Hamilton 3 Falkirk 1: Bairns overpowered

Pic Lisa McPhillips 15/03/2014'SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - Hamilton FC v Falkirk FC'Mark Beck goal cele'Mark Beck with Scott Shepherd
Pic Lisa McPhillips 15/03/2014'SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - Hamilton FC v Falkirk FC'Mark Beck goal cele'Mark Beck with Scott Shepherd
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Falkirk fell five points off the top of the Championship as second-placed Hamilton extended their advantage in the title race.

The Bairns had suspension problems with Phil Roberts and Mark Millar missing and were walking wounded with Rory Loy and David McCracken playing through the pain barrier with Kieran Duffie in the stands.

Pic Lisa McPhillips 15/03/2014'SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - Hamilton FC v Falkirk FC'Hamiltons Dariam MacKinnon, Martin Canning and Falkirks Craig Sibbald

Pic Lisa McPhillips 15/03/2014'SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP - Hamilton FC v Falkirk FC'Hamiltons Dariam MacKinnon, Martin Canning and Falkirks Craig Sibbald

But immediately Hamilton were ahead. A corner from Ali Crawford was met by Martin Canning who appeared to head the ball over the line but it was bundled home by Jason Scotland.

The Bairns were missing the presence of Mark Millar in the centre of midfield but Craig Sibbald more than made up for his void with a sterling performance. Though on the losing side the 18-year-old was the best player on the park and at time was marked by three or four Accies players.

He screwed one of only two reasonable chances for the Barins in the first half over the bar, having cut in off the left-side and shot with his right foot.

A Blair Alston strike landed in the same place when a Sibbald corner broke to the midfielder about the same disatnce from goal as his Scottish Cup screamer ahere last season.

But it wasn’t to be for the Bairns and a fairly uneventful first half was drawn to a close with the Accies still ahead.

The home side’s long ball tactics were not adding to the spectacle as Falkirk were bogged down in midfield when working the ball up the park.

Gary Holt replaced a visibly discomfited Rory Loy with Scott Shepherd and the tiring Alston was switched with Lewis Small on the youngster’s return from injury.

But the second half was jolted to life by Mark Beck’s header. After threatening early in the half he rose to nod in a Will Vaulks free-kick from deep and suddenly it was game on.

Beck though was booked for running towards the Falkirk fans high above him in the stands - though never left the synthetic New Douglas Park surface.

Accies restored their advantage almost as swiftly as they had taken the lead when Darian Mackinnon had the final touch in a goalmouth scramble when he despatched the ball beyond McGovern.

The Bairns had one of their youngest benches ever named according to manager Gary Holt and he threw on the youngest - Connor Hogg - for his top team debut.

But it was to be a losing one as late on Louis Longridge bundled in the rebound from McGovern’s block to Tony Andreu’s shot with a minute to go.