box allowing Kevin Smith to beat Graham Bowman.
But they weren’t to be denied and with Faulds controlling the middle of the park, the chances began to appear. Thomas Grant raced through the Sons defence unchallenged in 14 minutes but Stephen Grindlay was up to the shot and parried clear. Scott Shepherd followed up but miskicked at the vital moment.
Two minutes later, Lewis Small shot past the busy ‘keeper only to see his effort thump against the foot of the post and again the home side failed to bury the rebound – Grant shooting a yard wide.
At the other end Liam Rowan’s misplaced headed clearance almost set up Smith again but this time Tyler Fulton cleared over his own crossbar to save the day.
In truth, Falkirk should have been goals up at this stage – Small looking to the heavens as Grindlay’s foot diverted another of his shots wide. A rocket drive from Comrie only confirmed the home side’s superiority but the ball was deflected a foot over the top.
The one-way traffic continued and the referee thought long and hard after Shepherd toppled over Grindlay following some suicidal defending by the visitors but decided against a spot-kick.
A minute later the game was level. The impressive Faulds blasted home from the edge of the box after great build up play by the Bairns. Time – 26 minutes
Another super move up the right saw Falkirk take the lead in 34 minutes. Liam Rowan’s cross was perfect for Scott Shepherd to glance a header past the outstretched Grindlay to a rousing burst of applause from the stand.
Then with half-time approaching, Grant was the architect, setting up Lewis Small who rifled a shot into the far corner for a 3-1 interval lead.
On the restart, Faulds, playing like a man possessed, rattled the crossbar with a vicious shot as Falkirk continued on the offensive then Ryan Blair forced Grindlay to push a shot wide.
It would have been impossible for the Falkirk youngsters to continue that sort of pace for the rest of the half and gradually they wound down in the knowledge the game was won.
It got a bit tasty near the end – Greene who had finally got the measure of the experienced Smith, tangled with the striker on the halfway line in a burst of handbags between the two and fortunately Referee Steven took the sensible decision to limit the damage to yellow cards for each of them.